Flat back syndrome

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 23 Aug 2021

Flat back syndrome (FBS) refers to the decrease or absence of the normal lumbar lordosis resulting primarily in chronic lumbar pain.

Flat back syndrome is a different condition from straight back syndrome and the two should not be confused or conflated.

Most typically it presents with persistent lower back pain.

  • iatrogenic: following corrective surgery for scoliosis
  • degenerative
  • hip flexion contractures
  • fixed thoracic hyperkyphosis and or thoracolumbar kyphosis
  • hormonal changes
  • trauma

Historically the term flat back syndrome was reserved for that cohort of patients who lost their normal lumbar lordosis as a postoperative complication after corrective surgery for spinal scoliosis and developed disabling symptoms as a result 2.

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