How to fix a Dowager’s hump

“What is that unsightly bump at the base of your neck!?”

That is what we call the Dowager’s Hump.

Dowager's hump

Image courtesy of stockimages at

This article will cover:

… Let’s fix your posture now!

Enter your primary email address to get the latest updates.


// Dowager’s hump definition

It is an enlarged prominence that is formed at the lower region of the neck.

… in other words – it’s a big bump that sits at the base of your neck!


// Features of a Dowager’s hump


As you can see in the picture above, there is:

  • Enlarged prominence (…that’s the Dowager’s hump!)
  • Forward rounding at the base of the neck
  • Fatty deposit tissue
  • Hyper extension of the middle neck region
  • Loss of natural spinal curve in the neck
  • Forward head posture

// The main cause of a Dowager’s hump

Bad posture.

… Or more specifically, a forward head posture.

poked necdk vs normal

… is this your posture?

Think about how your posture looks like when you are sitting throughout the day.

If I were to guess, I’d say you spend a long time sitting down either in front of the computer, television and/or driving (… and probably with the above posture).

This is a lot of time in your bad posture.

Did you know… that for every inch  that your head protrudes forward from it;s normal alignment, you add ~10 extra pounds of force on your neck.


“How does my bad posture cause a Dowager’s hump?”

The problem – The more forward your head sits, the more stress is placed on the base of your neck.

The result – To cater for the extra stress, the body:

a) lays on thick connective tissue and

b) thickens the bone/joint at the base of your neck.

This is the body’s attempt to support your heavy head (…which gets even heavier the more forward it is!)

After a long period of time, the thick connective tissue accumulates to an extent where a hump forms – the Dowager’s hump.

** Note: There are certain conditions (namely Osteoporotic fractures and Cushing’s Syndrome) that can also cause a bump at the base of the neck. Unfortunately – we won’t be able to significantly impact these conditions.



// Implications of having a Dowager’s hump

  • Aesthetics. Let’s be honest. It’s not the most appealing thing to have… But hey, at least now we can start to do something about it.
  • It can give the appearance of having a squashed neck (or lack of neck). It might even make you shorter!
  • Neck pain: As the head is in a sub-optimal position, there is more stress placed on the muscles and joints of the neck.
  • Higher risk to conditions like arthritis, disc bulges, nerve impingement, muscle spasm and headaches.

// How long will to take to fix?

It really depends. How long have you had your Dowager’s hump for?

The problem is… the longer you have had the Dowager’s hump, the more difficult it will become to improve it.

Your posture will not be fixed over night. But with the right corrective strategy and a bit of persistence, you will see gradual improvements. Every bit counts! Small changes add up over time.

So, the sooner you recognise you have it, the sooner we can help you fix it!

Note: If your joints have already fused together, it is unlikely that they can “un-fuse”. 

// How to test if you have a dowager’s hump


1. Take a side profile shot of yourself:

dowager's hump

If you can see an obvious bump around the base of your neck, then you most likely have it!


2. Feel it:

Place your hand at the base of your neck. Can you feel a significant bump?


3. Get an X-ray:

If you really wanted to know the structural alignment of your neck, go to your general practitioner and request for an X-ray.


NOTE: It is normal to have slightly enlarged bones at the base of your neck area. Do not mistake this for having a Dowager’s hump! You’re looking/feeling for a significant bump.

How to fix your Dowager’s hump:

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Warning: These exercise are designed to be gentle and pain-free. If in doubt, feel free to message me on the facebook page.

To fix your Dowager’s hump, you will need to:

  1. Release the tight muscles
  2. Stretch the tight muscles
  3. Loosen up stiff joints
  4. Strengthen the weak muscles
  5. Address other areas

1. Release the tight muscles

These tight muscles are responsible for pulling the head into the incorrect head position.

a) Sub-occipital

SuboccipitalSub Occipital massage


  • Rest your head on a massage ball.
  • Make sure the ball is pressing on the target areas (see X target areas as above).
  • Gently rock your head from side to side.
  • Remember – If it hurts, it’s probably a tight spot!
  • Do both sides.
  • Duration: 1 minute per side.

b) Sternocleidomastoid

scm release


  • Locate the target areas. (see above)
  • You should be able to feel a prominent band of muscle on each side of the neck.
  • Do not to press too deep as you may hit other sensitive structures of the neck.
  • Gently massage these muscles with a pinch grip.
  • Duration: 1 minute each side.

