Neck Hump illustration with arrows pointing to the area.
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Fix a Dowagers Hump, Neck Hump, Buffalo Neck…

Where does the Dowagers Hump come from?

1. A Neck Hump (Dowagers Hump) develops from positions we repeat throughout our day.

2. Gets locked in with our Muscle Tension and Stress Loop.

3. Progresses as our diaphragm muscle weakens.

This is Post 1 of 2 in: Fix a Neck Hump. Check out post 2, Fix a Neck Hump, after to layer on the next two techniques that leverage the way our body is set up to work so we can efficiently and effectively achieve unwinding a neck hump.

Post 2 of: Fix a Neck Hump

Train This 1 Muscle First! A Neck Hump is an indication that the Muscle – Skeletal System is out of balance. Train this 1 Muscle FIRST for exponential RESULTS!

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How Do We Fix A Neck Hump?

The most efficient and effective way to unwind/fix a Neck Hump is to start by reducing the root cause(s).

Today we will:

  • Identify the biggest promoter of the Neck Hump and the simplest way to slow its progression.
  • Then we’ll look at the Muscle groups most responsible for the neck’s position.
  • A video (cued to the section) that shows you HOW to strengthen the muscles using positioning and movement.
  • There is a 2 1/2 min routine right after the instructions, AND a separate 2 1/2 min routine video.
  • We’ll also cover the most popular AB exercise to avoid (at least temporarily) and why.

Exercise Instruction, Routine, Tracking, and Motivational Tools are at the Bottom of the Post.

The Neck Hump.

The Biggest Promoter of Neck Humps is Electronics.

Neck Hump looking at electronic a huge promoter of Neck hump and dowagers hump

The position we repeat most throughout any given day is the downward tilt of our head. The head is approximately the weight of an 8 to 10-pound bowling ball. (12)

Your Neck is Handling the Weight of a Few Bowling Balls.

Tilting your head forward means now your neck is handling the weight of a few bowling balls! Looking at the illustration below shows the head tilt at 30 degrees is the weight of 3 to 4; 8-12lb bowling balls! 40 pounds! That is A LOT!!! How far do you tilt your head when looking at your phone or tablet?

Neck Hump Looking at electronics

Self Care Tip

Reduce your head tilt to protect your neck and reduce the progression of your neck hump.

Reduce your tilt to 0 degrees as often as you can by lifting your device up. This way, your neck will only need to hold the weight of your head – which is already an 8 to 10-pound- bowling ball. This data sure motivated me to change my habits!

A slight drop in your head places tremendous stress on your neck muscles.


When we look down, our Neck Muscles contract to counter the weight needed to hold our head.

Neck hump neck muscles work hard when your head is tipped forward

Help Slow & Stop the Progression of Your Neck Hump

Lift Your Electronics UP to your eye level. It is that SIMPLE!

Not EASY, but it is SIMPLE. Lift your Phone, Tablet, or Laptop using a stand. Position them at eye level to take the stress off your neck muscles as much as possible. Every time you make the Self Care Micro Decision to place your electronic at eye height, you are helping to reduce the Neck Hump. Make note of this good micro decision each time you catch yourself and make the swap. This will help to build up your Brain’s Self Care Motivation.

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If you walk away today and incorporate this ONE Simple Self Care Tip, you’ll have positively impacted your entire spine for the rest of your life.

Teach it to your kids, too; actually, teach it to everyone you know!

Slow The Progression of Your Neck Hump Exponentially

Now you are aware that the head tilt is a big contributor to the Neck Hump. To further help slow down the progression of and help to FIX your Neck Hump, try and identify other things you do.

What do you find you do throughout the day that has you tilting your head downward? Once you identify them, you can make one simple self care swap at a time to further reduce/stop the progression.

Quick Examples

Things like the position of your head when you read. Can you prop the book up? If you work on a laptop that is lower than your direct gaze, can you change your setup? Do you have an infant or small child you are looking down at while feeding? Can you use supportive pillows or a chair that helps you prop your arm? Pay attention to repetitive Sports or anything being done repeatedly.

An Action Step

Take 1 day to notice how often and when your head is tilted down. Awareness is 90% of the solution. Once you are aware, it’ll be simple to brainstorm the ways to protect your neck.

