By: Hannah Anderson
Do you often find yourself bent or hunched over looking at your phone, tablet, or wireless devices? Are you starting to notice a back neck hump? Do you want to help reverse the problem area? By using some of the exercises and stretches it can be achieved.
This hump is termed Dowager’s Hump, or kyphosis. It is usually caused by weakened upper back muscles. It typically is weakened due to poor posture causing extra weight to pull on the back which leads to the weakening of the muscles. This is easily reversible if it is corrected now, but later down the road it will not be easy to reverse. Exercise, stretches, correcting the way you sit, and controlling how you look at your smart devices can all lead to decreasing the appearance of your hump, and in most cases, it will go away completely. Here are some examples of what can help you say thank you next to the hump.
Wall angels are fairly easy but are still one of the best posture exercises one can do. Start either standing with about 8 inches from the wall slightly squatted or sitting. Then form the entire posterior portion of the body against a wall. The head, glutes, and shoulders should all be touching the wall. The back should be completely flat against the wall. Bring arms complete over the head trying to keep hands intact with the wall. The arms should start in a “V” position with arms completely extended overhead, and then slide where hands are just above the shoulders creating a “W” position. The process should be repeated 8 to 10 times. It should be stopped if pain is felt. This exercise can also be used in the “I, Y, T, L” method.
Another simple but effective workout is chin tucks. Start with the head looking straight ahead, place your finger on the chin, and then pull the chin back. Do not move your finger. Come back to the starting position bringing the chin to the finger. Repeat 8-10 times.
A stretch that will help is finding a corner, placing hands on each wall, leaning forward until you feel tightness in chest and shoulders are pushed back together. Hold for about 30 seconds then extend your arms. Repeat 2 to 3 times.
There are many exercises and stretches that can be used to treat or prevent a Dowager’s Hump. Some of them are shoulder shrugs, upright rows, cat/cow yoga poses, doorway pec stretch, and any strength exercises that strengthen the upper back muscles, chest, and core.
The hump will not be dumped overnight. The best part is that you can do exercises at home to help reduce the neck hump. However, there is not a quick fix. It will take time, consistency, and hard work to correct the hump. Pay attention to your posture throughout the whole day, especially when sitting. When looking at your phone, hold it parallel to your head instead of holding the device down. Sometimes just by making your elbows touch your chair before the back does while keeping the head straight up in line with the spine can help tremendously.
Attend to posture and body mechanics to prevent dowager’s hump: Avoid hunching forward and use proper body mechanics to prevent curvature of the spine in your upper back. (2016). Women’s Health Advisor (Stratford, Conn.), 20(11), 5.