I saw this term the other day doing chart reviews….When looked at from the side, and you’re looking at someone who is sitting up straight, the spine should look like a backwards ‘S.’ In order to attain this shape, the spine naturally has some curves in it. The inward curve of your neck is called lordosis. Then the thoracic spine curves out a little bit and the curve is called kyphosis. Then you move down to the lumbar spine, the low back, and there’s another inward, lordotic curve.
Too much of one thing is not good and will probably cause pain….For example, sometimes people have a kyphotic posture that looks like this….Too much kyphosis in the thoracic spine.
Sometimes there’s too much lordosis.
Now when you bend forward – most people bend forward at the waist and flex the spine – all those curves reverse. You get curve reversal. Try it. Bend forward at the waist and the lumbar lordosis turns into an outward, convex kyphosis. The cervical lordosis turns into kyphosis, the thoracic kyphosis doesn’t really turn into lordosis but you lose the curve and it becomes straighter. Sometimes, other issues can cause curve reversal, like bad posture, car accidents, bad body mechanics.
The way I used to treat back and neck pain was all about maintaining these curves and returning them to normal. The spine moves, and in between each vertebrae is a gelatinous disc which can be deformed and re-shaped, so things can change, posture can change and curves can be changed.
Good lord, I really miss this stuff.