My Hump, My Hump, My Less Than Lovely Lady Hump: Working My Way out of Kyphosis

What Is Dowager's Hump and How to Fix It (It's Not Only About Your Posture)


As a person who is hunched over their computer, steering wheel, phone, or long list of digital devices used in my day; my posture is something nightmares are made of. Over the last 3 years the level of pain I ensure on a daily basis has increased ten fold. The ache between my shoulder blades and neck, then along my traps and down my forearms is nothing short of agony day in and day out. Not to mention my self confidence has taken a toll as a result of the unpleasing aesthetics of having a big old hump on your neck. I’ve used my long hair in the past to camouflage it, including hair extensions to add an extra layer of safety

But for me, it has gotten to the point whereby I cannot ignore the fact that I am not interested in spending the remainder of my life rolling around on the floor on a wooden rolling pin trying to work out the kinks. There has been days when co-workers have caught me rubbing against corners, edges, or whatever looks like it will release the wrath of the entrapped nerves pecking away on my every last piece of sanity.

I recall haphazardly completing an ergonomic test at work about 5 years ago when I was complaining about my pain. My administrative Team Lead came touting a sense of confidence in her role of the official Occupational Health Officer, and I was anxious for my woes to be solved with the appropriate equipment that would solve all my problems. I was willing to apply whatever wisdom she had available to extend to me. She had me sit at my desk, and I remember her moving my limbs around and adjusting me into positions that felt extremely foreign. It was determined that I needed a new chair, so a chair was delivered.

Unfortunately what was not adjusted for my tendency to hold my core, neck and head in the correct position that would actually address the fact that I had a Dowager’s Hump- Which is the outdated name for what is considered a common spinal condition more appropriately named Kyphosis.

What are the symptoms of kyphosis?

The human spine has a natural curvature. These curves help us to stand upright and stay balanced while doing so.

Kyphosis happens when the angle of the spine is out of the typical range. The condition can vary in seriousness. Generally speaking, the greater the curve of the spine, the more severe the symptoms are.

The symptoms of kyphosis can include:

I have in the past always thought I had good “core strngth” as my capacity to do do 300- 500 situps in one go was not a problem. But Core, and Abdominal muscles are a totally different set of muscle groups. Shape Magazine discusses “Why Core Strength Is So Important (It Has Nothing to Do with Sculpting a Six-Pack)” and states :

“A strong core helps keep a more upright and erect posture whether you’re being active or just sitting at your desk,” says McHale. Think of it like the tree trunk of your body (albeit a lot more mobile): It has to hold its ground so that your branches (arms and legs) can do their ~thing~ any which way.

So in a nutshell a new chair for me in hindsight was not going to cut it. Nether was my tendency to kick my feet up on the desk, while clutching a phone between my head and my shoulder and playing a game of slots on my phone.

To be quite frank it has taken up until now… as in this last week to finllally wave my white flag and adjust my posture every chance I could get throughout the day. Throughotu my appointments with physio therapists, massage therapists, Kiniesiolgists and chiropractors it has been suggested that my posture required adjustment. THey would position me appropropriately, having me tuck my core in tights, lightly pushing baack my shouldfers, then pushing my head iinto a downward tilt. Low and behold,,, thete was the double chin I had been trying to avoid. It turns out I was a heavy subbrivbet to a forward head posture position, the root of all my pain.You see all these years I had adjusted my my head position to compensate for the my growing double chin. I figured the more I stretched my head forward, the les obvious my double chin would be. I mean doesn’t everyone sacrifice their spinal health through the smoke and mirrors of bad head posture?

It has taken for me to accept my doubke chin in echnage for good posture and less pain. The double vhin will be dealt with hopefully by eating less Cap’n Crunch, and maybe some good old cool scuplt. Its a sacrificie I’m willigng to acccept.

So at any given moment you can catch me pretending that a cord is puling my neck from the base of my skull upwards. I use the back of my car seat rest to help pull and strectch out my neck, and have removed the eight pillows I choose to sleep with, and settling for one small yet effective pillow lull me into an unfmiliar and uncomffortable sleep.