Making the effort to slow and halt the progression of the Neck Hump with simple swaps of the biggest offenders you notice during your day will provide a huge boost to the effectiveness and efficiency of the exercises we will use to reposition the upper back and neck region.

One FOCUS, 1 Micro Decision at a Time

Don’t try to change everything at once. Choose an item or two to focus on. You will see that over time you’ll catch yourself more and more readjusting your head position.

The relief you provide your neck by catching yourself and adjusting your habit will add up. Every positive Self Care Micro Decision adds up.

Micro Decisions are the KEY to achieving all our self care goals. Unwinding a Neck Hump included

Another huge win is that the efforts you put into unwinding your Neck Hump will be long-lasting.

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Muscle Groups Most Responsible for Neck Hump Position

First Muscle on this list: The Diaphragm

What we need to do first is reverse the muscle tension in the neck and shoulder region and retrain the stress loop run by our nervous system’s Vagus nerve. The very first step is:

Train This 1 Muscle First & Re-balance the Stress Loop; It is SIMPLE.

Unlocking the muscle tension that develops from our postural habits is what today’s exercises will do. To prime the muscles so we can reposition them with the exercises, we layer on two things.

1. We Learn How to Train This 1 Muscle First

The Diaphragm.

Neck Hump. To unwind a dowagers hump we are dependent on strengthening the diaphragm

Training your diaphragm improves many chronic issues that are related to posture. Training your diaphragm FIRST is the KEY to successfully unwinding a dowager’s hump

Most of us never learned that the diaphragm is a muscle we should train!!! Let alone how to go about training it.

I go into detail of:

  • WHAT your Diaphragm is.
  • Where it is.
  • HOW to Train it.

That’s where Post 2 FIX a Neck Hump takes us next. It is too big of a topic on its own to squeeze into a paragraph here.

To Train Your Diaphragm Muscle, We use 2 different breathing techniques.

  • The first breathing technique rebalances the stress loop.
  • And the second physically trains the diaphragm muscle.

Both help to accomplish: Muscle Tension Reduction and Rebalancing Our Stress Loop.

Once you have today’s exercise positions and actions down, Post 2 FIx Neck Hump will show you how to layer on the breathing techniques to start training your diaphragm muscle.

We are going in the order that helps each additional action unwind a neck hump more efficiently and effectively. This is another example of leveraging the way our body is set up to work and layering on KEY actionsin the order– that will add up to results. About page.

Post 2 of: To Fix a Neck Hump

Train This 1 Muscle First! A Neck Hump is an indication that the Muscle – Skeletal System is out of balance. Train this 1 Muscle FIRST for exponential RESULTS!

Feel better, Look Better, LIVE better…The Simple Self Care Lifestyle

Reverse Excess Muscle Tension & Strengthen

Dowagers Hump Focused Muscle Group 2

2. Next Focused Action 2 – training your spine’s tiny muscles….you won’t believe how much these little guys contribute to your posture. We need to unlock the excess tension they hold onto so we can then strengthen them in a balanced way.

Neck Hump also called dowagers hump. Arrows pointing to the little spinal muscles

These little guys work very hard to protect the spine. We gain the mobility we need to strengthen them by first reducing the chronic tension they hold. (Accomplished by today’s positioning and exercises and then in Post 2 of Fix Neck Hump)

The position itself is exercise.

The way we strengthen them (always in a balanced way) is with our constant attention to our spine’s tall position. Maintaining our spine to sit Tall, Tall, Tall during the ENTIRE routine is challenging them. The position itself is exercise.

As they get stronger, we incrementally increase from 2 1/2 min upwards to the full 20-minute routine.

All routine videos 2 1/2 min through the full 20 Min Posture Routine are available to you here on the Video Topics page. Choose the Posture routines Seated category.

Tension reduction and balanced strengthening using very specific positioning and movement can provide wonderful relief to most of us who carry chronic stress in our necks.

The tiny muscles can increase their balanced strength and ability to protect the area between the vertebrae where our nerves pass through by elongating the duration we maintain our posture as well as with weights.

Dowagers Hump Focused Muscle Groups 3

3. As you work on your tiny deep muscles to release excess tension, you will want to help support their new position and mobility by working the next layer above them.

As we build up our exercise time, we can also slowly layer on more and more challenges. One example is we can add small hand weights (I add hand weights in the 5 1/2 min version for you to see.)

