Do you have an unwanted hump on your upper back/back of your neck?
The Dowager’s hump is also known as “hunchback”, text neck, turtleneck and sometimes just referred to as forward head posture.
It is for many people an unattractive consequence of maintaining poor posture over a long time.
We spend many hours every day focusing on things in front of us like computers, smartphones, books television etc.
If you are not mindful of your posture while in this kind of position you are at risk of developing Dowager’s hump.
If you are reading this chances are that you already have got one.
But don’t worry, even if you got a bad case of Dowager’s hump it is not too hard to improve or even fully reverse it.
Non-Posture Related Dowager’s Hump
Before I get into this, it should be mentioned that it is not always because of poor posture that this hump develops.
Ostereosis (fragile bones) is a serious medical condition mostly seen in the elderly. It can cause fractures and collapses in the joints of the spine and if you have this problem you have to see a professional.
In this case, getting a posture brace should not be your priority (unless your doctor says otherwise) as medication, supplementation and changes to your diet are potential treatments.
You can read more about other non-posture related humps on healthline.com.
Braces That Will Make Your Dowager’s Hump Go Away
The best brace for dowager’s hump you can get to alleviate or reverse the problem is not unlike any other posture corrector you can use for forward head posture and rounded shoulders.
That is unless you have a serious hump, and if that is the case you might want to consider consulting with a professional before you buy a brace.
Back Brace Posture Corrector By Flexguard Support
The Back Brace Posture Corrector from Flexguard Support provides you with full upper-body posture support.
The product has great feedback on Amazon and is in my opinion clearly among the best posture braces sold on Amazon.
It has a strong and comfortable build while only being a bit bulky and also less restrictive, unlike other vest-type braces.
Aligning your whole upper-body is probably the best solution unless your back hump is a small one.
Durable, adjustable and comfortable
The brace is equipped with adjustable cushioned straps for extra comfortableness. The waistband is also adjustable.
It has a tight fit when strapped in, but is still comfortable due to its padding.
I have not been able to confirm what exactly the brace is made of, but it seems to be of a synthetic fabric similar to the other braces. Probably at least some parts of it is made of neoprene rubber.
Flexguard Support offers a lifetime warranty on the back brace.
As of April 2018, the posture brace sizes have been updated for a better fit for more back, shoulder, and collarbone support
- A lot of good feedback
- Comfortable and durable build
- Full upper-body support
- A little bit bulky
- You have to choose the right size
- can have a rubber smell that takes a little while to dissipate (not as strong as others)
- some issues with fitting and position of the waist part (rides up) – (issue reported for the old model)
- can restrict arm movement a little bit (issue reported for the old model)
Learn more about this posture corrector from Flexguard Support and what other people have to say on Amazon.
Premium Back Support Brace by Branfit
This small brace gives good support for your shoulders, neck and upper back at a very affordable price.
If you have a small back hump this could be enough. The brace is easily adjusted and can fit chest sizes ranging from 28″-48”.
- Breathable and lightweight material.
- Soft padding to ensure comfortableness.
- Environmental friendly production and packaging.
- Satisfaction Guarantee: full refund if you are not satisfied
- Washable by hand (not in the machine)
- Great price
- Versatile (both you and your partner can wear it due to its one-size and unisex fit)
- Not very visible
- Can have a rubber smell that takes a while to dissipate
- Can be a little difficult to adjust yourself
- Some people have issues with it pinching armpit skin
Learn more about this product and what other people have to say on Amazon by clicking here.
Discreet Posture Corrector for Men And Women by Vriksana Posture
This discreet posture corrector is made in a non-restrictive design that fits both men and women.
Depending on how sensitive your skin is you might be able to wear it without having any t-shirt underneath.
This is a good option to help reverse your neck hump while not being as visual as the brace by Flexguard.
The brace is both highly durable and breathable. It is resistant to wear and tear and water. It can be washed easily by hand.
The posture brace is thin enough that you might be able to hide it underneath a shirt or lose polo.
But if you are truly looking for a seamless and fully concealable solution, then you need a posture correcting shirt as mentioned here. The article mentions shoulder injury, but it these shirts will also help your Dowager’s hump
- Breathable and lightweight material.
- Elastic neoprene well-padded with cotton
- Extra thin makes it easier to hide
- Washable by hand only.
- Versatile and unisex
- Thin design
- A lot of positive feedback
- Can have a rubber smell that takes a little while to dissipate
Check out what other people have to say about the posture brace on Amazon here.
But Why Do I Get This Extra Hump?
As you might be able to guess, maintaining a forward head posture for a long time creates a lot of stress on your spine and the muscles in your upper back.
