Best Stretches To Get Rid Of A Hunchback aka Dowagers Hump (Exercises, Posture Fixes & More)

Best Stretches To Get Rid Of A Hunchback aka Dowagers Hump (Exercises, Posture Fixes & More)

Chiropractic Towson MD Active Woman

You may have noticed that many older people have a stooped appearance where their head juts forward creating a hunchback effect. This abnormal bending of the spine is called Dowager's Hump but the actual medical term for it is kyphosis. It is estimated that the prevalence of kyphosis or Dowager's Hump is between 20%-40% in older adults. The good news is you don't just have to accept having a hunchback and the pain associated with it. In this article we describe 3 simple stretches you can do to improve Dowager's Hump and reduce the pain associated with it. Contact our Towson MD chiropractors to see how we can help.

What is Dowager's Hump?

Dowager's Hump is an outward curvature of the thoracic vertebrae of the upper back. It appears as a rounded hunch that many people refer to as a hunchback. 

In addition to the bump on the base of the neck, Dowager's Hump has a forward head posture where your head is jutting forward. One of the problems with this is that the more forward your head sits, the more stress is placed on the base of your neck. You be thinking, "but how much stress does that actually add" and the answer might surprise you. For every inch that your head protrudes forward from its normal alignment, you add approximately an extra 10 pounds of force on your neck. When you take that force and compound it over months or years it's no surprise that your spine curvature changes.

Bad posture is the leading cause of Dowager's Hump but it's certainly not the only cause. Other possible causes include osteoporosis, a congenital problem, or Scheuermann's kyphosis. No matter the specific underlying cause, Dowager's Hump happens as a result of the weakening of muscles around your thoracic spine. When those muscles weaken, other muscles have to do their job for them and that puts those additional muscles under constant strain from overuse.

If left untreated, a person with Dowager's Hump will begin to have pain in their shoulders and neck. Over time, their chin will move closer to their ribcage and the end result can be spinal degeneration. Many people with Dowager's Hump experience intense headaches in addition to their neck and shoulder pain. Some people are more bothered by the physical aesthetic of Dowager's Hump while others just want some relief from the pain it causes.

The good news is that Dowager's Hump be treated and for some people, it can be cured entirely. We recommend 3 stretches that are particularly helpful for taking the pressure off of your neck and upper back, reducing headache pain, and reducing the Dowager's Hump itself so you have less of a hunchback.

3 Stretches To Get Rid Of A Hunchback aka Dowager's Hump

One of the most commonly asked questions we get is "I sit at a desk all day and I know I have poor posture but what can I do to reduce my hunchback?" There are 3 very simple stretches that will help strengthen the muscles surrounding your thoracic spine and bring your head back into proper alignment.

1. Pectoral Stretch

This first stretch is designed to stretch out your chest muscles. In order to do this pectoral stretch, all you need is a door jamb. Place your arms on either side of the door frame forming a 90-degree angle with each arm. Lean in further and further as you feel your muscles relax. If you find this stretch is too easy, bring your arms higher above the 90-degree position and try doing the stretch that way.

2. Upper Back Stretch

This stretch is our favorite golf warm-up stretch and is great for loosening up your muscles. You'll need something to hold onto so you can simply face a wall and place your hands flat against it above your head. Keeping neck neutral, sink down into the stretch. Be sure not to let your head drop as you're doing this stretch. Focus on keeping your ears in line with your shoulders. After about 10-20 seconds, sink further into the stretch. If you have shoulder problems and it hurts to keep them above your head, you can keep your arms lower.

3. Chin Translation

This stretch is designed to improve your posture by taking that forward head posture that is emblematic of Dowager's Hump and bringing it back in line over your body. Pretend your ears and your jaw are on a railroad cart and it's going to go straight back like a cobra strike. This is not an up or down movement, it's straight back. You can do this stretch just about anywhere to help with your posture. Once you get the hang of it, put 2 fingers behind your head to add some resistance.

Start doing these stretches to take the pressure off your neck and upper back, get rid of headaches, start to improve Dowager's hump. Would you like help getting rid of Dowager's Hump? Click here to schedule your appointment!




7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm
2:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 12:00pm

Saturday & Sunday

Kalkstein Chiropractic

200 E Joppa Rd #300
Towson, MD 21286

(410) 296-7700