The Dowager's Hump

Preventing & Dealing with Kyphosis

Hunchback. Dowager’s Hump. Kyphosis. There’s no shortage of icky names for this common spinal condition, which is a curving of the spine that creates the appearance of a hump. While osteoporosis and some other causes may have a hand in setting the stage for this issue, it’s likely that your body mechanics are to blame—kyphosis is overwhelmingly a postural issue. That’s actually pretty good news, because it means it’s almost always preventable. But (big but here)—that also means you have to be willing to do the work to prevent or improve it.

When every day is hump day

A hump doesn’t happen overnight—poor posture and stress cause the curving of the spine over time. It’s an accumulation of all those hours hunched over your phone, at your desk, squinting and leaning forward to read, combined with aging in general. Think about all the time spent on the computer, phone, and TV over the years—time probably spent in poor posture. Then consider that every inch your head is in front of your body, your body perceives an extra 10 pounds of weight. So if your head hovers 3 inches forward, that feels like an extra 30 pounds of weight on your spine. How many hours/days/years has your body been accommodating that kind of stress? Yikes. 

A look inside the hump

The hump is pretty amazing in a way—it’s the result of your body working to protect itself. Having perceived all that extra weight, your body begins to lay down fibrous material in layers of connective tissue, sending more and more material while the spine continues curving. Though it technically protects you, all this material is actually getting adhered as it interweaves with fat cells—meaning you’ll be getting stiff and achy as a tender, fatty pad grows. If you think you’re somewhere in the process of developing kyphosis or are already suffering with a hump, you need to take action to stop it from worsening.

How to prevent Dowager’s Hump

Guess what? You can stop or prevent a hump from growing or forming in the first place. But here’s the catch—it requires daily work and you have to change the posture and behaviors that accelerate it. The two things that make the biggest difference: being mindful of your posture at all times and staying active—keeping your back, core, and neck muscles strong and flexible. Any activity that does that will help you combat kyphosis. Spoiler alert: That includes MELTing! Just remember—a hump doesn’t happen overnight, and the key to addressing it is doing so consistently.

MELT protocol for Dowager’s Hump

The MELT Method can help an existing hump by hydrating neck and shoulder tissue. Aim for one or two of these moves every day for the first two weeks, and feel free to mix and match in your routine—you don’t have to do them all at once.

  • Soft Ball Hand Treatment
  • Upper Body Compression
  • Rebalance with Upper Body Length
  • Neck Release Sequence 

Also be sure to check out this MELT Map designed specifically for Dowager’s Hump, available through MELT On Demand.



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Here are some YouTube videos that can also help:

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