2. Stretch the muscles

Now that you have released the tight muscles, it is time to stretch them!

a) Sub-occipital

neck stretch back


  • Tuck your chin in.
  • Whilst keeping your chin tucked in, gently pull your head downwards.
  • Aim to feel a stretch at the back of your neck.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.


b) Sternocleidomastoid

scm stretches


  • Gently tuck your chin in.
  • Look to your left and upwards.
  • Tilt your head to the right side.You should feel a stretch on the left side of the neck.
  • To increase stretch: With your right hand, apply pressure to left side of head and pull down.
  • Hold for at least 30 second. Repeat for opposite side.
  • Repeat 3 times.


3. Loosen up the stiff joints

With the Dowager’s hump, the joints in the neck will be stiff. Let’s loosen them up!

a) Head slides

Video from HowCast


  • Keep your face forward and chin parallel with the ground throughout the movement.
  • Slide your head from side to side.
  • Aim to feel a strong stretch on the side that you are sliding towards.
  • Repeat 20 times.

b) Chin tuck with over pressure



  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent.
  • Tuck your chin in.
  • Place your hands on your chin (see above) and apply a downward pressure
  • Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.

c) Chin retraction with extension

Video from McKenzie Institute International.


  • Tuck your chin.
    • (think about the movement as a book sliding back into the shelf)
  • Whilst maintaining this position, proceed to slowly look up/down.
  • Ensure that you do not poke your chin out excessively during the movement.
  • Repeat 30 times.
  • Do NOT force this movement into pain!

d) Self neck traction

Video from Integrative Movement Specialists.


  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent.
  • Place one hand on the top of your chest, and the other hand behind your neck.
  • Proceed to pull down (towards your feet) with the hand on your chest as you pull up with the hand under your neck.
  • Aim to feel a pulling sensation at the back of your neck.
  • Hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  • Make sure that your neck muscles are completely relaxed whilst performing this exercise.

4. Strengthening exercises

If you have a Dowager’s hump, then I can guaranty that these deep muscles will be weak! (… namely the neck retractors and deep neck flexors)

deep neck flexors

If your muscles are weak, then it will very difficult to fix your Dowager’s hump.

I’ve organised these strengthening exercises in order of difficulty.

Please do not skip any exercises! (… unless you find the exercise very easy)

a) Chin tucks (lying down position)

Chin nod


  • Whilst lying down, tuck your chin in.
  • Try to get the back of your neck to touch the floor.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.


b) Chin tucks (up right position)



  • Gently tuck your chin in.
  • Keep your eyes horizontal as you tuck your chin in. (Tip: Think about this movement as the sliding of a book back into the shelf)
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

c) Chin tucks (with neck flexion holds)



  • Gently tuck your chin in.
  • Keep your eyes horizontal as you tuck your chin in. (Tip: Think about sliding a book back into the shelf)
  • Whilst applying a resistance to the bottom of your chin in an upward direction, press down your closed fist.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

d) Chin tucks (against gravity)

chin tuck against gravity


  • Lie on your stomach with your head over the edge of the bed.
  • Gently tuck your chin in.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times.

e) Chin tucks (with neck flexion against gravity)



  • Lie on your back with your head over the edge of the bed.
  • Tuck your chin in.
  • Keep your neck in a neutral position.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.


Want more exercises? For a more comprehensive list of other neck exercises, check out this post:  Neck strengthening exercises.

5. Addressing your posture

“So… I just do the exercises mentioned above and my Dowager’s hump will disappear?”

No!… I wish it was that simple.

