Prevent Dowager’s Hump

No one wants a dowager’s hump—that lump at the base of your neck that makes you look a little like Quasimodo.  Honestly, most people won’t notice it as much as you notice.  It isn’t always that obvious, but it is a sign of an unhealthy spine.  Joe Pilates wrote, “If your spine is inflexibly stiff and 30, you are old.  If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”  We should all strive to prevent a dowager’s hump before we see on there.  Prevention is always easier than resolution.

A dowager’s hump is often associated with osteopenia and osteoporosis with the front of the vertebra fracturing and causing a kyphosis (rounding forward of the spine).  While osteopenia and osteoporosis are likely culprits, our general posture tends to weaken and over time exacerbate the degeneration in the area.  Having slightly kyphotic spine for most of our lives probably increases the problem.

We are a society of slouchers.  Our upper backs are rounded and our heads jut forward.  Be mindful and try to be taller.

Here are some tips to ward off a dowager’s hump:

Throughout the day, but especially when sitting, think long and tall out the crown of your head.  Try to create […]

Prevent Dowager’s Hump2018-01-13T16:15:30-04:00

Your Posture Matters More Than You Think

Posture:  1. A position of a person’s body when standing or sitting. 2. A particular way of dealing with or considering something, an approach or an attitude.

When talking about the body, we tend to discuss definition number one—the actual physical position of our body.  And while that’s important and does relate to our physical wellbeing, the second definition is directly linked to the first.  Think of mopey Eeyore.  He’s depressed and you can see it in his whole being.  His body sags.  His head slumps.  He’s miserable, and you can tell before he even opens his mouth.

Yet walk into an interview or any stressful situation after assuming a power pose (think Super Woman) and studies show you will have more confidence and perform better.  You can actually alter your hormones and the way you feel by changing your posture.  Next time you have a big event go into a bathroom stall (where no one can see you) and make yourself larger than life—pushing your hands up to the ceiling and puffing your chest out or stand tall and firm with your hands on your hips for two minutes.  Posture matters—for how your feel physically and emotionally.  It also matters for […]

Your Posture Matters More Than You Think2017-12-29T21:40:40-04:00

Neck Hurts When I Do Ab Exercises

Where does the neck look the happiest to you? Where does the neck look the happiest to you?

Have you ever felt neck pain when you lift your head off the ground to do an abdominal exercise?

If yes, you’ve come to the right place.

If no, you may be the luckiest person on the planet.

If you have a neck injury (have had whip lash, have a disc-related issue, or slept on it funny, etc.) than you need to relax.  That is not pain you want to work through.  You may need to reign in the exercises you are doing and only do ab-work with the head down for the time being.  You can get a really good abdominal challenge with your head on the floor.

If you don’t have any neck issues, but your neck often or always hurts when you do ab work, there is also no reason you should work through bad pain. But it is worth experimenting to find a place you don’t feel pain.  What I’ll call bad pain puts your neck at risk and is a sign that you’re abs aren’t really doing the work.  So, why work through […]

Neck Hurts When I Do Ab Exercises2017-09-12T19:31:13-04:00

Turkey Trot: A Great Exercise to Reduce Neck Pain

One of my favorite exercises (because I think it feels great) is the Turkey Trot.  This is a perfect time of year to do it.  To top it off, everyone looks super cool when doing it.  Well, maybe not, but it’s good for you.

In our world of TV’s, PC’s books, and cooking at a counter where you have to look down so you don’t chop your fingers off, our heads tend to be forward and down.  This exercise is really helpful with giving the back of the neck muscles a little relief while helping to strengthen them and ultimately reduce neck pain. If you are prone to neck pain, try it.  It’s simple and it just might provide a little relief.  And, it’s one you can do anywhere (your car, the gas pump, the office, while watching TV—the possibilities are endless).

Check out this video to learn more, but here are some tips to remember:


  1. Try not to tuck your chin
  2. Think of moving from your ears
  3. Be gentle. You don’t have to force the motion firmly
Turkey Trot: A Great Exercise to Reduce Neck Pain2017-09-12T19:31:14-04:00

Listen to Your Body and Feel Less Pain

The mind is a powerful tool, but pit the mind and the body against each other and often the body will win in time. When you’re taking a fitness class, going for a run, a walk or doing anything physical, you need to check-in and listen to your body.

Top: Neck Happy Middle & Bottom: Neck Sad & Straining Top: Neck Happy/ Middle & Bottom: Neck Sad

If you feel pain, you must pay attention and adjust what you’re doing. I teach Pilates classes every day and I see people working through bad pain.  It’s not a muscle being challenged pain.  I can see their neck straining or their back straining.  I can say “If your neck hurts lower your head,” but sometimes people keep their head up.

It’s not that people are ignoring me (I hope). Sometimes people aren’t checking in and don’t really notice it hurts right away.  Other times people are trying to push through.  We so believe in the “no pain to gain” mentality that we are at times willing to work through the wrong kind of pain.  There is no need to push through neck pain or back pain.  […]

Listen to Your Body and Feel Less Pain2017-09-12T19:31:15-04:00