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Dowager Hump

I have had a number of patients complain about an ugly bump that has developed at the base of their neck. They complain that it makes them look heavier and older. They want to know what caused it and is it permanent.

This common postural deformity is known as a Dowager Hump and is more common in women. A Dowager’s Hump is described as a rounding of the upper back and is seen mainly in women. A dowager’s hump could be caused by osteoporotic compression fractures of the upper back, leading to a wedge shape of the vertebra and the hyper kyphosis of the dowager’s hump. With these, there is not much that can be done once the compression fractures are there.

If the hump is not related spinal fractures and osteoporosis, you are dealing with a postural related problem. One of the biggest reasons people develop a Dowager Hump is from forward head posture. When the head shifts forward, it causes the shoulders and thoracic spine to round. The facet joints of the neck stop moving smoothly and lock the head in that forward position. The posterior muscles of the back also start to weaken when someone develops a forward head posture.

 When the body is stressed, it will do what it takes to protect itself. In the case of poor posture, the body lays down fatty connective tissue in the over stressed area at the base of the neck. Initially the changes are small, but as the poor posture becomes chronic, the hump becomes bigger and bigger.    Postural issues can be from a variety of things such as prolonged sitting at the computer, prolonged looking down at your mobile device, and misalignments in the spine.

Good news is that if it is a postural problem, then it can be helped. The following steps help reduce Dowager’s Hump: Chiropractic adjustments to help restore the motion in locked joints and correct misalignments; Postural corrective exercises to strengthen the weak posterior muscles; Massage therapy to address the muscular dysfunction of upper cross syndrome.

Though not easy, this can be helped. At Northwest Wellness, we will start with an exam to determine the best course of treatment. But you should know that most of the work will come from you. You have to improve your posture. You have to make the change. Call our office today at 253-927-0660 to schedule an appointment.