If you have noticed a small hump at the back of your neck that never seems to go away, you may have Dowager’s Hump.
Dowager’s Hump is also referred to as postural kyphosis. If left untreated can lead to more serious conditions such as breathing problems, digestive issues, and limited physical functions. (1)
The good news is, Dowager’s Hump can be corrected with rehabilitation, and some simple lifestyle and daily habit changes. (2)
How To Fix Dowager’s Hump
Posture is a large contributor when it comes to Dowager’s Hump, however, it’s not the only contributor. In most cases those with Dowager’s hump tend to hold their head slightly ahead of the rest of their body, rather than in line with the shoulders.
If you notice yourself holding your head this way, here are some tips to correct your posture.
- Stand up straight while walking.
- Keep your chin parallel with the ground.
- Keep shoulders back.
- Imagine a string is attached to your head and someone is pulling it upward.
Although weight doesn’t directly affect Dowager’s hump, if you are overweight, it can seem to exaggerate the hump in this area.
Making certain lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, drinking lots of water, and increased physical activity are the best ways to lose this excess weight. (3)
Dowager’s hump can lead to tightness in the neck, which may only worsen the issue. Using this simple self-massage can help you relax these muscles and loosen up this area a bit.
- Hold a bath towel long-ways and twist it until it is tight.
- Place the towel behind your neck, holding one end in each hand.
- Rub the band up and down and side to side for 5-7 minutes or until the tension is gone.
Your sleeping position can greatly affect your posture, and contribute to a Dowager’s Hump. Try to keep your back as straight as possible while you’re sleeping. If you tend to sleep on your back you can do this by using only a neck pillow. If you tend to sleep on your side, use a pillow that fills the space between your shoulder and neck. Sleeping with correct posture can greatly reduce any neck and shoulder pain. (4)
Strengthening the upper body may help reduce a Dowager’s Hump by increasing muscle mass and burning fat in this area. Here is a great exercise you can use.
- Put your hands on the back of your head.
- Press forward with your hands while also pressing back against your hands, engaging your neck muscles.
- Hold for 5 seconds, then release.
- Repeat 10 times.
To help reduce tension in your neck and further strengthen your upper body muscles, you can try this simple neck stretch.
- Tilt your head toward your right shoulder until you feel the left side of your neck stretching.
- Use your right hand to gently pull your head just a bit closer to your shoulder.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Repeat 3 times per side.
Suboccipital muscles are a small group of muscles at the base of your neck. Stretching and targeting these muscles can help correct your forward head posture. Try this simple exercise. (5)
- Lie on the floor with a massage or tennis ball at the base of your neck.
- Rock your head from side to side, massaging and releasing the muscles in this area.
- Release after 2 minutes.
Try out some of these simple exercising and lifestyle changes to decrease the effects of Dowager’s Hump, and prevent further risks and more serious conditions.