Dowager’s Hump in the elderly: What is it and how do you prevent it?
What is Dowager’s hump? And how can you prevent it?
Dowager’s hump is the slightly rounded hump you might observe at the back of an person’s neck. Dowager’s hump can happen irrespective of age and while both men and women develop it, we mostly see it in women.
Sometimes people call this a “roundback” or in more severe cases, a “hunchback”.
The medical term for Dowager’s hump is kyphosis.
Kyphosis is caused by continual curving of the spine towards the front of the body.
And so daily activities like being hunched over a computer all day at work or doing work that involves bending the neck excessively can cause the condition.
Another cause of kyphosis is osteoporosis; a condition which predominantly affects women.
It may also be a congenital problem.
For most people who develop kyphosis later on in life, it is most likely due to bad posture or osteoporosis.
In most instances, kyphosis is painless.
For some people however, it is painful.
And even for those with painless kyphosis, a severe spinal curvature can cause other problems later on in life.
So what can you do about it?
How can you prevent or even reverse Dowager’s hump?
That is what we’ll be covering in this post.
How to prevent Dowager’s hump in the elderly
Avoid bad posture
For most of us, work is unavoidable.
Mechanics, nurses, teachers and office workers all have to do some kind of work that involves bending the neck for long periods of time.
So avoiding work is definitely not an option.
However, there are exercises you can practice on a daily basis to prevent the eventual problem of kyphosis.
Examples of exercises you can do are as follows:
- Stand up and stretch at least once an hour to take the stress off those neck and back muscles that you’ve been engaging.
- Extend your neck backwards and turn it from side to side to get rid of the pain that comes with bending over for so long.
- With the help of a physical therapist or a fitness professional, you can learn how to do push-ups to relieve some of the pressure on your back.
General exercise also helps to keep your muscles and bones healthy.
A healthy diet helps
A balanced diet that delivers all the necessary nutrients to your body is key to a healthy body.
For people who are more prone to osteoporosis, this will mean that you eat meals that are high in calcium in Vitamin D.
A diet that contains a lot of fruits and vegetables is also helpful.
Doctors have found that the phosphoric acid in certain sodas for instance can cause brittle bones. Tea and coffee seem to have similar effects at high levels. This can make a Dowager’s hump worse. So, if you can avoid drinking sodas excessively, this will be helpful in the long run.
If you’ve already developed Dowager’s hump, it’s important to realize that even though you may be doing all the exercises and taking the right steps, it will still take a while to see improvements.
Don’t get discouraged.
Continue to practice good posture, practice exercises that strengthen your back and neck and maintain a balanced diet.
Doing this things can prevent and even reverse Dowager’s hump.
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