Dowager's Hump

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Dowager's Hump

Postby Zia2014 » Sat May 23, 2015 3:57 pm

Probably because of my terrible posture, I have suddenly (as in the last week) developed a rather big bulge in my back, not far down from my neck. It's not hard or soft really, and it makes me look like a humpback!

Does anyone else have this and what can I do about it? I am going to get a neck support thing, like they wear on planes. I have already seen two physios but as soon as I get home I forget how my posture should be when on the sofa, which is where I spend most of my time. I have adjusted my sleeping pillow, got a long one for behind my back/neck on the sofa, got a posture thing that I wear on my back to take my shoulders back - but I have nothing to tell me where my head should be,.

I look hideous with this lump and it's causing me even more pain, so I end up holding my head forward which is making it worse!

This is the final straw. I am having a complete meltdown and got some ADs yesterday because I am just having bad news after bad news at the moment.
Last edited by Zia2014 on Wed May 27, 2015 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby carolad » Sat May 23, 2015 9:29 pm

Sorry to hear you are having a hard time Zia :-(

The Alexender Technique is great for improving your posture - might bad worth trying x
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby bandj » Sun May 24, 2015 4:03 pm

You could try a horseshoe shaped neck pillow, I have one for the car and find it helps.

I hope you find something that helps soon.
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby Zia2014 » Sun May 24, 2015 10:13 pm

Thanks both. Carol, been doing similar but hasn't prevented this. Bandj where is yours from and does it hold your posture in the right way?
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby carolad » Mon May 25, 2015 9:32 am

Zia2014 wrote:Thanks both. Carol, been doing similar but hasn't prevented this. Bandj where is yours from and does it hold your posture in the right way?


Have you actually taken Alexander Technique lessons? It is one of those things that you can't actually learn by yourself, you need a qualified teacher to guide you. It is different from any other posture training because it isn't about 'holding' yourself in any position...instead, you learn to let go of all the muscle tension and to stop holding yourself, so that your posture becomes relaxed and movement more effortless :-)

It is expensive, but if you could even just have one lesson with a qualified AT teacher, you would get more of an idea what I mean - it is quite hard to explain, you really need someone to show you :-)
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby FluppyPuffy » Mon May 25, 2015 10:16 am

When I was working, we had a regular customer who was a qualified AT teacher/instructor. Whenever the banking hall was quiet and he came in, he would go thru a couple of things for us all to do whilst behind the counter to help release the tension we tended to experience, esp in the shoulder area.

There would be 5 or 6 of us all following his instructions, and whenever another customer came in, not only would they wait for us to finish, they'd join in as well. I'm not sue if they were AT or just a more general technique, but it did help, esp after lugging several thousand ££££s of coin around.
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby Zia2014 » Mon May 25, 2015 10:37 am

carolad wrote:
Zia2014 wrote:Thanks both. Carol, been doing similar but hasn't prevented this. Bandj where is yours from and does it hold your posture in the right way?


Have you actually taken Alexander Technique lessons? It is one of those things that you can't actually learn by yourself, you need a qualified teacher to guide you. It is different from any other posture training because it isn't about 'holding' yourself in any position...instead, you learn to let go of all the muscle tension and to stop holding yourself, so that your posture becomes relaxed and movement more effortless :-)

It is expensive, but if you could even just have one lesson with a qualified AT teacher, you would get more of an idea what I mean - it is quite hard to explain, you really need someone to show you :-)


No but i was reading a local practitioners website and she said it was about the correct posture - so if not what is it then? cant afford a class unfortunately.
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby carolad » Mon May 25, 2015 12:34 pm

Zia2014 wrote:
carolad wrote:
Zia2014 wrote:Thanks both. Carol, been doing similar but hasn't prevented this. Bandj where is yours from and does it hold your posture in the right way?


Have you actually taken Alexander Technique lessons? It is one of those things that you can't actually learn by yourself, you need a qualified teacher to guide you. It is different from any other posture training because it isn't about 'holding' yourself in any position...instead, you learn to let go of all the muscle tension and to stop holding yourself, so that your posture becomes relaxed and movement more effortless :-)

It is expensive, but if you could even just have one lesson with a qualified AT teacher, you would get more of an idea what I mean - it is quite hard to explain, you really need someone to show you :-)


No but i was reading a local practitioners website and she said it was about the correct posture - so if not what is it then? cant afford a class unfortunately.


If you mention 'good posture' to someone, their immediate reaction is to pull their head back, pull their shoulders back, lift their rib cage up...all in an effort to stand 'straight'. But doing that is likely to give you even more problems because you are adding more muscle tension into an already tense body. Alexander Technique is all about removing this tension, not adding to it :-) You have postural faults because you are tensing muscles without even realising it, so you automatically pull yourself out of the correct alignment. And because it feels 'normal' to you, you aren't even aware you are doing it. I am saying 'you' but I really mean everyone - it applies to all humans over the age of about 3! An AT teacher would be able to see where you hold your tension and guide you to let go of that tension...and when you do that, you will let your body come back into a proper alignment. It is something that only a qualified AT teacher could help with. Having taken AT lessons, I am aware of people's posture and I can see when they have posture faults that will lead to pain...but I wouldn't know where to begin in helping them let go of the tension. This is why I say it isn't something that can be learned from a book or a video - you need a qualified teacher to assess you personally and help with your particular postural habits.

