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 space between each bone in your spine.  Try not to reach your whole head forward during the day.  It’s easy when we are reading or at a PC to allow our heads to creep forward.  Consider one of my favorite exercises: the Turkey Trot.  This move may help prevent a future dowager’s hump.  And it’s a great choice for everyone’s neck whether we are worried about becoming a humpback or not.