Its been a grueling task, adjusting a whole complex set of mecles in my neck, shoulders, back and core muscles to accomodate this fabulaous new double chin. But can I say within a week of mking these adjustments the pain has subsided.

But correcting this goes beyond just stretching and correcting my posture throughout the day. It takes some serious efforts with regards to adding beneficial exercises to your day. See Below.

Read on to learn how to do 12 exercises that’ll help you stand a little taller.

1. Child’s pose

This resting pose stretches and lengthens your spine, glutes, and hamstrings. The child’s pose helps to release tension in your lower back and neck.

To do this:

  1. Sit on your shinbones with your knees together, your big toes touching, and your heels splayed out to the side.
  2. Fold forward at your hips and walk your hands out in front of you.
  3. Sink your hips back down toward your feet. If your thighs won’t go all the way down, place a pillow or folded blanket under them for support.
  4. Gently place your forehead on the floor or turn your head to one side.
  5. Keep your arms extended or rest them along your body.
  6. Breathe deeply into the back of your rib cage and waist.
  7. Relax in this pose for up to 5 minutes while continuing to breathe deeply.

2. Forward fold

This standing stretch releases tension in your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. It also stretches your hips and legs. While doing this stretch, you should feel the entire back side of your body opening up and lengthening.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your big toes touching and your heels slightly apart.
  2. Bring your hands to your hips and fold forward at your hips.
  3. Release your hands toward the floor or place them on a block. Don’t worry if your hands don’t touch the ground — just go as far as you can.
  4. Bend your knees slightly, soften your hips joints, and allow your spine to lengthen.
  5. Tuck your chin into your chest and allow your head to fall heavy to the floor.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

3. Cat cow

Practicing cat cow stretches and massages your spine. It also helps to relieve tension in your torso, shoulders, and neck while promoting blood circulation.

To do this:

  1. Come onto your hands and knees with your weight balanced evenly between all four points.
  2. Inhale to look up, dropping your abdomen down toward the ground as you extend your spine.
  3. Exhale and arch your spine toward the ceiling and tuck your chin into your chest.
  4. Continue this movement for at least 1 minute.

4. Standing cat cow

Doing the cat cow stretch while standing helps to loosen up tightness in your back, hips, and glutes.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart with a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Extend your hands in front of you or place them on your thighs.
  3. Lengthen your neck, bring your chin toward your chest, and round your spine.
  4. Then look up, lift your chest, and move your spine in the opposite direction.
  5. Hold each position for 5 breaths at a time.
  6. Continue this movement for a few minutes.

5. Chest opener

This exercise allows you to open and stretch your chest. This is especially useful if you spend most of your day sitting, which tends to make your chest move inward. Strengthening your chest also helps you stand up straighter.

To do this:

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
  2. Bring your arms behind you and interlace your fingers with your palms pressing together. Grasp a towel if your hands don’t reach each other.
  3. Keep your head, neck, and spine in one line as you gaze straight ahead.
  4. Inhale as you lift your chest toward the ceiling and bring your hands toward the floor.
  5. Breathe deeply as you hold this pose for 5 breaths.
  6. Release and relax for a few breaths.
  7. Repeat at least 10 times.

Ready to see how this all fits into an exercise plan? Check out our guide for better posture in 30 days.


6. High plank


The high plank pose helps to relieve pain and stiffness throughout your body while strengthening your shoulders, glutes, and hamstrings. It also helps you develop balance and strength in your core and back, both important for good posture.

To do this:

  1. Come onto all fours and straighten your legs, lift your heels, and raise your hips.
  2. Straighten your back and engage your abdominal, arm, and leg muscles.
  3. Lengthen the back of your neck, soften your throat, and look down at the floor.
  4. Make sure to keep your chest open and your shoulders back.
  5. Hold this position for up to 1 minute at a time.

