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How to Prevent a Dowager’s Hump

Are you familiar with an area of extra tissue that can form at the base of the neck, or what’s known as a Dowager’s Hump?

Over time, this bump develops from forward leaning or poor posture.

Practicing good posture can not only help lessen a Dowager’s Hump, but it’s key in preventing one from forming.

What Causes a Dowager’s Hump?

In the video below, Physical Therapist Katie Wolfley, PT DPT, explains what causes a Dowager’s Hump to form and shows you an exercise to improve posture and help lessen or prevent the condition.

Strengthen, Tone, Stretch

Learn how to enhance your strength, posture, and overall health with routines designed by Physical Therapists.

When a Dowager’s Hump forms, it’s most often a result of poor posture — or an imbalance between strength and stretch in our posture muscles.

Individuals who maintain a forward-leaning posture or rounded shoulders have a much higher likelihood of developing the condition over time. 

As we lean or hunch forward, we put a lot of strain on our upper back. Over time, that strain causes soft tissue to build at the base of the neck, giving the appearance of a bump. 

The best way to prevent a Dowager’s Hump from forming is to be mindful of your posture.

When we say “good posture,” this doesn’t mean maintaining an arched back or constantly overcorrecting.

To practice good posture, pull up tall through your chest, keeping your shoulders in line with your trunk and your ribs over top of your hips. This provides an equal balance of tension between the muscles on front side of your upper body and the back side of your upper body.

While reversing a Dowager’s Hump is dependent upon many factors, including severity of the tissue build up, the length of time the condition has been present, and overall bone health, you can work to lessen its appearance or prevent formation through exercises to improve posture.


Military Posture:

One exercise that’s great for lessening the appearance of or preventing the formation of a Dowager’s Hump is military posture.

To perform this exercise, stand in your normal posture – which for many of us is slightly rounded.

Pull yourself up tall from the crown of your head, like someone has a string they’re pulling from the ceiling. With your palms facing out at your sides, pinch your shoulder blades like you’re trying to hold a pencil in them. Hold this position for three to five seconds, relax, then repeat for 15 repetitions.

Complete three sets of 15 repetitions.

Want more exercises to help improve your posture?

Join our Strengthen, Tone, Stretch class from 7:00 – 8:30pm on Wednesday, Oct. 26th at The Powerhouse. All proceeds from this donation-based event will benefit breast cancer research at Roswell Park.

Can’t attend in person? You can still join and support the cause! Register to receive a replay to watch at your convenience.

Click to button below to register or learn more.