Neck Hump neck muscles work hard when your head is tipped forward

Focusing Our Exercise on Muscle Groups that Support the First Phase of Unwinding Our Dowagers Hump.

  1. Our Diaphragm Muscle Post 2 shows you how to do that.
  2. Tiny and Deep Neck Muscles. (Today’s 2 1/2 min routine)
  3. Rhomboid Muscles: Attach from Shoulder Blades to Spine (5 1/2 Min Routine)

2 1/2 & 5 1/2 Min Routines

The routine 2 1/2 min and 5 1/2 min routines are done in an armless chair. As we progress, the routines continue to start in the chair and then add on more positions that progressively challenge as well as incorporate more postural muscles.

Neck Hump Exercises are done in a chair

Video Instruction for Positioning, then the 2 1/2 Min Routine at the End

Starting at Minute 01:05, we walk through Positioning (about 4 minutes). Approx minute 6, is the 2 1/2 min routine. You can give it a try immediately without switching videos.

It is straightforward and simple, but sometimes not so easy to maintain the tall positioning throughout the 21/2 minutes. The Position is ALSO the EXERCISE.

Knowing HOW to optimally position your spine makes ALL the difference.

When you maintain the TALL sitting position, the Ab and Arm actions are able to gently reduce tension in all the muscles that run up and down your spine.

While holding the position simultaneously strengthens the tiny spinal muscles that are holding you upright.

The Breathing technique (Post 2 FIx Neck Hump) Train your Spines number 1 stabilizer! Looks SIMPLE. Done with all the techniques in place, not so easy 😁 BUT WORTH IT!

Plus, when it is too easy, there’s a simple way to up the challenge by increasing hand and ankle weights. This routine works wonders lifelong. AND IS AMAZING all throughout pregnancy.

2 1/2 Minute Routine Video

Once you have the full 2 1/2 minutes down, you’ll be ready for the 5 1/2 minute routine.

This jump in the length of time really challenges the tiny spine muscles again, so if you were using weights in the 2 1/2 min routine, you should try this routine a few times without them. Or put them down if you are part way in and form begins to get sloppy.

Plus, in the 5 1/2 minute version, we layer on another group of muscles that act on the spine in the neck hump region.

Adding More Muscles with the 5 1/2 Minute Routine

After a few days, you may find that you are ready for the 5 1/2-minute routine. It adds muscles called Rhomboids.

Dowager's Hump, Neck Hump. Muscle Group to strengthen. The Rhomboids illustration shows attachment to scapula and spine

READY!?! Instruction & Routine Here for You again:

Same Instructions, a different Start point. Start 05:13

I cued the video to start at 05:13, but if it doesn’t, you can scroll forward.

Making the Next Steps Simple

After feeling great with the 2 1/2 then 5 1/2 minutes, you can build up to a 15-minute AND then the Full 20 Minute Posture Routine. All the videos are on the Video Topics Page under Seated Posture Routines for easy access.

The Popular AB Exercise to AVOID (at least for now).

I think you will know right away why you should avoid it by just looking at the picture.

Dowagers Hump. Neck Hump. Avoid this exercise Skeleton doing a sit up a DO NOT DO red symbol across it. DO not do it promotes neck humps

The Famous AB crunch.

While the AB crunch may serve a specific population well, using our bodies to do the renowned crunch when we have a Neck Hump can work against fixing it.

When the goal is to unwind the curving of our spine — curling or rounding the upper back and neck forward- especially repeatedly will encourage forward neck positioning.

This exercise will also make it much more challenging to train your diaphragm, especially if it is weak.

The action of this ab exercise will force the diaphragm downward, and as we learned in Neck/Back Tension and Pain- Train this 1 Muscle, our spine stability will suffer, including our neck region.

This AB exercise can also be irritating to those with disc issues. And can exacerbate pelvic floor issues.

Clients were often amazed that their neck /back pain found immediate relief after discontinuing this exercise.

There are many more effective ab exercise options.

For instance, the exercise highlighted in How to Get Rid of a Belly Pooch

woman looking down at her belly pooch wondering how to fix it

Belly Pooch

Today’s post shares the # 1 lower ab exercise that targets your pooch. It is the most effective and efficient exercise when it comes to improving lower ab tone

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To be clear, I’m not labeling the ab crunch as a lousy exercise — there is typical ‘no bad exercise’ when the body is positioned well and the exercise is executed correctly.

