Tag: posture

how to treat hunchback

How to treat hunchback (and what causes it to begin with)

You may know it as a “Dowager’s Hump”…or simply hunchback. You may think it only affects senior citizens. The reality is that hunchback, or hyperkyphosis as it is professionally called, is affecting more and more people of varying ages. I often get asked about how to treat hunchback and if there is anything that can be done to prevent it.


Understanding hyperkyphosis (hunchback)

Physicians refer to the chronic, forward-leaning posture as hyperkyphosis. This condition is characterized by a rounding of the upper spine into a C-shaped curvature. If you have poor posture, over time you can develop an abnormal curve of the upper thoracic vertebrae and a sometimes a mass of tissue at the lower part of your neck. Typically, you have a head forward posture and loss of the normal cervical curve.

The severity of the condition can vary as can the symptoms, including:

  • rounded shoulders or a hump on the back
  • back or neck pain or stiffness
  • feeling of head being too heavy or fatigued muscles in the back or neck
  • tension headaches

Both men and women are susceptible, with an increased occurrence during middle-age.


What Causes Hunchback

how to treat hunchbackBad posture is the most common cause. You’ve heard me talk about posture before and how much it impacts your health. With the increased use of smartphones, tablets and laptops, many people are in a slouched head forward position for hours a day, not to mention if their desktop computer is not set up ergonomically correct.

With a hunchback condition, your head is jutting forward, putting a lot of stress on the base of your neck. How much stress? Well, for every inch your head protrudes forward from its normal alignment, an extra 10 pounds of force is placed on your neck! Studies show that a loss of cervical curve as well as hyperkyphosis can reduce conductivity of the spinal cord as well as reduce lung capacity!

Poor posture can also develop from:

  • slouching or hunching, such as at a computer or in front of a TV
  • leaning back in chairs
  • carrying heavy loads on your back, such as a backpack full of books

If you develop hunchback from poor posture, the condition can often be corrected through exercise and practicing good posture. Some individuals develop more severe hyperkyphosis as a result of:

  • Compression fractures/osteoporosis
  • Congenital problem
  • Loss of postural muscle tone with aging – it’s estimated that 20 to 40 percent of older adults have hyperkyphosis.

Maintaining good posture is the best way for you to prevent hunchback. Core-strengthening exercises can be beneficial too.


Stretches to treat hunchback

Depending on your age and the severity, you can improve or reverse your hunchback. The key is to strengthen the upper back muscles as well to reduce the head forward posture and restore the cervical curve. Increasing muscle tone helps pull back the shoulders and put the head back on top of the shoulders. Just understand that even with practicing good posture and doing specific exercises, hunchback won’t go away overnight. It may take months of effort. And waiting too late to deal with it could mean that you’ll never completely get rid of it.

These exercises are excellent for improving your condition…but they are great preventatives too!


Chin tuck

Hold your head level, tuck your chin slightly and bring your head back directly over your shoulders (like you are a cobra about to strike). This is not an up or down movement, it’s straight back, so your nose should not tip down but stay level. You can do this exercise just about anywhere to help with your posture. Do chin tucks in sets of ten, rest and repeat.


Upper back stretch

Face a wall and place your hands flat against it above your head. Keeping your neck neutral, sink down into the stretch, being sure not to let your head drop as you’re doing this stretch. Keep your ears in line with your shoulders. After about 10-20 seconds, sink further into the stretch. Repeat several times.


Wall pushups

Again, face a wall with your hands head-level and shoulder width apart. Do a traditional push-up, making sure not to let your chin drop. You’ll feel the scapula in your back come together as you lean towards the wall. Do pushups in sets up ten, take a break, then do another set.


Finally, as an augment to exercises, we highly recommend this wedge, which we sell in our office. The Apex Premium with Heat counteracts forward head posture to help relieve headaches and neck pain. The wedge not only provides better support but also moist heat therapy. Patients rave about it! It’s well worth the $35 investment.

If you’d like some help getting started with treating hunchback at home or wonder if chiropractic treatments can aid the reversal (they can), please reach out and make an appointment to meet with myself or Dr. A.

