Monday, March 21, 2022

Avoiding The Dowagers Hump As You Age.


I'm sure we've all seen it.  The member of the family who over the years becomes more bent over and just can't stand up straight.  They develop that little hump so it's hard for them to stand up straight.  Every wonder why not everyone suffers from it?  Well let's look at the whole topic.

The bump we see is known as a Dowagers Hump or Kyphosis more correctly.  This rounded hump occurs at the base of your neck and is caused by leaning forward all the time. The long term bending over causes a curve in the bones of your upper spine and tissue grows at the bottom of your neck.  It is said to effect two out of every five adults over the age of 55.

One of the biggest causes of Kyphosis is poor posture such as slouching or hunching in front of the computer or television, leaning back in chairs, or carrying heavy loads on your back such as a backpack full of books.

As we grow, our spines change their normal angles of curvature to around 40 degrees by the age of 40.  If the angle of curvature goes over 40 degrees, that is when you begin to see Kyphosis.  This is more likely to occur in women since they are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis.

Unfortunately, the spine begins to curve more as we age but there are things we can do to help prevent or reduce the condition as we age.  This can be done  by eating a diet with enough calcium and vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis because it can cause this condition.

Secondly, it is important to practice good posture by standing up straight all the time.  This means keeping your shoulders back, head high, and instead of leaning over to read your computer screen or book, elevate them so you are not looking down. 

Next, always, always, always stretch because tight muscles can pull the body out of alignment, contributing to Kyphosis.  When a person stretches regularly, they increase their flexibility, keep muscles more limber, thus keeping the neck in spine in better alignment.  Furthermore, it is important to exercise the whole body to enhance the muscles of the body, improving posture.  The stronger the core, the better alignment the body has.   It is best to include weight bearing exercises to help build and maintain bone density to stay healthy.

If you are interested in using exercise to help prevent or decrease Kyphosis, it is best to speak with a personal trainer who can set you up with the proper exercises.  Three movements that come highly recommended are pulling down, pulling back, pulling up.  Pulling down might be the part of the pull up when your body does down to the bottom of the movement.  The pulling back can be accomplished through exercises that have you pull your arms back so you strengthen your rhomboid muscles.  Pulling up can be done by raising weights and keeping your shoulders down.

This is something to keep in mind when you spend your day hunched over your computer or your desk.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day. 

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