Kyphosis and lordosis are types of scoliosis, a deformity that causes unusual curvatures in the spinal column. Though their spines can curve to both the right and left, people with kyphosis have spines that bow outward, causing a hunchbacked appearance; and those with lordosis have spines that bend inward too far, which causes more of a swayback appearance (inward bow). Certain exercises are believed to correct or at least lessen the degree of some abnormal spinal curvatures among those with either lordosis or kyphosis.
One objective for the various stretching and yoga exercises that follow is increasing flexibility in your hips. This can be of particular importance among those who have had spinal fusion for either kyphosis or lordosis. According to the National Scoliosis Foundation's web site at Scoliosis.org, "most of us adults only use a portion of the potential flexibility in our hip joints. The full mobility of the hip can be developed by daily stretching of the ham-strings, quadriceps, hip flexor and muscles. This increase in hip flexibility can then be substituted for the loss in spine mobility. . .."
Yoga exercises can add both strength and flexibility in various back muscles that surround the spine as well as supporting adjacent muscles. This can exert pressure on the spinal column and mitigate spinal curvature to some degree.
The standing cat stretch: While standing, place both of your hands above your knees with your fingers pointing inward. Slowly bend your upper body forward and hunch your back. This exercise stretches all of the spinal-supporting ligaments and muscles in your hips and lower back.
The crocodile: Lie down on your stomach. Prop yourself up on your elbows, cup your hands and place your chin down on both hands. Hold this position for a couple minutes, then relax. Repeat the movement one or two more times.
Standing-forward fold: Stand back up and place your legs at about shoulder-width. Press both hands together with your elbows pointed outward, bend your knees and go into a full squat position. Hold this position for a couple minutes, then relax.
These stretching and strength-building exercises can help you minimize pain and straighten some of your spine's abnormal curve. Hold each movement for 3 to 5 seconds. Do 10 of each exercise 3 to 4 times per week.
Lay down on a hard surface with your knees pointed up. Press your lower back firmly against the floor. Relax, then repeat the movement. This exercise is extremely effective in strengthening the muscles and ligaments in the lumbar area.
While still on the floor, pull both of your knees up toward your chest. Hold them there, then relax. Repeat as recommended. As a variation, you can pull one leg up at a time as well.
With your knees propped up, lift your buttocks and lower back off the floor and hold that position. Relax. This exercise forces muscles in the middle back to put pressure on the on the spinal vertebrae.
Also, kneeling on your knees and hands, lift one leg up and move it backward as far as you can. Repeat this movement with your other leg.