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Have you noticed, either on yourself or others, a slight 'hump' on the lower neck/upper back area?

I have on myself, so naturally, I've researched to see what can be done to prevent it developing.

Often called a Buffalo or Dowager’s. ‘Dignified older lady’ is the definition of Dowager, which I think is rather charming. The Hump is not some Marvel Comic character, it's medical term is Kyphosis and in advanced cases results in a pronounced bent-over posture. Kyphosis can be the result of advanced osteoporosis, the vertebrae of the spine become so porous that they can weaken and often fracture.

Let's look at the beginning of a hump, to see if there is anything we can do to avoid its appearance in our lives.

The key is posture: it is essential to keep the spine straight and in correct alignment, all day, every day.

The Alexander Technique is excellent to re-educate the body and gently encourage it away from bad postural habits. If you don’t have a practitioner near you,

what can you do yourself?

Strengthen the abdominal girdle so that the back is not having to do work it was not designed to do. Check your posture right now. No, don’t straighten up, how are you really sitting, what is the cold honest truth? Are you a true couch potato; slumped in the chair, tummy relaxed and protruding, back curved, neck bent and head thrown back as you focus through your glasses?

Not using the right glasses, or relying on the restricted view of verifocals, when using the computer can be doing you no favours whatsoever. In addition, way too much use of the cellphone can contribute to neck problems.

A good investment to consider, would be a pair of specs just for computer use. I have to admit, this is my key postural problem and am heading out in January to replace my 'computer glasses' (which my dog thought he'd eat for a light snack!). I keep them on the computer, they are large and they are made SPECIFICALLY for the distance my main computer screen is from my eyes. They make such a difference because NOT using them for a few weeks, following Merlin's antics, I'm noticing a 'heat' in that C6, 7 and 8 area, I know that area is being compromised and I MUST do something now to prevent further damage. So believe it or not, until I get my new specs, I'm sitting here typing with a book on my head (more about that later).


I talked above about encouraging the abdominal girdle to do it's structural job in keeping your upright, rather the the spine doing all the work. Here is a simple exercise (from Pilates) and one you can do anywhere, anytime; in fact do it RIGHT NOW :

Suck your navel right in, try and get it to touch your spine [remember in the 60’s when we squeezed ourselves into tight jeans, lying on the floor with a coat hanger in the zip, slowly zipping it closed? Well, that’s the feeling; breathing your tummy in as far as it will go to get into a pair of tight trousers].

Release it 50% and stay with that for as long as you can. In reality that is how our abdominal girdle should be engaged all the time.

You might not believe me, but if you could get that girdle working efficiently, myriad back problems would magically disappear as the abdominal muscles do the job they were designed to do and the back can stop troubleshooting. In addition, with improved posture the organs have more room in which to function. The ultimate benefit of course, is you will immediately look slimmer and younger - no need for a surgical tummy tuck!


Place the heel of your right hand on your forehead with your fingers curled over your head.

Note where your middle finger lands and imagine a thin silver cord stretching from this precise point up to the sky.