7. Side plank


You can use a side plank to maintain the neutral alignment of your spine and legs. This energizing pose works the muscles in your sides and glutes. Strengthening and aligning these muscles helps to support your back and improve posture.

To do this:

  1. From a high plank position, bring your left hand slightly in to center.
  2. Shift your weight onto your left hand, stack your ankles, and lift your hips.
  3. Place your right hand on your hip or extend it up toward the ceiling.
  4. You can drop your left knee down to the floor for extra support.
  5. Engage your abdominals, side body, and glutes as you maintain this pose.
  6. Align your body in a straight line from the crown of your head to your heels.
  7. Look straight ahead of you or up toward your hand.
  8. Hold this pose for up to 30 seconds.
  9. Repeat on the opposite side.

8. Downward-facing dog


This is a forward bend that can be used as a resting pose to balance out your body. The downward-facing dog pose helps to relieve back pain, while also strengthening and aligning your back muscles. Practicing it regularly helps to improve posture.

To do this:

  1. Lying with your stomach on the floor, press into your hands as you tuck your toes under your feet and lift your heels.
  2. Lift your knees and hips to bring your sitting bones up toward the ceiling.
  3. Bend your knees slightly and lengthen your spine.
  4. Keep your ears in line with your upper arms or tuck your chin all the way into your chest.
  5. Press firmly into your hands and keep your heels slightly lifted.
  6. Remain in this pose for up to 1 minute.

9. Pigeon pose

This is a hip opener that also loosens up your spine, hamstrings, and glutes. The pigeon pose can also help to stretch your sciatic nerve and quadriceps. Opening and stretching these places in your body makes it easier to correct imbalances in your posture.

To do this:

  1. Come down on all fours with your knees below your hips and your hands a little bit in front of your shoulders.
  2. Bend your right knee and place it behind your right wrist with your right foot angled out to the left.
  3. Rest the outside of your right shin on the floor.
  4. Slide your left leg back, straighten your knee, and rest your thigh on the floor.
  5. Make sure your left leg extends straight back (and not to the side).
  6. Slowly lower your torso down to rest on your inner right thigh with your arms extended in front of you.
  7. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  8. Slowly release the position by walking your hands back toward your hips and lifting your torso.
  9. Repeat on the left side.

10. Thoracic spine rotation

This exercise relieves tightness and pain in your back while increasing stability and mobility.

To do this:

  • Come onto all fours and sink your hips back down to your heels and rest on your shins.
  • Place your left hand behind your head with your elbow extended to the side.
  • Keep your right hand under your shoulder or bring it to center and rest on your forearm.
  • Exhale as you rotate your left elbow up toward the ceiling and stretch the front of your torso.
  • Take one long inhale and exhale in this position.
  • Release back down to the original position.
  • Repeat this movement 5 to 10 times.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

11. Glute squeeze

This exercise helps to strengthen and activate your glutes while relieving lower back pain. It also improves the functioning and alignment of your hips and pelvis, leading to better posture.

To do this:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet about hip-distance apart.
  2. Keep your feet about a foot away from your hips.
  3. Rest your arms alongside your body with your palms facing down.
  4. Exhale as you bring your feet closer to your hips.
  5. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then move them further away from your hips.
  6. Continue this movement for 1 minute.
  7. Do this exercise a few times per day.

12. Isometric rows

This exercise helps to relieve pain and stiffness from sitting in one place for too long. Isometric pulls work your shoulder, arm, and back muscles, giving you the strength to maintain good posture.

To do this:

  1. Sit in a chair with a soft back.
  2. Bend your arms so your fingers are facing forward and your palms are facing each other.
  3. Exhale as you draw your elbows back into the chair behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  4. Breathe deeply as you hold this position for 10 seconds.
  5. On an inhale, slowly release to the starting position.
  6. Repeat this movement for 1 minute.
  7. Do this exercise several times throughout the dy.

Exercises That Correct a Dowager’s Hump

How to Fix the Worst Posture Mistakes

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