3 Exercises To Avoid A Humpback

When it comes to looking good and moving freely, we think of someone with good posture that is moving well and staying well. On the contrary when someone looks ill or in pain one may associate some postural issue, like a large upper back hump.
Medically, this rounding is known as a Dowager’s hump. It is defined as a forward curvature or kyphosis of the spine resulting in a stoop, which is more prevalent in women.
We can all admit this is not the most aesthetically desirable condition to have. This forward hump is very visible and can lead to a fat pad that forms on the upper back. The forward weight load distribution can accelerate arthritic degeneration patterns. It can also lead to other issues such as; breathing issues, digestive problems, back pain, numbness/tingling, balance issues and more.
We think of the little old lady that is in line in the supermarket, hunched over with shaky hands. However, that lady wasn’t always old.
If she could go back in time, what is it that she could have done to prevent that hump from forming and some of the health problems that developed with that hump?

Here are 3 simple exercises, if done weekly can minimize the chance of forming a hump, as well as possibly reverse the hump that has formed (This is ideally used in conjunction with spinal adjustments).
They include strengthening the upper back on three planes of movement. Pulling down, pulling back and pulling up.

Exercise 1-Pulling Down
There are various exercises to achieve this movement that will strengthen the lattisimus dorsi muscles. This is the muscle that creates a bit of the V shape in your back and helps pull down your shoulder blades from elevating too high. It can vary from a light cable pull down or bands, to a well held pull up.

Exercise 2-Pulling Back
There are various exercises to achieve this movement that will strengthen the rhomboid muscles. This motion is one of retracting the shoulder blades while pulling backwards. If your pecs are too tight, it can help to stretch them as well.

Exercise 3-Pulling Up
There are various exercises to achieve this movement that will strengthen the trapezius muscles. This motion is one of elevating the shoulders while pulling upwards.

Technique advice: Most importantly, utilize good form and control as you increase weight and time under tension on all exercises, as everyone is starting at different fitness levels.

If your spinal hump lingers, pain persists or you’ve noticed reduced mobility, you will need a spinal evaluation. Call us at our Chiropractic Clinic to schedule a more detailed assessment. Sometimes we can observe posture and range of motion, yet other times we may need to perform more detailed orthopedic testing and take digital x-rays.


Dr. David Tucker, DC