But the AB crunch is the wrong exercise if you are working to eliminate a Dowagers hump (Neck hump).

We always want to leverage the way our body works, then leverage and layer from there to achieve our goal. The AB crunch does not fit into that equation.

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To Fix a Dowagers Hump, the First Focused Actions are to:

1. Use Today’s Tip to slow the Neck Hump from progressing.

2. Exercise the tiny deep spinal muscles (today’s exercises positioning). Simultaneously strengthen the upper back muscles that help protect and reposition your upper spine (also one of today’s exercises)

3. AVOID the MOST Popular AB exercise until your Neck Hump is fixed.

4. Strengthen Your Body’s #1 Spine Stabilizing Muscle: The Diaphragm (Post 2).

After 30 days, I continue to support your goal of unwinding your neck hump with the routine that will take everything you have accomplished to the next level.

It is the 90 Days 5 Simple Exercises Series. We layer on exercising your body’s superficial muscles. All the while, you are feeling better, looking better, and incrementally, simultaneously achieving the 1 Goal of Optimizing Our Biological Terrain. The 1 Goal helps every other part of our lives.

Tracking can be motivating

A downloadable tracking sheet with suggested advancement of the routines.

Fixing a Neck Hump is More Than Just a Post Series.

Fixing a Neck Hump 2 Post series is more than just a couple of posts. It’s a Program for You. A Program that helps you establish the best Muscle- Skeletal Foundation for all other Motion in your life.

After you achieve working up from today’s 2 1/2 min routine to the Full 20-minute routine, you’ll be ready to advance to the bigger postural muscles. For that, I’ve created the 90 Days 5 Simple Exercises Series for you.

Advancing

The 90 Days 5 Simple Exercises will layer on the superficial muscles that help maintain your gains and take you to the next level.

Training Your Spine’s Superficial Postural Muscles.

That just means training your big muscles on top of the deeper ones we initially focus on.

The exercises will build on what you have achieved, plus they will support and help to protect the first three layers you have strengthened. (90 Days 5 Simple Exercises Series)

Neck hump: Superficial Muscles Work Out to Improve Posture

The 90 Days 5 Simple Exercises Series can be dripped to you each week. This is something I highly suggest.

The weekly setup helps you stay focused, on track, and progressing. But you can access all the videos at any time as well using the Video Topics Page. This time choose the 5 Daily Exercises Strength/Balance category.

Be sure to WAIT to sign up for it to drip because once you subscribe to it- it’ll begin its drip to your inbox immediately.

When You are ready

Come back and sign up here when you are ready:

90 Days 5 Simple Exercises

I’m ready to start!
Todays Simple Self Care Tip

Exponential Results.

Fix a Neck Hump Sets You Up to Focus on the Actions that’ll Reduce Tension and Layer on Balanced Muscle Work using  — 2 1/2 minutes working up to the Full 20-minute Routine.

After 30 days of the Full Routine, everything is ready for you to advance into working the superficial postural muscles. You’ll advance to the 90 Day 5 Simple Exercises with— step-by-step instructions and weekly routines.

We are very focused on specific exercises, but it may very well be that your posture exercises bring unexpected, exponential results!

What Kind Of Exponential Results?

Research shows improving posture simultaneously improves your overall quality of life. How so?

It is well documented that getting rid of your neck hump – rebalancing your posture improves self-confidence and satisfaction with the way you look.

This in itself is a nice payoff, but there is more!

  • Neck/Shoulder/Back Tension is diminished or even eliminated.
Dowagers Hump can cause aches and pains all up and down the spine
  • Blood pressure is positively impacted.
  • Fewer injuries. This is due to better mobility & balance.
  • Reduced Aches and Pains in joints like knees and hips.
neck hump Fix a Dowager's Hump and Improve Joints
  • Improved Digestion, Less Reflux, and Optimized Transit Time. (Less constipation)
Neck Hump Exercises that Improve Your Posture Improve Your Digestion and Bowels
  • Improvement of mood,
  • Respiratory function improves — that’s a big one…and much more

Ready to jump in!

I highly encourage taking a moment to do the Head to Toe Tracking.