Although the exercises that I have mentioned above will definitely help address your Dowager’s hump, there are other factors that we must consider!

You see… your Dowager’s hump is a part of a bigger issue… and that’s your posture as a whole.

There are reasons why you have formed that Dowager’s hump. And to completely address this issue, we need to look at all other factors as well.


There are 3 main problems (but not limited to) in your posture that predispose you to developing the Dowager’s hump.

They are:

  1. Forward head posture
  2. Hunched upper back
  3. Rounded shoulders

Collectively, they place excessive amounts of stress to the base of your neck.

Problem 1: Forward head posture

Head over to this post for an extensive list of exercises that will correct the position of your head.


Problem 2: Hunched upper back

Exercise to fix: Thoracic extension

Chest stretch


  • Place your outstretched hands onto a wall.
  • Lean into your hands.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades back together
  • You should feel a) a stretch in your chest and b) the muscles between your shoulder blades contract.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

… DON’T CHEAT! Make sure that do NOT over arch your lower back.

Head over to this post for an extensive guide to completely eliminate your hunch back posture.


Problem 3: Rounded shoulders

Exercise to fix: Retraction



  • Set yourself into the starting position. (as above)
  • Pull your elbows as far backwards as you can. (end position)
  • Hold at the end range for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

Head over here if you want an extensive guide on how to fix your Rounded shoulders.

 What to do next…

1. Any questions?… Leave me a comment down below.

2. Come join me on the Facebook page. Let’s keep in touch!

3. Start doing the exercises!


… Like what you are reading?

Enter your primary email address to get the latest updates.


I am a physiotherapist who has personally experienced the pain as a result of bad posture. I would like to offer you some of the solutions that I and my patients have greatly benefited from.

View all posts by

263 thoughts on “How to fix a Dowager’s hump

    1. Hey Emily,

      Being over weight generally means more weight that is pulling your posture forwards/downwards.

      Larger breasts may also contribute to this issue.


  1. This is by far the best article and guide I have read on this topic. I am a nurse and crafter and have the hump. Would using a posture brace in conjunction with these exercises be a good idea. I’m round shoulder and after a 12 hour shift throwing my shoulders back is not always second nature just yet. Any recommendations? Thank you!

    1. Hey Kat,

      Thanks for the nice comment!

      Posture braces are OK in the short term. But I would not rely on it more than 1-2 hours.

      They will tend to make your postural muscles lazy and most likely weaker.


  2. Hey Mark

    I just noticed a lump on my neck today. I’m 19 and in good shape. However I do have bad posture. If I just improve my posture, will that help the hump go away? Or do I need to incorporate exercises and stretches as well? Also how long until it goes away, few weeks, months, years?

    1. Hi Rudy,

      You should specifically do these exercise as well as fix your posture if it is the cause of your issues.

      I can’t give you an exact time frame in terms of how long it’ll take. It’s different for everyone.


  3. Hi mark!
    I’m just 25 n i noticed this jump in my neck 2 years ago.. how much time it would take to correct it through this exercise.?

    1. Hey Vidya,

      It’s different for everyone!

      But I can tell you that the longer you wait to do anything about, the harder it will be to address it.


  4. Hi..
    I’m just 25 n i am very scared to notice this hump in my neck since from 2 years.. how long will it take it to correct..

  5. Hi Mark.
    I am starting this series of exercises for Dowager’s Hump. Question about the massage ball: should I position it between the x’s so it is under my occipital, then turn my head from “side to side?” If I try to “roll,” the ball slides out from under my head.
    I’m 48 & after over 20 years of sewing and crafting, I have The Hump!
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Simone,

      You are aiming for these muscles per side.

      You can gently circle the weight of your head over the ball if you find it keeps sliding from underneath you.


  6. Hello Mark,
    I’ve had a bump on my neck for quite a few years, maybe around six or so. I’m 16 now and it has really started to bother me. I was wondering if my spine would go back to normal after so much time if I do these exercises daily?

