Fix a Neck Hump. Buffalo Neck, Dowagers Hump…
4 SIMPLE Focused Actions. 1 Tip to use during the day AND the popular ab exercise you should AVOID when you want to fix a Dowager’s hump
This is post 1 of 2 on How to FIX a Neck Hump, also called a Dowager’s Hump or Buffalo Hump.
Link to 🔗 Post 2: To Fix a Neck Hump Train This 1 Muscle FIRST!
This week- Layering in micro decisions revolving around:
👉🏼 4 SIMPLE Focused Actions including
- Ex Routine Instruction video
- and a 2 1/2 min Ex video
👉🏼 The Neck Hump prevention TIP and
👉🏼 Eliminating the popular ab exercise that can negatively impact our neck posture.
Weaving the above into your lifestyle will help you to:
- fix your neck hump (dowager’s hump, buffalo neck)
- improve your overall posture and all the positive physiological benefits improved posture brings.
- increase mobility and balance. Both KEY factors when it comes to improving our overall health span.
Note: I’ve placed the dowager’s hump instruction video with a 2 1/2 minute daily routine below. It includes Focused Actions 1, 2, and 3.
Focused Action 1
1. Train your spine’s most important stabilizing muscle. Your Diaphragm.
Most of us never learned that the diaphragm is a muscle we should train!!! Let alone how to go about training it.
Training your diaphragm is KEY to unwinding your dowager’s hump.
I share both the how and why training your diaphragm improves many chronic issues and much more in multiple Youtube videos as well as the 52 Weeks of Self Care email course – dripped to you each Sunday (FREE)
In the Instruction video below, I share the positioning and exercise to get you started training your diaphragm. Next is focused on Action 2.
Focused Action 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.
These little guys work very hard to protect our spine. We gain mobility when we reduce the chronic tension these muscles hold and then strengthen them. This provides wonderful relief to most who carry chronic stress in their neck.
The reduced muscle tension and increased mobility offer us the pathway to add Focused Action 3.
Focused Action 3
3. As you work on your tiny deep muscles, you will want to help support their new position and mobility by supporting them.
This can be done in the upper back region by strengthening the muscles above them.
Specifically, the muscle that attaches to your shoulder blades across to your spine. (Rhomboid muscle)
I show you how to use all 3 Focused Actions using SIMPLE chair exercises combined with a specific breathing technique.
- instruction, and
- exercise routine (of varying lengths)
are available to you in a bunch of videos (and soon-to-be posts).
If you are new here and want to jump into training your:
- Diaphragm muscle
- Erectae Spinae muscles and
- Rhomboids today
I recommend starting with this instructional video.
It includes a 2.5-minute training routine at the end of it:
Focused Action 4
4. Training your spine’s superficial postural muscles.
That just means training your big muscles on top of the deeper ones we initially focus on.
You can feel these muscles when you touch anywhere on your body.
Focused Action 4 is what we focus on in the 90 Days 5 SIMPLE Exercises Series.
This series slowly and progressively works on our bigger postural muscles. By the end, you have a postural routine that works in under 15 minutes.
Once you have the chair routine under your belt for a good 30 days and you are feeling a difference, come back and sign up for the 90☀️ Day 5 🖐🏼 Simple Exercises Series.
It will be dripped to your email each Sunday. ✨(If you’re doing the 52 Weeks of Self Care Series, it is included)
The 4 Focused Actions — layered on — step-by-step will get you the results you are looking for.
PLUS here’s an AMAZING side effect of your efforts.
Research shows improving posture simultaneously improves your overall quality of life.
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.
- Blood pressure is positively impacted.
- Fewer injuries. This is due to better mobility & balance.
- Reduced Aches and Pains in joints like knees and hips.
- Improved Digestion, Less reflux, and Optimized Transit time. (Less constipation)
- Improvement of mood,
- Respiratory function improves — that’s a big one…and much more
If you want to jump in and get going toward achieving your results, 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.
A few subscribers share their initial results here.
Now the 1 tip that will improve your Neck Hump immediately.
Lift your electronics up. 💪🏻
Looking at the picture above, you can see how just a mere 15 degrees of head pitch increases the weight on the neck up to 27 lbs. That’s a lot!
Think of Your Head as the weight of a bowling ball.
That’s what your body experiences in Picture 1. Your head in good posture is the weight of an 8-12lbs!
A slight drop in your head places tremendous stress on your neck muscles.
A slight drop forward in Picture 2 is 27 lbs!
Now, if I asked any client of mine to carry 2: 12–14 pound bowling balls around all day, especially at the end of a lifted arm — they’d be like, are you nuts, mo? That’ll hurt!
But what about your poor neck? It is handling that amount of weight all day long.
Lifting your electronics will be a huge help when it comes to fixing your hump.
Unfortunately, I fear most of us are consistently at the 40 to 60 pounds of stress and weight that our neck muscles must counteract.
The 1 Tip to use during the day
Lift Your Electronics UP to your eye level.
Give your arms a workout and take the stress off your neck.
If you walk away today and incorporate this one Simple Self Care tip you’ll have positively impacted your spine for the rest of your life.
Teach it to your kids too; actually, teach it to everyone you know!
Now for the popular AB exercise to AVOID.
I think you will know right away why you should avoid it by just looking at the picture.
The famous ab crunch.
While it may serve a specific population well, using our body to do the renowned crunch can work against fixing a neck hump.
When the goal is to unwind the curving of our spine — curling or rounding the upper back forward repeatedly will encourage forward 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.
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
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 dowager’s hump (Neck hump).
We always want to leverage the way your body works AT the place it is, then layer and build from there to achieve your goal.
To fix a dowager’s hump, the first 4 Focused actions are to:
1. Strengthen Your Body’s #1 Spine Stabilizing Muscle: The Diaphragm
2. Exercise the tiny deep spinal muscles
3. Simultaneously strengthen the Rhomboid muscles that will protect your upper spine
4. Layer on working the superficial muscle work that will support and protect the first three layers you have strengthened.
- Your TIP to use throughout the day: Hold your electronics UP to eye level.
- 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!
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
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.
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
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
“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