The Dowager or Despicable Me?

Let’s chat about Dowager’s Hump …. And no, not the Dowager from Downton Abbey, more like the gentleman on Despicable me. It is also known as Buffalo Hump and Kyphosis and…..for the most part can be reversed and or stopped in progression in most cases.

What causes his condition? There are a number of reasons including Osteoporosis, Congenital problems when the spine doesn’t fully develop, Scheuermann’s kyphosis, developed during the teen years. The majority of cases however, are self-inflicted as it develops with chronic head flexion posture. According to Vivian Tran MD Internal Medicine physician at Scripps Clinic Mission Valley: Our heads weigh approximately 8- 11 pounds and in 2021 on the average we spent close to 11 hours in front of a computer/ TV / Phone screen and 2 ½ hours on social media. Add to that the fact that computers and cell phones are not going anywhere soon, we need to be proactive in fixing our posture. If we don’t this condition will continue to progress. A forward head posture can cause havoc on the rest of our body too. You might experience any or all of the following:Eye strain and headachesInsomnia and poor sleepNeck, shoulder and back paineven Digestion issues and more…

The “quiet part” of this condition is that is slowly develops over time so adults, children and teens (both sexes and all ages) are all at risk. We tend not to want to make changes until it is “patting” us on the back so to speak – pun intended. Now add in rounded shoulders into the mix and we are developing the perfect storm. Over time our amazing body adapts to this added stress of screen time and rounded shoulders by laying down fatty tissue at around the 7th Cervical vertebra or the base of the neck. This fatty deposit is the onset of the hump.

So good news is that if you address this early on it is easier to reverse by fixing your posture. On the flip side if you do not fix this, it will continue to grow. REMEMBER – all my instant gratification people – this condition didn’t happen over night and…it won’t be fixed in one session or overnight either. Be consistent in working your posture and you will notice a difference.

The video clip shows an exercise you can do every day at work at home wherever you are. I call it the Yes, I Love this Dance! (Think YMCA but cooler and better for your posture!) To do this as shown in the video clip stand with your back against a wall with all points touching: the back of your head, your shoulder blades, your hips and heels. If it is hard to get your head against the wall because of a forward head flexion, roll up a towel and place it behind your head so the towel rests against the wall. As your posture changes you will be able to remove the towel. Hold each letter for about 3 – 5 seconds and return to neutral. Go slow – Be consistent and don’t let age or condition determine what you can or cannot do! Best always in Love & Light!Cyn

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