What is a Dowager’s Hump?
The term Dowager’s Hump is a more casual term for the medical condition referred to as kyphosis. It is the uncommon curvature of the thoracic vertebrae of the upper part of the back in an outward direction.
It is most commonly seen in women than in men. When the front part of the vertebrae becomes involved and gets compressed due to osteoporosis, it will later on result to the spine bending forward and producing a hump at the upper back portion.
What Causes a Dowager’s Hump?
The hump can be caused by other conditions and these should be determined in order to get the correct treatment. Based on the research of the University of Maryland Medical Center, this kyphosis problem can be caused by genetic abnormalities.
The disfiguration in the patient’s genes can result to the inappropriate growth of the vertebral column. Other conditions linked with other congenital problems could also cause this hump.
It is also been mentioned in some studies that it can also be due to wedge fractures wherein the front part of a vertebra collapses causing the spine to be misaligned a little. The above part of the fracture tips forwards and creating a slight back curve.
As the vertebra over the wedge fracture is tipped forward, it puts pressure on other vertebrae that could lead to developing a wedge fracture in another vertebra. The more wedge fractures are occurring; the back gets more bowed. In severe cases, a person’s back can be extremely bent over.
How is a Dowager’s Hump Treated?
There are several ways to treat Dowager’s hump. The main goal of treatment for this condition is by preventing bone loss, although it can also be utilized as a management which is beneficial for patients who experience pain resulting from vertebral fractures.
The procedure is called vertebroplasty, where bone cement is injected to stabilize the vertebrae. Another procedure for this condition is performing kyphoplasty for individuals with compression fractures in the bottom half of the spine.
Exercises for Dowager’s Hump
Based on some research studies in the medical society, yoga exercises can be a great contribution in treating Dowager’s hump. The upper spine curvature of individuals who did yoga for six months reduced the back problem by about five percent compared to those who did not.
Here are some 5 easy poses that can be done to straighten the spine:
Sit straight at the front edge of the chair with the butt firm and flat. Secure the feet on the floor by steadying it there. Inhale and stretch out the spine upward. Bring the shoulders down along with the head placed over the spine, then breathe uniformly keeping the posture for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Sit in the same seated mountain position then pull the head backward as if making a double chin. Do it again for 6 to 10 times. Do not lift or jut the chin in a forward manner. Focus on the backward movement with the shoulder rolled and lifted when inhaling, then compress the shoulder blades together at the back when exhaling. Do it 6 to 10 times in full circles.
Sit tall. Inhale while clasping the hands behind the back. Hold the arms away from the body when exhaling. Do it all over for 3 to 6 times. Remain in the same pose by continuously breathing if desired.
Sit tall as above. Keep the fit firm on the floor and draw the head back. Stay in this posture, and then bend forward by not rounding the spine. The muscles in the abdomen should remain firm and shoulders should be square. Bend back as far as possible with the feel still planted on the floor. Go through again for 10 to 20 times.
Methods of Prevention for Dowager’s Hump
Preventive measures must be taken to avoid this condition. Tips that can prevent Dowager’s hump include:
- Daily doses of vitamins C and D
- Work-outs for coordination and balance in order to prevent spine fractures
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Sleeping practices
- Training for strength and weight
- Dowager’s Hump: What is Dowager’s Hump?, Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, Treatment, Exercises at http://healthosphere.com/dowagers-hump-treatment-symptoms-pictures-causes-prevention/
- Osteoporosis can lead to dowagers humps, Dowagers humps: Frequently asked questions: at http://www.osteopenia3.com/dowagers-humps.html
- Bone and Muscle Conditions > Skeletal Disorders > Dowager’s Hump Causes at http://www.livestrong.com/article/145107-dowagers-hump-causes/
- Lehnert-Schroth, Christa (2007). Three-Dimensional Treatment for Scoliosis: A Physiotherapeutic Method for Deformities of the Spine. (Palo Alto, CA: The Martindale Press): 185–187
- Hawes M. (2006). Impact of spine surgery on signs and symptoms of spinal deformity. Pediatr. Rehabil. Oct–Dec; 9(4): 318–39.
- Pfeifer M, Begerow B, Minne HW (2004). “Effects of a new spinal orthosis on posture, trunk strength, and quality of life in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis: a randomized trial”. American journal of physical medicine & rehabilitation / Association of Academic Physiatrists 83 (3): 177–86.