The A-Z of Pilates - L is for Lordosis

In my previous  A –Z of Pilates post, I talked about Kyphosis, a postural condition that primarily affects the upper back and shoulders and results in the spine and neck being thrown out of balance. Another condition that can affect the postural balance of the spine is known as Lordosis. A human spine has a natural lordotic curve, but Lordosis is where there is an increased curvature, or C shape ‘arch’ in the spine, that goes beyond its natural curve. Over time, this will create pressure throughout the entire spine that could lead to a number of related issues, not least recurring lower back pain.

 

Lordosis of the spine can be seen at any age in life and there are a number of conditions and factors that can influence its development. These include poor postural habits, repetitive daily activity, or even as a result of being pregnant or overweight. Also, Lordosis can often be seen in dancers and gymnasts, or people who do specific sports that encourage hyperextension of the back, for example swimmers who specialise in the Butterfly stroke.

 

When Lordosis is present, the pelvis typically tilts forward resulting in tightness and shortened hip flexors, weakened and lengthened abdominal and oblique muscles, opposing shortness in the muscles of the back, as well as a reduction in strength and tone in the glutes. If the posture type is very pronounced, the hamstrings may take over the work of the glute muscles, causing them to tighten and shorten as well.

 

 Lordosis diagram

 

The good news is that Pilates exercise is often recommended to help Lordosis and alleviate any resulting aches and pains in the lower back. This is because there are a host of exercises that can really help address the imbalances in the different muscle groups, increase mobility and freedom of movement in the spine, improve core strength as well as overall spinal alignment. The following are just some of the examples that spring immediately to my mind:

 

  • Pelvic Tilts and Spine Curl to Shoulder Bridge to encourage articulation of the spine strengthening of the glutes and abdominal muscles
  • CAT stretch – articulation and sequential control of the spine
  • C Curve or Roll Up for posterior tilting of the pelvis and strength in the abdominals
  • Abdominal curls, Hundred, Single Knee Fold and Double Knee Fold, Toe Taps - all of which focus on the central core connection and anchoring the position of the spine
  • Stretches that increase flexibility in the hip flexors
  • Oyster hip openings

 

The dynamics of some of the exercises above may be particularly difficult for some people with Lordosis, so it is absolutely essential to be able to apply the correct technique to gain the maximum benefit and perform the exercises safely and effectively. For example, when performing some of the more challenging exercises, such as Hundred (with legs elevated) Single Knee Fold, Double Knee Fold or Toe Taps, there will need to be a particular emphasis on core engagement, rib to hip connection, and the anchoring of the spine in an imprint to counter balance the weight of the legs in the air. So, whilst it is good to be enthusiastic about practicing some Pilates at home in front of Youtube or a DVD, finding a Pilates class where the teacher will help you to learn the correct technique through careful instruction is really important. Once you have mastered this and understand the principles of Pilates the only way is up! You will be able to practice at home as much as you like, safely and effectively, and confident in your newly acquired knowledge.

 

If you would like to know more, have lower back pain, or it has recommended that you try Pilates, please just email me at [email protected] or give me a call on 07776 058973, to see how I can help you. 

 

If you are a beginner, or would like a refresher course, I am currently taking bookings for my weekly beginners / mixed ability class at Orlingbury in Northamptonshire. Please just click on the link below and page down for full details:

 

Jane Fletcher Pilates Class Timetable

 

This entry was posted on February 21, 2018