    1. Hi Victoria,

      Given your age, now is the best time to start doing the exercises.

      General rule : The longer you have a postural distortion the longer it is going to take to improve.

      If your bump is due to posture, these exercises will surely help!


  7. Hi Mark,
    When you speak of fused bones could you please specify which vertebrae numbers or range of vertebrae you are speaking of. Thanks.

  8. Hi Mark,
    You said this could help if your bones were not already fused. The larger bones at the base of my neck and from there down in the trap area are very stiff. It is hard to feel they move when I exert effort. Are these the bones you spoke of? How can you tell if bones are fused and at what age does that generally begin? Thank you.

  9. HI Mark!! you are great!

    Just wanted to know if you have any youtube videos, it would be very helpful:)

    Also can you clarify how to release the muscles in the beginning, any youtube link would be helpful:)

  10. Thanks for a terrific set of exercises to correct forward head and maybe prevent humping.
    I was particularly amused, as a retired belly dancer, to see the excellent side head move (that takes a lot of work to do well!).
    However, as a former osteologist, I think the term”Dowager’s Hump” should be reserved for real osteoporotic kyphosis, and not inflated to include bad posture in 14 year olds! Until there are (permanent) bone changes, it’s not a Dowager’s Hump, it’s just forward head syndrome caused by bad posture.

  11. Hey mark,
    How long has your patients with hunchback taken for correcting their posture .? I have too and planning to start working from tomorrow morning with exercise given by you… i will let u know how it went 🙂

  12. Can Dowagers Hump also cause tennis elbow. I’ve had tennis elbow before and it took almost 9 months to heal. It’s now come back…worse on my left side, although I’m right handed. I also have a very crunchy neck. I do yoga and try to stretch daily. Icing isn’t enough to repair the elbow. I feel like it’s neck related.

    1. Hey Casey,

      This is a very good question!

      Without optimal neck position/movement, your shoulder, arm, elbow and hand can not function as efficiently as it should.

      This can result in over activity of your forearm extensors (aka tennis elbow).

      The picture above shows the superficial back arm line. This is how the neck is connected to your elbow.


  13. Thank you so much for this information. I am 27 and have had bad posture since middle school. Over the last couple of years I have noticed that I have a dowager’s hump and it is very unattractive. I was afraid there was no way to work on it, but seeing this site makes me hopeful.

  14. Hi, I am a ballet student. I had to take a break due to a hip injury and didn’t really worry about my posture. I have a minimal hump now. My question is, if I walk around at home in a chin tuck, head slightly tilted forward so that back of my neck is fully stretched, would that be beneficial? Or is that a wrong head position too? Also my neck is uneven, one side is straighter then the other, should I do the exercises differently? Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Gia,

      You don’t want to walk around with your chin jammed in. It might be good as a mobility exercise, but it not what I would consider a good posture for the neck.

      Aim to keep your neck as lengthened as possible in a relaxed manner.

      An asymmetrical neck presentation could be due to many reasons. So what you do to address this will really depend on what’s causing it.


  15. Hi Mark,

    What do you think of the posture corrector Lumo lift? I’ve been thinking of getting one of these to help correct my posture.

    1. Hi Lesley,

      I have not personally tried it out myself, but it sounds like it will serve as a good constant reminder to maintain a more up right posture.

      Just remember, it’s all about movement! So on top of maintaining great posture, try to move around, do some stretches, avoid prolonged positions!


      1. I use this and actually love it. However, after a long day wearing it and constantly being reminded to sit up straighter, taking it off feels amazing.

        Can you just get surgery to remove that hump!?

        1. Hi Lauren,

          You can get surgery to remove the fat around the area.

          This will reduce the overall size of the hump… however, it will not address the curved nature of your joints.


  16. Would using Dr. Ho’s electric stimuli placed on the hump also be of help? Would this dowagers hump also cause pressure in the cheek and nose, headaches and blurred vision?

    1. Hi Wendy,

      I have never personally used Dr Ho’s products, but from what I know of electrical stimulus, it will help with short term symptomatic relief.

