Sway Back

Last Updated: June 30, 2019

Definition - What does Sway Back mean?

Swayback, also called hyperlordosis, is a medical condition in which irregular curvature of the lumbar region of the spine causes forward pelvic tilt, chest and shoulder retraction, and forward extension of the head, resulting in the asymmetrical displacement of the hips outside the body’s center of gravity. A chiropractor or physical therapist can determine the right course of treatment to facilitate recovery.

WorkplaceTesting explains Sway Back

When lying in a supine position (facing upward), a slight arch between the crest of the pelvis and middle section of the back is normal, but individuals experiencing swayback posture are susceptible to back pain due to misalignment of the spine. The growth of sedentary jobs plays into the equation of compounding muscle weakness and muscle tension, inhibiting the otherwise natural mobility and resiliency of the vertebral disks that buffer the friction against constant and repeated movements. An exercise routine consisting of abdominal crunches and lunges to build strength in the hip flexor muscles along with regular yoga sessions to improve flexibility is conducive for sustaining good posture, offsetting future spells of debilitating back pain.

In clinical terms, a neutral pelvis refers to an angular tilt of thirty degrees that is perpendicular to the sacrum connected to the lumbar spine relative to the axial rotation of the hip joint socket to maximize the equal distribution of the weight of the upper and lower body against the force of gravity. Physicians and physical therapists use the neutral pelvis metric as the baseline criterion for gauging the postural balance of an erect frame, noting lordotic deviations that suggest muscle anomalies that shift the pelvis forward resulting in a swayback posture. Obese individuals and pregnant women are candidates for developing a swayback posture due to excessive weight in the midsection, exacerbating the biomechanical load on the spine that forces different muscles to compensate for the curvilinear imbalance.

A physical therapist or other healthcare specialists are trained to assess spinal alignment; developing and implementing treatment modalities including postural balance, core strengthening, and massage therapy. In the workplace, ergonomic workstations combining the adoption of correct postural habits can help bolster the curvature of the spine.

This definition was written in the context of Ergonomics
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