The thing is that your spine is flexible and adapts. If a lot of tension is put on the spine all the time it slowly adapts by gradually bending..
But why then can you get this hump?
Actually, the reason remains the same which is: because of the added tension.
But to fully understand the magnitude of this tension, let us take a look at the principle of the lever.
Perhaps you learned about it back in elementary school?
The principle of the lever states that the farther away the force that is pushing down is, the more the force is amplified.
So the farther away your head is from your spine the more the pull from gravity is amplified.
It is estimated that for every 1 inch (2.5 cm) you add another 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of force on your neck.
There is another interesting way to look at it which might make it more clear.
An adult head weighs in at about 20 – 22 pounds (4-5 kg). The amount of force that puts on your spine is equal to that if your head is in a neutral position.
As the angle of between head and spine changes the stress increases.
– At the angle of 15 degrees the force equals 26 pounds (12 kg)
– At the angle of 30 degrees the weight is 40 pounds (18 kg)
– At the angle of 45 degrees the weight is 48 pounds (22 kg)
– At the angle of 60 degrees the weight is 60 pounds (27 kg)
I cover this more in-depth in this article.
That was a bit of a tangent, but I am sure that you now can understand the amount of stress your forward head posture can create.
To help counteract this extreme amount of stress your body reacts by creating an extra thick layer of connective tissue on your upper back and also thickens the bones at the base of your neck.
Given enough bend in the spine and time for the tissue to form and bones to thicken, the hump starts appearing.
Other than the fact that it looks really bad and you would want to avoid it at all costs, it is actually an impressive adaptation when you think about it.
But to make the unappealing hump worse, some people might end up storing some fat around this extra layer of connective tissue.
Can Posture Braces Really Help Reverse It?
In general, improving or “fixing” postural issues will always be a long process.
Put simply, poor posture is not created overnight. This is especially true for dowager’s hump which is usually created by maintaining forward head posture for a very long time. We are talking many years!
Likewise, you will not be able to reverse overnight.
You will have to put a lot of effort into stretching and strengthening different muscles.
This takes time.
There are some general exercises that work well to improve to improve upper body posture which you could do, but there are also some specific exercises for Dowager’s hump.
Here is a video from two of my favorite physiotherapists on Youtube going over a few of those exercises.
If you got a weird humor like me you will also be entertained.
Besides doing exercises, you also have to “train” yourself to become much better at maintaining good posture.
You will need to become more aware of both how good posture feels and looks like.
Stretching and strengthening muscles make it easier for you to maintain good posture, but it is not going to help if you keep having poor posture.
This is where I think posture braces can be particularly useful.
Changing your postural habits is like changing any habit. It is super hard in the beginning, then it gets easier until it at some point becomes effortless and you are no longer thinking about.
Wearing a posture brace could potentially make a big difference for you in the beginning and be helpful to you when changing your postural habits are the toughest.
A posture brace might even provide some degree of immediate relief if you are experiencing uncomfortableness or even pain.
But if you wear a posture brace long-term it could weaken your muscles.
The problem is that when wearing a posture brace the brace is doing most of the work to keep your upper body upright and not your muscles.
There is an alternative to posture braces that do not have this issue, but these products come at a higher price. If you are interested you should check out the link in the conclusion below.
How Do Posture Braces Work?
Basically, posture braces work by making it harder or even impossible for you to have a forward head posture or slouch etc.
Put in another way, wearing the brace forces your muscles and joints to be in a position that encourages good posture.
This reduces the stress put on your muscles and joints. It might make you feel and look better or even make you stand a bit taller.
This can be great for some (especially shorter people like me).
How Long Will It Take To Fix My Hump?
The short answer is that it really depends on the severity of the hump, how long you have had it, how much time you spend every day with poor posture and what you are doing to fix it.
I actually got a whole article dedicated to this topic
But in this case, the truth is that you have probably had a forward head posture for a long time.
And it will take a long time to fix it. From what I have been able to understand it could be anywhere from a few months to many months.
But you should be able to notice a positive difference within a much shorter time-span.
One scary thing to take note of is that at some point the adaptions in your spine become more or less permanent because the joints can fuse together.
At this point, it is unlikely that you will be able to fully reverse it, but it can still become better.
Reversing that hump in your back is going to take a lot of time and effort. How long depends on the specific circumstance.
Getting a posture brace could make a big difference for you and I think it is money well spent in this case.
But keep in mind that you can’t rely on the brace, it is really just a helpful tool.
You might also be interested in something you can wear more seamless while being active or at work. There are some interesting compression-like shirts that do the same as posture braces without some of their drawbacks.