      Since the neck bump affects how the rest of the neck and head are positioned, it can lead to an sub-optimal neck/head posture which in turn can lead to the said symptoms. (But if you ever in doubt, please see your doctor)


  17. Hi Mark,
    Thank you this gives me hope. I am 27 and I notice this bump starting maybe some 5/8 years ago. Do you think it might be too mate for me to correct it?

  18. Can you do these exercises even if you have postural kyphosis? Do you have suggestions on correcting kyphosis for a 19 year old female?

      1. Hi mark!
        I am 14 year old and I weight 68kg less/more I guess. I have a hump dowagers hump and the fat too some people call it “buffalo hump” and ive noticed that it has gotten big the buffalo hump and I was wondering if it will dissappear as I loose weight? and yeah did this hump appear cuz im fat?

          1. Hello mark,
            I am 16 year old and have the same kind of problem hedda has.
            Can you recommend some exercises to address the alignment?

  19. Could the development of this protrusion be caused by torticollis as a baby? If so, would these treatments still be useful? 34 yr old female.

  20. Hello Mark,
    I am not sure if I have dowager’s hump or just c7 vertebra prominence? Could I send you my x-ray image via email please and you would take a look and tell me what of that it is?
    I would be very gratefull, sorry for my english 🙂 and thank you very much.

  21. Hi, lot of comments. Did somebody else ask the best way to sleep to not worsen this. Not just reading in bed but best sleeping position, pillow, mattress type-firm?

    1. Hey Abby,

      As long as your chin is not poking forward and the neck is not kinked backwards (which is commonly seen with the use of too many pillows), you can sleep in any position.

      If you are a back sleeper, try to imagine the curve of your neck flattening out towards the pillow/bed. This will encourage your chin to tuck towards your chest slightly.


      1. Tried your exercises
        Can’t believe how much posture influences how one feels
        I feel crappy a lot and until I searched about the neck bump did I realize my posture was the problem
        Black and white difference
        Great info thank you
        I didn’t even know my posture was wrong at all let alone way wrong!

  22. Hello – thanks for all of this information. I am 58 years old -female and have always had good posture. About 12 months ago, I woke up one morning, got up to get out of bed and my neck made an awful grating noise.The pain was bad and stayed like that all day. Since then the grating noise and pain hasn’t been too bad but about 3 months ago, I was rubbing the back of my neck and felt the bone at c7 sticking out and since then, the tissue around it seems a bit inflamed. I am not quite sure what this is but I can see a bump from the side view of my neck. I worked on a computer for 11 years and wonder if this has had something to do with my neck problem. Thank you.

    1. Hi Sam,

      It is normal to have a more prominent C7 bone in the back of your neck.

      Sustained postures in front of the computer with a forward head posture can make this prominence more noticeable.


      1. Hi Mark – thank you so much for your reply. I am just worried that this issue might get worse. I do always try to sit up straight on chairs and stand straight wherever possible. SAM

    1. Hey Ben,

      That’s fine.

      You probably don’t have the mobility in your neck joints/muscles to do it yet.

      Just focus on the other exercises first and it will get easier.


  23. Definitely will try this. I didn’t have this issue until a couple of years ago. I am now 33 years old. It bothers me how it looks. Thanks for the exercises!

  24. Apologies if this is a repeat question – how long should this whole routine take? Is there an abbreviated version to begin with? Thank you!

    1. Hi Michael,

      In the beginning, I recommend doing all of them to see how you respond to the exercises. This could take 20 minutes or so.

      If you can not dedicate that much time to exercises, you can start to only focus on certain exercises that you feel give you the most benefit.

