Buffalo Hump

What is Buffalo Hump?

A buffalo hump or a hump behind the shoulder occurs when fats accumulate all together behind the neck and changes occur in the distribution and production of dorsocervical fat pad.

The gathered fat that forms a lump is definitely not a serious condition. Other abnormal lumps can also grow on the shoulders and create a hump such as cysts and tumors. For some cases, the main cause is the curvature of the spine.

The hump can become apparent once the glucocorticoid or cortisol is being excessively produced in the blood stream.

buffalo hump pic

What Causes a Buffalo Hump?

A buffalo hump behind the shoulders can be caused by plenty of different reasons, and usually observed among people with excessive fat gathered or hormone imbalance. The hormonal problem which is a common cause of the hump is a result of the increased levels of cortisol freed by the adrenal glands.

It could also be caused by too much intake of certain medications like steriods.

Other causes include:

Cushing’s syndrome

This is an endocrine disorder that is both seen in children and adults. The possible causes of the syndrome could be due to the abnormal processes in the body or a pituitary tumor that is present in the brain.

cushings syndrome symptoms

Prescription medications

These can also have the hump as its side effect.


This can worsen the hump especially if the bones are already very weak and thin, where the spine can become curved and eventually forms a hump.

Morbid Obesity

Too much fat that accumulated and deposited not only in other parts of the body, but also in the neck part which can end up with a hump-appearance of the person.

What are the Symptoms of Buffalo Hump?

The symptoms of a buffalo hump can coexist with other symptoms depending on the underlying condition. The most common symptom is the elevated hump over the neck which is pretty visible and odd looking.

Other possible symptoms that could occur include:

  • Pain in the back
  • Acne
  • Sticking out of the belly from the fats accumulated
  • Too much growth of hair
  • Easy  bruising
  • Swelling of the face that could also become round or moon-shaped
  • The chest and breasts become enlarged
  • Loss or weakening of strength
  • Certain changes in menstruation
  • Person becomes extremely fat or obese
  • Skin becomes more and more thin
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Uncontrolled thirst from time to time
  • High cholesterol and blood sugar level
  • Frequently urinating

The disorder can also go together with symptoms linked with osteoporosis such as scoliosis or kyphoscoliosis.

Other symptoms that could indicate that the condition is already severe must be immediately checked and evaluated by the physician. Seek medical care if high blood pressure occurs, or if the face starts to swell and hair grows excessively.

What are the Treatment Options for Buffalo Hump?

Treatments for buffalo hump rely on its primary  causes and requires some changes in a person’s diet, hormonal therapy, removal through surgery, and exercises.

The fundamental remedy at home for this condition is the limitation of the drug or at least the person should reduce its dosage. However, if the hump is caused by a side effect of a prescribed medication, always remember to talk to the physician first before changing the dosage or shifting to other treatments.

Do not ever stop the intake of a prescribed medicine without the physician’s consent. For the case of HIV hump, the protease inhibitors can be substituted with non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors in order to treat a hump.

Cosmetic surgery to remove a hump is usually opted by many when the hump becomes really large and annoying. Another option is the liposuction buffalo hump removal wherein fats are removed from the neck.

In some people, they prefer surgery but it is still important to address the underlying condition that caused it first, since the hump could still come back if the cause remains untreated.


buffalo images

buffalo pictures

buffalo hump before after liposuction surgery treatment

buffalo hump images


If the buffalo hump is the result of obesity, the person can have the right diet and exercise regimen in order to lose weight. One way to naturally treat a humped neck is through aerobic exercises since it helps control the repercussions of lipodystrophy.

Furthermore, exercises that could strengthen the muscles and burn fats can be a great help. Another exercise like using a barbell could also be started since it can strengthen the upper back, neck, arms, and shoulders. The person should also know some preventive measures while performing the exercises safely.


  1. http://www.healthline.com/health/hump-behind-the-shoulders#Overview1
  2. http://www.hxbenefit.com/buffalo-hump-pictures-symptoms-causes-treatment-and-removal.html
  3. http://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/bones-joints-and-muscles/buffalo-hump–symptoms
  4. Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM (May 12, 2011). Williams textbook of endocrinology. 12th ed. Elsevier Health Sciences; 488-491.
  5. Schitz, Jodye Lynn Dickson (Retrieved 08 May 2010).  Linville Raid of 1840 from the Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association.
  6. Christ-Crain M, Kola B, Lolli F, Fekete C, Seboek D, Wittmann G, et al (2008 Jun. 22). AMP-activated protein kinase mediates glucocorticoid-induced metabolic changes: a novel mechanism in Cushing’s syndrome. FASEB J. (6):1672-83.


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