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Dowagers hump can lead to an earlier death, study shows

Posted by in Neck Pain Causes, Neck Pain Essentials |

In a study published in the May 19 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that older white women with both vertebral fractures and hyperkyphosis had an elevated risk for earlier death. The finding was independent of other factors that included age and underlying spinal osteoporosis.

Women who had only hyperkyphosis( rounded thoracic spine), without vertebral fractures, did not show an increased risk for premature death.

Hyperkyphosis is caused by habitual poor posture and degenerative diseases of the muscles and intervertebral discs and is further worsened by osteopenia or osteoporosis.

“Just being bent forward may be an important clinical finding that should serve as a trigger to seek medical evaluation for possible spinal osteoporosis, as vertebral fractures more often than not are a silent disease,” said Dr. Deborah Kado, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s primary investigator. “We demonstrated that having this age-related postural change is not a good thing. It could mean you’re likely to die sooner.”

The researchers did the study on 610 women, age 67 to 93, from a cohort of 9,704 participants in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures.
Adjusting for age, as well as osteoporosis-related factors such as low bone density, moderate and severe vertebral fractures, and the number of prevalent vertebral fractures, the researchers found that women with previous vertebral fractures and increasing degrees of spinal curvature were at increased mortality risk from the spinal condition, regardless of age, smoking, spinal bone-mineral density, or the number and severity of their spinal fractures.

These study findings provide evidence that it is not just vertebral fracture alone but the associated increased spinal curvature that may be most predictive of adverse health outcomes. Other studies linking hyperkyphosis to poor health, such as impaired physical function, increased fall risk, fractures and mortality, have been unable to exclude the possibility that vertebral fractures alone were the underlying explanation for the findings.

I have written before that dowagers hump is completely avoidable. It is a postural problem that is worsened by ostoporosis. If you have a dowagers hump you need to do therapeutic exercises to avoid worsening your condition and also start adjusting your posture in everything that you do

How is your posture right now?

A dowagers hump cure?

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A Dowager’s Hump Cure?

Posted by in Neck Pain Causes, Neck Pain Essentials |

A dowager’s hump is a rounding of the upper back, sometimes known as an excessive kyphosis. It is strongly associated with osteoporosis or osteopenia. There are two things that you must do to help this condition from getting worse. Oh and by the way, A dowager’s hump is completely avoidable.

But firstly, Let’s have a quick look at a few facts.

Osteopenia is a narrowing of the bones whereas osteoporosis is where the bones have become porous.  Osteoporosis is also avoidable and contrary to popular opinion, is not a calcium deficiency due to lack of calcium intake, it’s a calcium deficiency due to lack of calcium absorption.

Furthermore, milk is not a good source of calcium because it is not absorbed easily by the body. It is not necessary to drink milk for healthy bones. When was the last time you saw a gorilla slipping down to the shops for a pint of milk?

There are much better foods that you can eat that are absorbed readily by the body such as certain nuts and green leafy vegetables. Another thing, men are at risk of getting osteoporosis- this is not a ‘woman’s disease’. You may have seen people with dowager’s humps. They tend to affect women over 50 and you will see a rounding of the upper back, and perhaps a fatty hump at the base of the neck. The reason is that due to poor posture and weak bones due to either osteoporosis or osteopenia,  the thoracic vertebrae start to collapse and become wedge shaped at the front.

I have spoken about poor posture in regards to neck pain and its damaging effects on lower back, rotator cuffs, hips, upper backs and increased risk of degenerative joint disease and here we see it again. Your posture is key!

If you spend your time sitting and standing in a slouched position you round your whole spine. This puts your neck in a forward posture, your chin juts out, this is known as the forward head posture. It is the major cause of neck pain. It  also happens to be the major cause of your dowagers hump! If you think about it-osteoporosis doesn’t make your vertebrae wedge shaped at the front causing your neck to round, your posture does. The osteoporosis just makes the problem worse due to the weakness in your vertebrae.

When you sit ‘tall’ in correct posture you align the spine vertically so that your spinal curves are in correct position. It is only then that the forces on your vertebrae are evenly distributed. The spine is stacked one on top of the other very much like you stack blocks one on top of each other.

So sitting tall and standing tall you place your spine in good position, the muscles are now engaged, which makes them stronger  whilst you retain good posture . The laws of  gravity are now pushing down through the centre of each of your vertebrae not down through one side.

As soon as you start to slouch, whether it be standing or sitting you then put your vertebrae into flexed positions. (They are all tipping forward.) As you continue to sit and stand like this your spine starts to wear down especially so if you suffer from osteoporosis or osteopenia. The vertebrae then eventually collapse where there is excessive weight-the front portions of your vertebrae. You no longer have nice block shaped vertebrae, now you have wedges. This is an avoidable condition through correcting both your diet and posture.

Imagine the tires on your car. If they are badly aligned they will wear unevenly. One side of the tire will be fine whilst the other side takes all of the weight of the car and gets worn down very quickly. Iif you left it long enough it would collapse which is excatly what happens to your vertebrae!

The major difference is that you can get a new set of tires but not a new set of vertebrae.

If you  have a dowagers hump it is essential that you  do corrective exercises to retrain your muscles. Prolonged forward head posture creates major muscular imbalances and these MUST be addressed. You need to stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak long ones.

Moreover, If you are doing exercises like bringing your knees to your chest, pulling your arms across your chest to stretch the backs of your shoulders and others like this you are worsening your problem! You are putting more pressure on your weakened vertebrae and stretching your already overstretched muscles.

If you want to know more check out my DVD.

 Treat your own neck pain DVD OUT NOW

It has everything you need in order to treat and remove the causes of your dowagers hump. It shows you how to correct your posture and the corrective exercises to help your dowagers hump.

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