Dr. Sharman



chiropractic for headaches

Can Headaches Be Helped With Chiropractic Care?

Do you ever get headaches? If so, you’re not alone.

Nine out of ten people get headaches of some variety….frequent, infrequent, chronic, migraine and sadly, some completely debilitating. It’s a very common ailment.

People try lots of things to rid themselves of headaches, including taking various medications, lying down and simply powering through them until they go away. I’ve had patients ask me if chiropractic care can help their headaches – thankfully, the answer is YES!

But before I explain how, let’s start by talking about the common triggers for headaches.


What’s Causing Your Headache

Headaches can be caused or triggered by the environment, stress…even the foods you eat.

Environmental triggers can vary. Noises, lights, smells can all create conditions ripe for headaches to develop. Be aware of these factors when you get headaches and see if you can pinpoint your triggers (it will help you avoid them in the future).

Stress is known to create many health ailments in the body – so minimizing your stress levels by using relaxation techniques can help. Yoga, meditation and exercise are all proven ways people successfully keep their stress at bay.

Muscle tension is a big contributor to headaches these days – especially with how sedentary people are these days. Spending hours in front of a computer screen, fixed in one position and having poor posture can increase joint irritation and muscle tension, causing head and neck aches.

Certain foods, insomnia, dehydration, teeth-clenching and blood sugar changes are also headache contributors. Even excessive exercise can cause a headache! 95 percent of headaches can be traced back to some kind of trigger. Only 5 percent are warning signs of some other physical problem. So knowing your triggers and avoiding them at all costs is the best preventative.


How Chiropractic Care Can Help

The research supports chiropractic care, in particular, for certain types of headaches. A 2011 JMPT study found that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches.

Migraine headaches are now considered a neurological disease, which results in a severe throbbing recurring pain, usually on one side of the head. A headache can be accompanied by visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.

Cervicogenic headaches, for those unfamiliar with the term, result in “referred pain” or pain perceived as occurring in a part of the body other than its true source. A cervicogenic headache is a secondary headache caused by another illness or physical issue. Its cause is a disorder of the cervical spine and the bony structures or soft tissues of the neck.

Keep in mind that chiropractic care is beneficial for prevention of headache episodes rather than the alleviation of symptoms once a chronic episode has begun.

When I work with patients, I am concerned with helping to correct any neuromusculoskeletal sources of a headache. This includes nerves, muscles and bones of the body. I perform a spinal exam to assess whether chiropractic care could alleviate the pain. I look for whether or not the headache may be caused, or aggravated by any misaligned vertebrae in the spine (subluxation) as that could be creating undue nerve interference.

If I determine that chiropractic care will help, I’ll recommend it. The type of spinal manipulation, frequency of manipulations and duration of treatment can vary. Any reputable chiropractor will take into consideration guidelines, his/her clinical experience and evidence-based findings.

The evidence for using spinal manipulation to relieve pain for patients with a tension-type headache remains questionable. While chiropractic care may help, we don’t have enough evidence to say this definitively.


Other Things Your Chiropractor May Recommend

As I mentioned earlier, the causes of headaches are varied – and by taking proactive steps, you may avoid having them altogether! I often provide my patients with nutritional advice and recommend dietary changes and the addition of B complex vitamins. As I’ve written about before, posture is a big part of avoiding all kinds of pain in the body – and focusing on improvements to posture and utilizing ergonomic supports can help stave off certain types of headaches. I often recommend relaxation and/or exercise as a lifestyle change to reduce the frequency of headaches my patients’ experience. Exercise, in particular, can stimulate the circulation of blood to the head and help to maintain neuromusculoskeletal flexibility.

RELATED: What Vitamins Should I Take – Getting the Essentials


Final Thoughts

Non-drug treatments may be the first choice for many patients – especially if they have a poor tolerance to medications, have experienced side effects or simply aren’t getting any relief from pharmacology. As well, if a patient is pregnant, nursing or simply has an aversion to medication, spinal manipulations from a licensed chiropractor may be a good option.

If you think you might benefit from chiropractic care – let me know! My staff can schedule an appointment where we can do a thorough exam and decide if chiropractic care may help with your headaches.

Dr. Sharman