You fill it out, and the info is emailed to you, so you have a document of your starting point.

90 days later, when you repeat the Head to Toe Tracking, you may be pleasantly surprised at how working on your neck hump has benefitted your body.

Head to Toe. Back view of Woman Stretching Words Head to Toe.

A few subscribers share their initial results here.

Todays Simple Self Care Tip

RE-CAP:

To fix a dowager’s hump, we focus on the actions:

1. Reduce daily activities that have us tilting our heads down.

2. Strengthen The Body’s #1 Spine Stabilizing Muscle: The Diaphragm

3. Exercise the deep spinal muscles. (2 1/2 Min thru 20 min Routines)

4. Add on strengthening the Rhomboid muscles. (5 1/2 through 20 min Routines)

Then we can advance to layering on superficial muscle work that will support and protect the first three layers already strengthened. (The 90 Days 5 Simple Exercises Series)

  • The one popular exercise to AVOID the abdominal crunch.

I hope you enjoy the benefits of weaving in today’s SIMPLE FOCUSED ACTIONS and TIPs, helping you to fix your neck hump and simultaneously developing great posture along the way!

References for you to explore are listed for you below.

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Linked references for you:

Roghani, Tayebeh et al. “Age-related hyperkyphosis: update of its potential causes and clinical impacts-narrative review.” Aging clinical and experimental research vol. 29,4 (2017): 567–577. doi:10.1007/s40520–016–0617–3

Cleveland Clinic, “Kyphosis: Symptoms, Types, Treatments.” Kyphosis. November 6, 2020. https://my.clevelandclinic.org.

Katzman, Wendy B et al. “Age-related hyperkyphosis: its causes, consequences, and management.” The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy vol. 40,6 (2010): 352–60. doi:10.2519/jospt.2010.3099

Katzman, W B et al. “Targeted spine strengthening exercise and posture training program to reduce hyperkyphosis in older adults: results from the study of hyperkyphosis, exercise, and function (SHEAF) randomized controlled trial.” Osteoporosis international : a journal established as result of cooperation between the European Foundation for Osteoporosis and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of the USA vol. 28,10 (2017): 2831–2841. doi:10.1007/s00198–017–4109-x

references continued

Katzman WB, Parimi N, Gladin A, Wong S, Lane NE. Long-Term Efficacy of Treatment Effects After a Kyphosis Exercise and Posture Training Intervention in Older Community-Dwelling Adults: A Cohort Study. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2020 Aug 11:10.1519/JPT.0000000000000262. doi: 10.1519/JPT.0000000000000262. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32796410; PMCID: PMC7876164.

Kasukawa, Yuji et al. “Age-related changes in muscle strength and spinal kyphosis angles in an elderly Japanese population.” Clinical interventions in aging vol. 12 413–420. 20 Feb. 2017, doi:10.2147/CIA.S113352

Fujitani R, Jiroumaru T, Noguchi S, et al. Effect of low back pain on the muscles controlling the sitting posture Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2021 Mar;33(3):295–298.

references continued

Bordoni B, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Head and Neck, Scalenus Muscle. [Updated 2021 Feb 7]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519058/

Thau L, Gandhi J, Sharma S. Physiology, Cortisol. [Updated 2021 Feb 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:

Publishing, H. (2021, February 15). 3 surprising risks of poor posture. Retrieved April 07, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/3-surprising-risks-of-poor-posture

references continued

Zafar, Hamayun et al. “Effect of Different Head-Neck Postures on the Respiratory Function in Healthy Males.” BioMed research international vol. 2018 4518269. 12 Jul. 2018, doi:10.1155/2018/4518269

Hansraj KK. Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surg Technol Int. 2014 Nov;25:277-9. PMID: 25393825.

“Alteration of head and neck positions can have an immediate negative impact on respiratory function.”

Kim, DeokJu et al. “Effect of an exercise program for posture correction on musculoskeletal pain.” Journal of physical therapy science vol. 27,6 (2015): 1791–4. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.1791

Ludwig, Oliver et al. “Targeted Athletic Training Improves the Neuromuscular Performance in Terms of Body Posture From Adolescence to Adulthood — Long-Term Study Over 6 Years.” Frontiers in physiology vol. 9 1620. 27 Nov. 2018, doi:10.3389/fphys.2018.01620