      Unfortunately – There is no set abbreviated version. No short cuts! 🙂


  25. I m 37 and weight proportionate.For 3 months Ive had a left rotated c7 vertebrae in my neck which causes a new bump and Ive had minor scoliosis since adolecense.I feel my injury was caused by staring down at the computer too long. As a result of my cervicle rotation my sympathetic nerve system behind the nape of my neck has felt inflammed.The pain from the nerves go on for days but get worse feeling if I do excercises given to me from my chiropractor, agitating them more.Is it safe to continue doing excercises that cause further nerve pain or do you feel my situation is more complex and will need further review from a neurologist before safely doing a program?Im just unsure if it can cause further nerve damage being rotated.Thank you for any help

    1. Hi Stacie,

      If you are ever in doubt, you should be assessed by a health professional in person. You don’t want to make it worse by doing the wrong thing! (Esp. when you are dealing with nerve issues)

      I would say you should be fine to do these exercises, but avoid ANY exercise that causes your arm symptoms to worsen. There is no point persisting with it if it just makes it worse.


  26. I am 26 years old and I’ve had this for 6 months now due to sedentary lifestyle and developed forward head posture and bump on my neck. I am doing everything to get rid of it by sitting in the right posture and also doing these exercises. My question is will I ever get rid of this or by doing these exercises I can just prevent it from growing?

    1. Hi Marlene,

      If you have only had it for 6 months, there is a better chance of it reducing in size.

      These exercises with postural correction will prevent it from getting worse as well.


    1. Hi Samantha,

      I am not sure if there is a 100% way to determine if your hump on your neck is permanent, but the way I go about is…

      If you have persisted with these exercises and address your posture issues consistently over a long period of time, and there is no improvement at all.. Then it may be fused in that position.

      Hope this helps!


  27. Hi I’m 17 !i was just wondering how long it would take to get rid of the dowagers hump if I follow the above mentioned exercises?

  28. Hi Mark, thanks for all your responses. I’ve recently had the Lipo on my hump and I’m 30 yrs old. Also, i have scoliosis. Can I do these exercises to prevent from coming back?

    1. Hi Linda,

      If there is a normal amount of force going through that area and your muscles are strong enough to handle that amount of stress, it is likely that it will not come back.


  29. Hi Mark!

    Thank you SOOOOO much for this post! I tried to read through to comments to make sure you didn’t address this question already.

    What are your thoughts for someone who weight lifts? Despite proper form on my deadlifts and squats, I always feel pain in my lower back. Could my bump be impacting that? Is it because of how I have to rest the bar on my back during squats due to having this ugly hump?

    Thank you again for your post and your response to this!

    1. Hi Paige,

      If technique has been already addressed, then bar placement in your squat would be something I would definitely look into.

      Do you have a high or low placement? Bar placement is one of the factors determining how far your torso has to lean forward as you hit the depth of your squat. The more forward you lean, the more pressure you will be placing your back.

      Which then leads me to the dead lift position… Try to keep your core braced (think “ribs down”) and keep bar as close to your body as possible.


  30. Hi, thank you so much for These exercises! Do they all have to be done in one go? Or can you split them up throughout the day? What will have the most impact??

    1. Hey Michelle,

      There is no set way to do them.

      You can split them up throughout the day if you would like.

      Play around with how often you do them and see how you respond to it.


  31. Hi there, really helpful info. I am 33 and I have had 2 children in the past 2 years. I’ve started to notice this hump. Has it possibly been made worse by pregnancy and if so could it slightly self resolve of its own accord now that I’m no longer pregnant?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Laura,

      With extra weight being carried in front of you during the pregnancy, this may have pulled your whole upper posture forwards/downwards.

      As a response, your body would have had to kinked your neck upwards to keep your eyes at a horizontal level. This may have worsened the hump!

      It may resolve to an extent, but as you’ve had this posture for 2 years or so, the structures around this area may be tight and/or weak and will require some exercises to rectify it.


  32. Is there anything else that will help improve my dowagers bump? Will sleeping without a pillow help? I am desperate it looks really weird.

    1. Hi Kallee,

      If you have a bump at the base your neck and you don’t use a pillow, it will cause your neck to kink backwards into extension.

      This could cause more issues!


  33. Are you familiar with the posture correction device called Posture Pump? They claim that this helps correcting the forward head position and a dowagers hump. What do you think?

