What Happens If You Leave Your Neck Hump Untreated?
What happens if a neck hump is left untreated? If left, a neck hump can become a major issue. When your head sits further forward on your spine than was anatomically intended to your body must find a way to cope with all this extra load placed on the neck and it’s supporting structures. A forward sitting head where it is positioned for extended periods of the day, or permanently forward of the centre of gravity relies more heavily on soft tissues rather than design to help keep in upright. Hence the muscles which support the neck and head are overworked and with this positional change muscles are engaged to help support the head that wouldn’t normally play such a role in providing constant support. As the head moves further forward and the chin moves down towards the rib cage, the body will utilize new muscles that are not normally used for supporting the weight of the head, neck and shoulder area to balance the head. Which in turn can make all these overworked muscles painful and sore from the constant load and strain being placed on them.
Sustained forward head posture ultimately may lead to a dowager’s hump formation and left untreated may result in spinal degeneration, conditions like osteoarthritis, disc bulges and spinal nerve impingement. All of this may cause neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches. Cosmetically a neck hump can give the appearance of a lack of a neck or a “squashed neck” look and most individuals with a dowager’s hump are quite self conscious regarding its visual appearance and wish it gone.
Treating A Neck Hump
The presence of a “dowager’s hump” is characterized by forward head posture with a loss of the natural spinal curve in the neck. This is accompanied by an enlarged prominence with forward rounding at the base of the neck and the presence of fatty deposit tissue all contributing to that undesirable neck hump appearance. The goal when treating a dowager’s hump is focused around the aim of correcting the individuals posture, helping realign the spine into a more anatomically normal position. Ultimately, reversing the signs of the hump at the base of the neck would in some situations be the goal, in other situations stopping further formation of the hump is the treatment aim. The prevention and treatment of a dowager’s hump tends to go hand-in-hand with having good posture. The use of regular appropriate physical exercise, stretching and even manual therapy from a physiotherapist can definitely help, however most important is ensuring the individual works to attempt to improve and obtain good posture being the key.
Help, I Have A Dowager’s Hump What Can I Do?
The old saying “a pinch of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a relevant saying with regard to managing any dowager’s hump. Preventing the formation of a hump is generally an easier task than trying fix one, once a dowager’s hump has sunk its teeth in, it can be a hard thing to change. It is still possible to help a neck hump that is already present, the first step towards this goal would be to see your physiotherapist and have an assessment of your posture and spine, this can help determine what is causing the hump and where to focus the attention and efforts.
Success around treating a dowager’s hump depends a lot around how long the “hump” has been present for and the resulting severity of posture change. Obviously the longer the neck hump has been present the more difficult it will prove to improve it. It is also important to understand that in no way can your posture be fixed over night. However with an appropriate tailored strategy and persistence over weeks and months there can be gradual improvements. Remembering the earlier you recognize change and the existence of any neck hump, the sooner treatment can begin and typically the more effective that, any treatment will be.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on How To Fix A Neck Hump should consult his or her physiotherapist, general practitioner or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.