Have you noticed a neck hump at the bottom of your neck? Is it getting bigger or more painful? Are you worried that you may have a hunched back?
Neck humps, also known as Dowagers hump, commonly increase as you get older. These humps are not something that are good to leave in the hope that it goes away!
Often this hump is ignored until it starts to cause aches and pain or even gets bigger. A lot of the time it is seen as something that is purely cosmetic.
I’m here to tell you that it’s not the case, and that they commonly progress and can become a significant burden on your life. It may be fine now, but it is shown that by the age of 40 the hump begins to increase. So there may be plenty of time for some of you.
The first problem that is associated with neck humps are functional limitations. Once the hump begins to progress, people start to have issues arising out of their chairs without assistance, they also become more significantly unbalanced and have an increased chance of falling.
The forward leaning posture with your head forward is something that also starts to put pressure on your shoulders, lower back and pelvis. As the muscles on the front of the body being to shorten, they pull your shoulders and pelvis forward. This can lead to more painful biomechanical dysfunction, decreased range of motion of those joints and significant muscle weakness.
As peoples neck humps worsen, they also report a decrease in quality of life as compared to people without humps. Critically, alongside this is a higher mortality rate. As your shoulders and neck start to hang forward, there is more compression on your lungs, heart and arteries. Not only can you compress vital organs and blood vessels, you can also cause increased compression on the vertebrae which increases the risk of fractures and degeneration through your upper back.
So, what can be done to help?
If you stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself and take note of your posture. The changes that take place with your structure are as follows. Your chin and shoulders will be more forward. With this increased forward head and neck posture you will observe changes to the muscles with the front neck muscles, pecs and front shoulder muscles being shorter, tighter and weaker.
In order to treat this, you need to encourage your body to do the exact opposite. You need your chin, and shoulders to shift backwards. You also need the muscles associated with the desired changes to be functional, stronger and have greater endurance.
There are lots of really cool exercises and stretches that you can do to start encouraging the improved posture.
The only thing you need to be careful of, is if you have significant degeneration and a history or fracture, then you may need to seek professional advice before trying them.
Neck humps are something not to be ignored. They can get worse and can lead to significant hindrances.
There are things that you can try initially to make some changes. If you want to get on top of this, I mean really try control this problem then here are my top three things you can try.
So here they are:
- Prone trunk lift – Lie on your stomach with your hands by your side. From this position, lift your shoulders of the floor as far as you can. Repeat this 3 sets or 8 reps. Do this exercise regularly in order to retrain that posture.
- Foam roller – You’ll need a long foam roller that reaches from the head to your sacrum. Lye on it with your spine, with your arms extended out at 90 degrees, and your knees bent. You want to maintain this position for about 10-15 minutes. Again, doing this regularly is important.
- Brace – if you find that your running short of time or keep forgetting to do these regularly, there are braces that you can get that you wear that can help change this forward posture.
If these made any difference to your hump or improved flexibility, pain in the area then there may be more we can do. Please contact us and our receptionist will organise a time for you ASAP to be fully assessed to see what else can be done.