A lot of my clients with low back problems have some form of hyperlordosis. Lordosis is the normal, slight curve in the low back, so hyper-lordosis means there is too much curvature.
Look at the image here (borrowed from stronglifts.com, who have some good thoughts on the topic).
But before I get any deeper into exploring the topic, a few words of warning: I’m saying a lot of people have hyperlordosis, and a lot of people have low back pain. I’m NOT saying that hyperlordosis automatically leads to low back pain. In my opinion, a fixed position of the lumbars and insufficient movement might cause problems in the lumbar spine, and these could cause pain. Low back pain is difficult to understand because there are so many different factors that contribute to the problem–the biggest factor is your brain.
If people have told you that your pelvis is tilted the wrong way, or one of your legs is a quarter inch too long, please read: “Your Back is Not Out and Your Leg Length is Fine”. If you suffer from low back pain, buy this Ebook: “Save Yourself From Low Back Pain!”
(No, Paul Ingraham doesn’t pay me for promoting his work. I promote it because more people need to read it.)
Here’s what I know about hyperlordosis: Excessive curvature in the low back is often caused by short hipflexor muscles. They attach on the front of your lumbar (low back) spine and the front of the pelvis, and go to the front of the thigh. Sitting causes them to get shorter, since our bodies adapt to what we are doing. Short hipflexors, especially the psoas, pull on the front of the spine, causing it to bend too much (as explained in a short video). Add pressure from heavy lifting, or just the regular pounding of high-impact workouts, and the discs can start bulging out or even herniating.
In the MRI image you see this happening between L5 and S1, a common area of disc herniation. Check out this website for more information!
I made up a quick test: Try this video to check your own hipflexors. In my case, it’s not a problem, I’m flexible enough.
You can also try to just lie flat on your back and feel under your lower back. When your legs are out straight, you normally have a light curve there. Try pushing your back completely into the floor. Does it work? If yes, you have not only good, elastic hipflexor muscles, you also have a strong core. I can’t do it, so I’ll have to work harder on strengthening my low abs.
Try it again, with your knees bent, so your feet are on the floor. Push your low back into the floor, engaging your low abs like this. If you still don’t get your lower spine to touch the floor, you have very short hipflexors or a another problem that makes your spine hard to move. Please tell me about it.
Finally, here is a whole collection of videos with exercises for a healthy back and stable, strong core. Let me know how you like them!
I’d be grateful about comments, feedback, and of course happy to answer any question.