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Dowager’s Hump

Dowager’s Hump

It is one of the problems facing today by our elders. A condition often appears to have humped upper backs in our body. It affects both to men and women. This problem can be caused by various conditions and can be treated in several ways dependent on those factors.

What is Dowager’s Hump?

The term Dowager’s Hump originated from the Greek word “kyphosis” which means a hump, and dowager for its technical term meaning “dignified elderly woman”. A physical deformity resulting in a condition of over-curvature of the thoracic spine (upper back) of our body.

It commonly occurs specifically on the spinal column in the chest. It usually present in older females (especially post-menopausal period) than the male. This abnormality can bend more than 40-45 degrees off of the normal axis.

  • Postural kyphosis
  • Sheuermann’s kyphosis
  • Congenital kyphosis
  • Nutritional kyphosis
  • Gibbus deformity
  • Post-traumatic kyphosis

These kinds of Dowager’s hump are significantly affects both the old and the young. Almost three-fourths of the patients of this condition are not aware of it.

Generally, spinal fractures may be separated into three (3) categories based on the severity of the fracture. It needs to be managed in order to address the condition. It may normally need surgical treatment in some cases.


Kyphosis or also known as dowager’s hump often present in females. It has some common symptoms. The following signs and symptoms of kyphosis are as follows:

  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Restriction of lung movement and balance problems
  • Changed in posture
  • Chronic pain in the back and shoulders
  • Spine Curve
  • Loss in height along with the curve signals
  • Thoracic kyphosis (hunched back)
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Difficulty in Sleeping (Insomnia)
  • Successive crush fractures
  • Multiple vertebral compression fractures
  • Bulging Abdomen
  • Falls
  • Hip Pain
  • Stiffness in the back
  • Loss of sensation
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

Factors that put a person at risk for a dowager’s hump can include activities that:

  • Any movement that requires bending of the waist example toe touching
  • High impact aerobics
  • Jogging
  • Bent over row when weightlifting
  • Yoga (with few exceptions to some positions)
  • Running

Injuries or complications that relate to a dowager’s hump can include:

  • Nerve damage or a spinal cord injury during operation
  • Nerve damage or a spinal cord from the cement leaking
  • Hip Fracture
  • Breathing impairments
  • Inflammation of the soft tissue
  • Allergic reaction to the solution


The dowager’s hump condition sometimes referred to as a question mark posture.

It is often a silent disease until a break or fracture occurs.

There are numerous common causes for a dowager’s hump including:

  • Arthritis – The discs lose fluid and the spine collapses on itself can lead the development of a hump.
  • Poor Posture – The muscles of the chest become tight due to constant forward rounding.
  • Congenital Defects and other medical conditions
  • Compression Fractures – Excess pressure on the bones
  • Genetic Causes – Malformation of the genes of the parents
  • Muscular Imbalance – The chest muscles become tight and weak and upper back muscles become overstretched.
  • Wedge Fractures – The front of the vertebra collapses and becomes slightly misaligned making the back curve slightly.
  • Result from Injury
  • Health Condition – May caused hormonal imbalance may increase the risk of getting this condition.
  • Marfan Syndrome – A specific congenital defect of the connective tissues that support the spine.
  • Osteoporosis – Abnormal loss of bony tissue resulting in fragile porous bones


To avoid this condition, take these preventive measures. Here are some tips you need to consider. Let’s mention a few:

  • Regular intake of vitamins C and D are helpful
  • Engage in a specific kyphosis exercises
  1. Chest Stretch
  2. Hamstrings
  3. Lateral Row
  4. Flexibility Exercises
  5. Behind the Back
  • Work on your Balance and Coordination – A work out which helps in preventing falls that may lead to such spine fractures.
  • Develop good posture with body alignment exercises
  • Sleeping Practices
  • Weight and Strength Training
  • Eat well-balanced diet
  • Patients should speak with their health care provider or physician for he / she knows your condition and would be able to see what remedy or treatment might be most effective for the severity of your condition.


There are many things you can do in order to solve certain condition like dowager’s hump. The following treatment/ prevention is needed that may help to improve and to relieve the pain significantly. The following are as follows:


  • Exercises – The first option in treating the dowager’s hump is through exercise for at least 2-3 sessions per week to minimize and prevent more spinal fractures.
  • Orthosis (Brace) – It is typical in the treatment of dowager’s hump in children and the major goal of this treatment is to restore the lumbar lordosis. The type of brace and time spent wearing it will vary.
  • Physical Therapy – A treatment focus on strengthening and supporting muscles in the back. It often combines with other treatment such as bracing. Schroth method, a specialized kind of physical treatment for scoliosis and related spinal deformities.
  • Bed Bugs Treatment
  • Laser Therapy Treatment
  • Surgery – Another option in treating kyphosis is through surgery. Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are the two (2) types of surgeries that that can restore the height to the vertebra and eliminate the pain. The main goal of this procedures is to return the damaged vertebra as close as possible to its original height.
  1. Vertebroplasty – a non-surgical technique which uses a needle into the affected area.
  2. Kyphoplasty – the opposite technique of Vertebroplasty which inserts a balloon through a tube into the affected vertebra.


The following exercises are recommended for dowager’s hump. There are numerous exercises including:

  • Moderate stretching and other forms of yoga (few exceptions to some positions) applied to the affected area. Holds this position for about ten (10) to fifteen (15) seconds, and then repeat again the procedure.

This simple procedure strengthens the shoulder and also the back part of your body.

  • Progressive weight lifting exercises including walking, etc. ( few exceptions to some positions)

This low force kind of exercise places a smaller amount of pressure on your joints that greatly aids in the protection of your bones.

  • Place your both arms and hands palm side and slowly raise it and lower them. Hold this position several times.

This form of exercise helps in diminishing the spinal fractures of the affected area of the patient.

  • Exercises using a rope. Bind the rope into the ends with your hands, exhale deeply and elevate your legs vertically. Go on with this routine for a couple of seconds.

Helps in strengthening of the legs, which enable you to maintain better posture.

  • Keep you back in a straight line and expand you both legs to the front. Covering around your feet. Pull your hands towards your waist and then exhale. Prolong doing this regular routine for about five (5) times per week.

An exercise that is good specifically at the back of our body.

Dowager’s Hump Pictures

Dowager’s Hump Pictures

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Dowager’s Hump Photos

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