Last updated on January 17th, 2019

Hunched Back Posture

Back posture example

Concerned about your back posture? You’re not alone. It is estimated that 50-80% of people in the U.S. complain about back pain! Back posture is a major contributor to neck and back pain. 99% of new clients in my practice are willing to do something about correcting posture once they see how bad their posture really is. Most people realize that their bad posture not only affects how they feel and move it also affects how they look.

The most common complaint about back posture that I hear is the rolling of the shoulders or hunched back. Clients tell me they feel hunched over and find it difficult to stand or sit up straight. This article will cover the isolated components associated with rolled shoulders or hunched back posture.

What’s Really Going On With Back Posture?

From my experience as a posture correcting expert, a hunched back posture can come from one or two following causes.

  1. First, the thoracic spine. It’s the part of your spine that has all the ribs attached to it and includes the area around your shoulder blades or upper back. If there is a breakdown in the supportive tissues surrounding this area which includes the muscles and ligaments around the spinal joints, there will be a destabilization of this section. The result is a loss of proper alignment of the upper back called hyper-kyphosis.
  2. The second possible cause of a hunched back is forward head posture. As the head goes forward the neck straightens or even goes into an abnormal reversed curve. As a consequence the upper back compensates by increasing its curvature producing the hunched appearance.

Of course you can have either the upper back or forward head posture be a primary or secondary condition that causes the other.

It does take a bit of experience and thorough analysis to figure out which caused which. Quite honestly, in my clinic it doesn’t so much matter as long as we see posture improving.

I’m Just Built This Way?

Genetics do play a role in back posture. I have seen many times, parents and their offspring have almost identical postures. However, lifestyle is something that you impose on your genetic predisposition. In other words, it may be that you have your mother’s back but it doesn’t mean that you cannot influence back posture.

In fact, you are unique and have differing qualities to your muscles, tendons and ligaments. You also have choice in your lifestyle habits that play a huge role on your daily back posture. I will tell you, the longer you wait to address back posture, the harder and longer it takes to improve it.

The most common complaint about back posture is the hunched back. It can be the result of either a break down in alignment of the upper back, neck or both. Lifestyle plays a big part in back posture and needs to be addressed early in life to ensure the best opportunity to correct as fully as possible. For more information, see article: How to Improve Posture.

Dr. Paul Paez, DC, NRT, NET, CMT

National Board Certified Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), trained in clinical nutrition (NRT), neuro-emotional release (NET), and Massage Therapy (CMT). Dr. Paul holds the rare triple distinction of Certified Posture Expert, Certified Posture Neurologist and Certified Posture Ergonomist by the American Posture Institute. Posture Possible is the very best resource for posture information.