Almost all middle-aged people will have a band of fatty tissue on the back at the base of their necks. It is a preventable condition that develops when one loses bone tissues due to osteoporosis or excessive strain on the spine. It’s an indication that the cervical spine has lost its natural curve. This could be due to hyperextension of the neck in prolonged slouching posture.
A lot of young adults who have long hours at their desk jobs are reported to be developing this anomaly. The hump actually grows as the body’s attempt to compensate for the excess strain of supporting the forwardly placed head. It tries to strengthen the base of the neck by laying down extra connective tissues and thickening the cervical vertebrae. Here are 5 ways to correct or avoid a dowager’s hump from developing.
1. Be Mindful Of Your Posture
A majority of bone-related diseases start and worsen due to poor alignment between the spine, head,
Keep your back straight while sitting. While standing, stand straight with your head in alignment with the central axis of your body. Even while sleeping ensure that the pillow you use doesn’t push your head far ahead. Your mattress and pillow should follow the natural curvature of your spine.1
2. Follow Muscle Stretching Exercises Every Hour
Stretches are a great way to release tension from the stiff neck and shoulder muscles. They also allow circulation of oxygen-rich blood to occur.
Tucking the chin is a simple way to stretch the muscles on the base of the skull and cervical spine.
- Look down and feel your chin
- Use your hand to pull the head further below.
- Maintain the position for 30 seconds and release.
- Repeat thrice.
Levator Scapula Stretch
This stretch is great for the neck muscle namely, the sternocleidomastoid on the sides.
- Turn the head to the right until you feel a stretch in your left side of your neck.
- Use the right hand to pull the neck more to the right.
- Hold for 30 seconds and release.
- Repeat thrice.
3. Do Muscle Strengthening Exercises Regularly
Right after stretching you should do the following muscle strengthening exercises.
Pillow Tilt Position
This can be done while lying down or in standing up position with your back against the wall.
- Lie flat on your back on a firm mattress or on the floor.
- Keep a pillow under your head.
- Now do a chin tuck by tilting your head down, or on a firm mattress.
- Hold the pose for 20 seconds and release.
- Repeat 10 times.
4. Practice Yoga Poses
Practicing the yoga poses like the cat-cow pose, the locust pose or the seated spinal twist can be beneficial in correcting any discrepancies with your spine. These asanas stretch and strengthen your back, chest, neck and torso muscles.2
5. Wear A Posture Corrector Brace
There’s a lot of attention around posture corrector braces these days. If you think you are one of the thousands of people who wouldn’t mind some assistance in maintaining the right posture, you need to start wearing a brace. It realigns your neck and shoulder back to the normal alignment and will train you to follow the correct posture while sitting and standing. The chances of exerting uneven pressure on different areas of the body will
The development of the dowager’s hump is largely due to our carelessness. Move around mindfully and follow the above tips regularly. If your hump’s appearance is concerning you, consult an orthopedic surgeon for medical attention.
|↑1||Tips to Maintain Good Posture. AMERICAN CHIROPRACTIC ASSOCIATION|
|↑2||Greendale, Gail A., Anna McDivit, Annie Carpenter, Leanne Seeger, and Mei-Hua Huang. “Yoga for women with hyperkyphosis: results of a pilot study.” American Journal of Public Health 92, no. 10 (2002): 1611-1614.|
|↑3||Cole, Ashley K., Melanie L. McGrath, Shana E. Harrington, Darin A. Padua, Terri J. Rucinski, and William E. Prentice. “Scapular bracing and alteration of posture and muscle activity in overhead athletes with poor posture.” Journal of athletic training 48, no. 1 (2013): 12-24.|