ZocdocAnswersDo I have kyphosis or lordosis?

Question

Do I have kyphosis or lordosis?

About 7 months ago I lost my balance squatting 275 and bent my back forward into the rack. Immediately my lower back was stiff and painful to twist or bend or move. After about a week the pain subsided but I now had a weird bump on my lower back and it appeared to be from a vertebrae. The vertebrae basically forms the vertex of an angle in my lumbar spine that forces me to lean forward slightly but it is most prominent when I'm sitting. It has begun to hurt again because of my weightlifting class at school. If I flex my rector spinae as hard as i can consciously it seems to move into the normal place. Sitting or standing for a long time make a dull and sometime burning pain. If I bend I've too long my lower back goes numb. What's wrong with my back?

Answer

I'm sorry to hear about your back injury. Firstly, for any back injury that has symptoms including numbness and radiating pain, I would recommend that you follow-up with an orthopaedic or neurosurgical spine as soon as possible. Certainly, should your symptoms worsen or change, I would even recommend going to the emergency department for evaluation. I'll start off with definitions of kyphosis versus lordosis, but would be wary of labeling you with either of those. Kyphosis often refers to hunchback (apex posterior of vertebrae), while lordosis refers to swayback (apex anterior of vertebrae). Without being able to physically able to examine you, I can't be entirely certain what your diagnosis is. Certainly, in an extreme case, you could theoretically have a vertebral body compression fracture. This usually occurs under significant force (275 lbs on your shoulder might be enough) or lower forces in patients that have osteoporosis. This could certainly cause your exquisite pain, and to a certain degree, perhaps explain your numbness and burning symptoms. More likely, however, I imagine that you've pulled your paraspinal muscles, which line your vertebrae on either side. This can also account for your pain, as well as the bump-like deformity. Again, I would recommend following up with your spine surgeon, and maybe even the emergency department should your symptoms change or worsen.

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