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Lumbar Lordosis Question


I just had a report back from an MRI on my lumbar spine. No significant abnormalities found which is great, however, i noticed the first line reads as follows;

Normal lumbar lordosis is reduced. Lumbar vertebrae however are normal in height, alignment and marrow signals.

Does this mean i have some type of PPT?


Not necessarily. I assume that you are having some sort of pain to have gotten an MRI in the first place. Muscle spasm, a protective mechanism, can reduce the lumbar lordosis.


Yeah im having SIJ pain, i think the MRI was more to rule out other causes, what is the MRI report suggesting? I don't understand.


It is suggesting that nothing is wrong with your bones so you need to work on your soft tissue work / posture.

Check out Ripptoe's article on 'back position for power' (site search). Learn what holding a lumbar arch means. Learn how to hold a lumbar arch. Hold your lumbar arch.


I actually have a question regarding that article... I read it when it was first published, and even back then it spurred some curiosity. The way he describes it in the article, is Rippetoe not essentially encouraging us to take our lumbar spine out of its natural positioning by exaggerating the curve even more than it needs to be? Granted, yes, the lumbar spine needs to have that normal lordosis, but surely going above and beyond that is just as likely to result in injury?

Also a consideration for the OP; perhaps the reason he is having the issues he describes isn't due to the back muscularity in and of itself, but also due to the strength of his psoas?


people do say something about how one does want to be careful not to hyper-extend with the lumbar arch. some people (typically female, but sometimes male) do have problems with extending their lumbar arch too hard. this is fairly rare, though. typically when people hold their lumbar arch as hard as they possibly can... they are doing it correctly. if they are lucky. often... they are holding their lumbar arch as hard as they possibly can... but really they aren't holding a lumbar arch at all. because they don't quite get how to do it.

that is where vids can be really very helpful indeed.

the reason you want to hold lumbar arch... is because the weight is trying to pull your back into flexion. which will fuck your spine up. if not now... then someday. the harder you hold your arch (so long as you aren't one of those hyper-extending people) the safer your spine will be because even if the weight does in fact pull it out a little... you still have a margin of safety. i have seen people purposely aim for a flat backed position rather than a lumbar arched position. that is fine... but when the weight pulls it out a little they are in dangerous flexion.

of course with true max efforts your spine will be pulled into flexion. everyone agrees, however, that squats and deads should not be trained with flexion.


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Instead of me creating a new thread i also have another question regarding seated posture as i really think about this TOO much..

The physiotherapist i have been seeing has been advising me to sit with, kinda slouchy posture? I use a pillow behind my chair when sitting down, and the sofa indoors has you sitting so far back that your basically slouching a little whether you want to or not, so sometimes i have 1 or 2 cushions there behind me.

Now i don't want to feel like my spine is as stiff as plank of wood as it's supposed to have a degree of flexion and actually move, but should i be sitting with a rounded upper back, or sit up straight? I would of thought sit up straight, is going to be good for my posture and well being, no?


Perhaps they were referring to Rippetoe's suggestion of the lumbar spine remaining in extension while under load, rather than meaning that the spine should remain in such an arched position at all times? Too many articles out there which are adamant that lumbar hyperextension is NOT a good idea.


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yes, i meant while squatting / deadlifting / under a load. not 24/7 lolz.

do you think that is true about the squatting / deadlifting / under a load deal, though?

about how if you try and hold it hard as you can (actually try and hyper-extend it) most people only end up extending it to a good rather than too severe degree.

i know i need to think to hold it as hard as i can and i still get a little bit of butt-wink. but i need to squat with high heels (compensating for loss of ankle dorsiflexion) so the hip angle is more acute than usual (ATG for oly lifting).


My understanding is that sitting basically sucks. puts the hip flexors in a shortened position and the glutes go to sleep etc etc etc...

Once upon a time before stupid chairs were invented... And currently still in many parts of the world... People relax by squatting rather than sitting.

I guess there are better and worse ways to sit... But basically sitting sucks. If you have to sit then try and get up regularly and move things around. Squat. That helps stretch things out / activate things to how they are supposed to be.


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Well, I guess all I can say is that I don't think I've ever seen anybody hyperextending their spine while squatting or deadlifting. I have seen a heap of people who think they are holding their spine in neutral, but they are holding it flat or usually actually curved, though. They usually seem surprised to learn that this is happening for them.

Maybe it is more of a coaching cue that can be useful? Like taking the air down deep all the way down to your toes in yoga. Problematic only if actually pulled off?


It's okay. I'm purposely ambiguous on message boards much of the time...


See, I'm confused now... In the majority of instances where I've read a "how to" guide to either squatting or deadlifting, the writer has advocated 'arching' the lower back. This has been something I've questioned, especially with deadlifts, as squeezing my glutes at the top of each rep has been something I've found very hard to do with an arched lumbar spine, yet much easier when in neutral (I'm guessing because the glutes become prone to not firing efficiently with the lumbar spine in the extended position?) What about Ripp's advice in that article then? Even looking at the pictures it contains, it shows the extent of lumbar extension he's encouraging.


Thanks for the reply.

I agree i don't really like having to sit down, but at times it can't be helped. But with squatting rather than sitting when i reach ATG, i can't help but round my low back, is this fine seeing as im not carrying a loaded barbell or anything like that, or is it still considered a technique flaw? I just find it difficult to keep my spine neutral when going ATG and most people that you see in daily life squatting that deep have a rounded back, but then again, most people don't workout/squat.

With regards to arching the low back, i used to think of it as trying to get the tailbone to touch the ceiling, it seemed an easy way for me to arch my back, but is this too much lordosis?


Back to the OP, What can cause reduced lumbar lordosis? I can't find anything online except diseases which is what im worried about, i know Posterior pelvic tilt can, but when i view myself in the mirror, id say id have more of the opposite, monkey butt, rather than flat back.

Another thing is, would posture problems appear on an MRI? Severe ones i can understand as a cause of degenerative diseases, but im 19, wouldn't of thought my posture could be "that" bad.

With all this said i am having lumbar pain and when i press on some of my low back muscles i can feel spasms. I know i need to wait and get seen to properly, which thankfully is lined up, im just hasty and could be seen as a little impatient as i have a lot on my mind, trying to rule out certain things.


The only part of your question I can answer with some certainty is that postural problems aren't likely to be evident on MRI. You are lying in a tube, and most postural problems are most, or maybe only, evident while weight-bearing.