    1. Hey Genevieve,

      I just googled posture pump.

      It looks like some sort of neck traction device.

      Traction is good, however, it is not enough to do it by itself. You will need to do the exercises to maintain a neutral head position too.


  34. I have a dowagers hump and I also suffer from lordosis..are there any type of excercises that are good for both?

  35. Hi there
    Whenever I go to a hair salon and my head/neck if tilted back shampooing – it seems the night of or thereafter I get migraine with motion sickness – could this be part of Dowager’s Hump which I do have a slight bump – WHENEVER my head is tilted back the same thing happens- does this sound like pinched nerve and if so, what does one do about that- when rotating my neck around there is a whole lot of “snap, crackle popping” going on

    1. Hi Kathleen,

      It is likely that you are squashing all of your structures (eg. muscles, joints, nerves) at the back of your upper neck.

      It is similar to the injury (although not as intense) you get with whiplash when you are in a car accident.


  36. Hi Mark,

    My mother, sister and I all have this hump. It’s very uncomfortable. I know that I have forward head posture and a weak core. Even when I lay down, my neck pushes my head forward. I’ve wanted to ask for a professional’s help, but I’m not sure who to go to. My primary physician was of little help. Who should I go to, a physical therapist (is physiotherapy the same thing as PT)??
    Also, thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge on the subject! It’s greatly appreciated!

    1. Hey Kristen,

      Physiotherapist is the same as a Physical therapist.

      I would definitely go visit one so that they can assess your properly.


  37. you stated, “If your joints have already fused together, it is unlikely that they can “un-fuse”. ”

    How do you know if they have fused? If they have what can you do then? Are you just out of luck?

    1. Hey Tiffany,

      If you have been persistent with these exercises over a long period of time and you have been doing them correctly, and there has been no change at all, then it may imply that your joints are fused.


      1. An once they become fused there is no fix? I just started doing them and I saw a chiropractor due to a very tight chest and neck. Though I have noticed this issue for a while and saw a few different types of Dr but everyone was like there isn’t anything we can do. This included a two general practitioner, and a DR I saw for a pinched never in my neck. Is twice a day too much? I was thinking once in the morning and once in the evening.

        1. I haven’t personally seen anyone improve it once it has been fused. 🙁

          2/day is a good place to start.

          See how your body responds, and adjust as needed.


  38. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for this insight Im looking forward to working on this. Do you mind if I share a link to your page on my blog ?

    Thank you

  39. Hey! Thank you so much for this post! It was super helpful!!

    I’m only 19 years old and have noticed the hump since I was around 15, I find it really unattractive when tying my hair up and although my poster has improved over the years, I still feel like I look hunched with the hump.

    I know that I can have it fixed by going through your exercises, its just a matter of motivation. I also noticed that I constantly keep my head slightly slouched forward while my shoulders are straight, especially when studying or sitting in class. Sometimes when Im laying down or sitting on the couch I find myself getting self conscious about it and trying to stay uncomfortably straight.

    What has the most major impact on the hump that I should focus on the most? And how long do you think the average time for getting the upper backbone aligned is? I have never felt any pain on the back and the hump is average sized.

    1. Hey Zayna,

      If the rest of your posture is fine, then I would just stick to these exercises on the post.

      It’s hard to stay how long it will take, but definitely no over night fix 🙂


  40. Mark, I have had surgery to fuse c3 and c4. Since then, this dowagers hump has grown to substantial size. Will these exercises work? If not, what are my options?

    1. Hi Leslie,

      With fusion of your C3 and C4, you have basically lost the ability to move those joints now.

      This may have made your Dowager’s hump bigger.

      The exercises will still help though! They just won’t move your C3/4 joint unfortunately!


  41. How does this work for ladies with large breasts with all that added weight? Is it possible for them to have normal posture like ladies with small breasts without all that added weight pulling them forward?

