How to Fix Hyperkyphosis (Dowager’s Hump)
This article is to help you better understand a condition that is becoming more common due to the increase use of technology and imbalance of internal body chemistry. The technology comes in the form of laptops and cellphones contributing to poor posture. Imbalanced body chemistry can lead to hormonal imbalances and appear as Cushing’s Syndrome. Both of these conditions are examples of the appearance of a hump in the upper back referred to as Dowager’s hump.
- What is Dowager’s Hump
- Treatment and Remedies
What is Dowager’s Hump?
Dowager’s hump or sometimes referred to as buffalo hump is a structural change affecting the upper back. A condition that presents with a fatty tissue pad at the upper back area, typically between the 7th cervical and 2nd thoracic vertebrae. There is an associated abnormal curvature in the upper back resulting in what is called hyperkyphosis. The word “hyper” meaning abnormal accentuation of the curve.
Fixing Dowager’s Hump when it is due to chronic poor posture is fairly simple when approached correctly and with consistency.
It is more common in women than in men. Especially menopausal women. It oftentimes results in feeling more self-conscious and in some cases there is an underlying serious condition. Causes of Dowager’s hump can be any of the following:
- Osteoporosis (thinning of bone)
- Slipped or herniated discs
- Side effects from medications such as long term steroid use
- Cushing’s syndrome (high hormonal cortisol)
- Less common: Birth defects, spine infections, tumors, cancer
- Long term use of Glucocorticoid medications (1)
- Chronic Poor Posture
Treatment and Remedies
It is most important to focus on the underlying condition in an effort to prevent the structural hyperkyphosis from worsening.
Before beginning any program to treat or relieve the symptoms of hyperkyphosis, it is necessary to seek advice from a medical professional to avoid exacerbating the pain or aggravating another medical condition.
- Blood Work
- Especially to rule out internal chemical imbalances then appropriate treatment can be discussed with your healthcare practitioner
- Relieving symptoms
- Exercises to strengthen back muscles
- Yoga – to increase flexibility
- A recent study in California showed that a small group of elderly women trained in yoga saw a slight reduction in their spinal curvatures after taking yoga classes three times a week for six months compared to a similar group of women who didn’t perform yoga (2).
- Increase bone density by ensuring proper amounts of:
- Vit D
- Fatty Acids (omega 3,6,9)
- Bone growth stimulation – as when using a rebounder
- Review medications
- Improve Workstation Posture
- Posture Braces
- Posture Exercises – Forward Head Translation exercises
- Foam roller – use as traction
#1 Mirror Image Rehabilitation
Hyperkyphosis have been improved by using mirror image upper back extension rehabilitation. One example was of a 15 year old who after 13-months of treatment displayed a significant reduction in hyperkyphosis and a dramatic correction of her overall posture and spine alignment (3).