I do understand about the cost though - unfortunately none of these things are cheap :-( But for anyone who can afford it, I can't recommend AT highly enough. It isn't a quick fix and it is something you have to work at but I found it to be the one single thing that helped me most with my back pain.
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby bandj » Mon May 25, 2015 4:30 pm

Hi Zia,

I've seen the pillows in the health care sections of supermarkets especially at this time of year. I think hubby bought mine from Wilkinsons. You could try large Boots or thd internet. Mine wasn't at all expensive. You can get some blow up pillows that allow you to adjust it for comfort.
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby Zia2014 » Tue May 26, 2015 1:00 pm

Thanks FP and bandj. Will check out Wilcos as I'm going tomorrow anyway.

carolad wrote:If you mention 'good posture' to someone, their immediate reaction is to pull their head back, pull their shoulders back, lift their rib cage up...all in an effort to stand 'straight'. But doing that is likely to give you even more problems because you are adding more muscle tension into an already tense body. Alexander Technique is all about removing this tension, not adding to it :-) You have postural faults because you are tensing muscles without even realising it, so you automatically pull yourself out of the correct alignment. And because it feels 'normal' to you, you aren't even aware you are doing it. I am saying 'you' but I really mean everyone - it applies to all humans over the age of about 3! An AT teacher would be able to see where you hold your tension and guide you to let go of that tension...and when you do that, you will let your body come back into a proper alignment. It is something that only a qualified AT teacher could help with. Having taken AT lessons, I am aware of people's posture and I can see when they have posture faults that will lead to pain...but I wouldn't know where to begin in helping them let go of the tension. This is why I say it isn't something that can be learned from a book or a video - you need a qualified teacher to assess you personally and help with your particular postural habits.

I do understand about the cost though - unfortunately none of these things are cheap :-( But for anyone who can afford it, I can't recommend AT highly enough. It isn't a quick fix and it is something you have to work at but I found it to be the one single thing that helped me most with my back pain.


Oh I see. Well it was the physio who specialises in fibro and similar that was taking me through it all. If I remember right she did tell me stand up properly, but then again three physios have all told me about my posture and I know it's a problem, so not sure that's wrong as such. She also told me a lot of other stuff including relaxation techniques, but it was so long ago during the pain programme and we got a lot of info. have exacerbated the problem no doubt, but when I was working I had a good office chair which helped. Now I only have the sofa. And because of the intense pain in my back, was sitting in a way to ease the pain, which didn't help.


However - this is not really about pain or the AT.

It's about an actual physical bulge in my back and I would really like to hear from anyone who has similar? I can only assume it's a bulging disk and I'm terrified I will need surgery. It's come on so suddenly it's frightening.
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby bandj » Tue May 26, 2015 3:01 pm

Hi Zia,

although I do not have a bulge in my back, I do have back problems following a car accident and injuries whilst nursing. I go to a guy who does deep tissue massage and I find that helps. However, I would suggest you go to your doctor about it. It may be something, it may be nothing to worry about but if you don't go you won't know.
I hope your back gets better soon .
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Re: Bulge in back?

Postby Zia2014 » Tue May 26, 2015 4:09 pm

Thanks bandj. I'm going to see the doc next week.
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Re: Dowager's Hump

Postby Zia2014 » Wed May 27, 2015 5:24 pm

So, I've found out the name of this thing. It's such an unflattering name! It looks like I could slightly improve it with the correct posture, but at least I know I haven't got something more serious.

I of course googled and inevitably thought I had cancer in bed last night - that was fun! Lesson - don't google, kids. :nono:
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Re: Dowager's Hump

Postby carolad » Wed May 27, 2015 9:51 pm

Zia2014 wrote:So, I've found out the name of this thing. It's such an unflattering name! It looks like I could slightly improve it with the correct posture, but at least I know I haven't got something more serious.



This would tie in with what you said about holding your head forward because rounding of the upper back (kyphosis) usually goes along with forward head posture. I used to have the same thing but have (mostly) got out of that habit because of the Alexander Technique. Don't worry, I'm not going to go on about that again, I'm sure I bore people silly with it!! :crazy:

But what I would say is if you go someone to help with your posture, make sure they address your body as a whole, not just your shoulders and neck, because what is happening lower down will have an impact on your upper body. I used to push my hips forward and lock my knees - and I couldn't bring my head and upper back into proper alignment until I learned to keep my pelvis in neutral position. The body is very good at compensating for imbalances so when something goes out of alignment, something else will move the opposite direction in an attempt to keep you upright!
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Re: Dowager's Hump

Postby Zia2014 » Thu May 28, 2015 5:11 pm

Yep, am guessing my poor posture has had a lot to do with it as it appeared so suddenly, along with massive vertigo probs. I am interested in the AT, I just can't get my head around relaxing because I am tense/in pain all the time now! And if I do 'relax', I settle into a bad position.

But like I said, I can't afford it anyway :)

That's a good point about hips, I'm sure I do this. It's just that unless someone is there telling me, I can't do it on my own!
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