23 Aug Got To Get Over “The Hump”! How to Avoid getting the ‘Dowagers’ Hump
Dear Vitality Man,
Everyone in my family over 50 seems to be getting that “hump” at the base of the neck and top of the upper back. Is it hereditary? Is there anything I can do about it, since I’m only in my 30’s and don’t have one yet? Afraid of the Hump.
Even though everyone in your family seems to have the “hump,” it is not hereditary and you are not doomed to get one. Furthermore, members of your family who have one can also get rid of it.
Upper-back humps come from the body’s attempt to distribute its weight evenly from front to back, as well as up and down, on your body. They also happen when the front chest-and-rib muscles tighten and become rigid over time. The forward pull overpowers the spinal bones’ tendency to stack vertically—Then problems start to occur, including the hump.
When we’re children, our bodies tend to be open, evenly balanced and mostly anatomically “straight.” Over time — either from learned body habits or from our work demands or poor mechanics in fitness — our bodies learn to compensate for imbalances in muscle tension, movement and weight distribution. The body does this by using fat and water as a ballast system. See if you can follow this with me:
Step 1: The chest and front shoulder muscles pull the arms and shoulders in front of your body’s midline balance point.
Step 2: The weight (of your arms) and downward pull of your muscles pushes down on your rib cage.
Step 3: Muscles that attach from the rib cage to the front of your neck pull down and forward on your neck, and draw the weight of your head downward, in front of your body’s balance point.
Step 4: The weight of your head pushes down on the now too-forward curvature of your neck.
Step 5: We start developing a hump. It gets worse as time, stress and gravity take their toll.
Here’s how they can get rid of their hump and how you can prevent yours.
First, consult your chiropractic physician. With their approval, you can follow these steps:
Step 1: Walk into any doorway and stand in the middle of the doorframe.
Step 2: Hold your arms up like goal posts, with your elbows at the same height as your shoulders.
Step 3: Put your hands against the entrance of the doorframe and lean forward with hands flat, facing forward.
Step 4: Bend your knees and lower your body about two inches, lean forward chest first, and breathe in your nose and out your wide open mouth 5-8 times. As you breathe out, push your chest forward a little bit farther, but only as far as your body will relax in each breath.
Step 5: After 5-8 breaths, step forward with one foot to catch your balance, then stand.
Step 6: Lower each arm one at a time so that the arm goes down and back behind you, thumb pointing back (in the hitchhike position).
Step 7: When both arms are down at your sides, leave your chest up high, and shoulders back and down.
Step 8: Step forward out of the doorway, then walk around for one minute with chest up high, shoulders back and down, thumbs pointing slightly back (hitchhike position).
Do this exercise two times daily and continue to practice maintaining good posture all day long. With time and practice, this will get easier, and you’ll be happy with the results. For more information about how to achieve great posture effortlessly, call me toll-free at The Vitality Center in San Mateo 1-877-4-POSTURE (476-7887).