    1. Hey Shif,

      With women with large breasts, they will require:
      a) even stronger postural muscles to resist the forward pull of the breasts,
      b) a greater need to pay attention to the bra support and
      c) to be aware of any habitual slouching as a result of attempts to “hide the breasts”.

      There is no reason why someone with larger breasts can not have good posture. (On top of postural exercises, they will just need to address the extra 3 points as stated above)


  42. can weak core lead to worsening of dowagers hump? I spent a year on the couch (chemo) and have weak core.. I sleep on my side and find that as I’m falling asleep I can feel my whole body/back shift forward and put pressure on my neck. I sleep with a small pillow under my arm to try and prop myself more neutral, and a flat pillow under my neck rather than under my head to keep my neck straight rather than angled. I just started doing your exercises last night.. will they also help with core at all or should I do those separate? thanks.

    1. Hey Donna,

      Your body acts as one synergistic unit.

      Meaning – one shift can influence the whole body.

      The said exercises are mainly targeting the neck itself and not the core.

      If you would like some more core exercises, have a look at this page here.


  43. Hi,
    I am feeling pain and tingling in the Dowager’s Hump when attempting to keep my head back to improve my posture. Do I need to do the exercises before attempting to keep my head back?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Frances,

      Don’t force your head back unless your joints will allow you to naturally hold it back.

      If you jam it back you can pinch nerves/joints and this can lead to the tingling and pain in that said area.

      I would focus on the exercises first to help loosen up the area.

      Let me know if that helps!


  44. What role does osteoporosis of the spine play in terms of being a contributing factor in developing a dowagers hump? And does it affect the ability to reduce the hump through exercises such as what you have provided?

    1. Hi Mergway,

      With osteoporsis, the bones are not as dense (strong) as they were previously.

      As a result, the vertebra can get compressed at the front which causes the flexed alignment as seen in a Dowager’s hump.

      Unfortunately – In people with Osteoporosis, there is not too much we can do to reverse this issue.

      However – with the exercises, it may help slow down/stop the hump from becoming larger.


  45. I’ve had this issue but less noticeable since around 15. I’m now 30 and have two babies under two. Breastfeeding and pregnancy have made it so much worse. I’m addressing my posture for my diastasis as well. Can general posture improvement help this?

  46. Hi, thank you so much for writing this as I think I have this condition but never knew it was a known condition, I just thought I was weird looking. Can I ask whether this could also be the cause of my constant tense jaw? I feel like I’m constantly clenching/tensing my jaw muscles and they won’t relax when in fact I’m not clenching them at all? I have this constant ache and my face never feels relaxed, if you know what I mean?
    I fear your exercises won’t help me as I’ve had my hump for 10/15 yrs but I will try anyway and hope to recieve some relief, hopefully for my jaw too?

    1. Hi Jo,

      Your head/neck may be in a position where it is inefficiently moving your jaw.

      A poked head could also encourage your lower jaw to protrude and open, which means your jaw muscles are constantly firing off to try to keep it closed.

      As a result – the jaw can become chronically and constantly tense.


  47. I have a twenty year old daughter who gained a lot of weight and has developed a dowagers hump over the last five years, is it now too late for her to be able to get rid of it by doing your excersizes ? We just realized what it was.

  48. Hi Mark! If you do these exercises how long will it take to get ride of your hump? Really hope you replay back!

    1. Hey Amanda,

      It’s really hard to tell how long it is going to take as everyone is different.

      It depends on how severe it is, how long it has been, what the rest of your posture looks like, how consistent you are with the exercises etc.

      However – I can tell you that it certainly isn’t an over night fix unfortunately.


  49. Hey mark how often do i do these exersises? im 35 and have beginning of dowaggers hump also would u reccomend a posture brace for a hour a day or so?i have pretty bad posture thanx

    1. Hi Josh,

      At least 1/day.

      But really – you should aim to do them as many times you can.

      I am not a huge fan on posture braces, purely because people become dependent on them. It is better to keep catching yourself falling out of good posture, and re-correcting.


  50. Hi Mark. I noticed a month or so ago that I have a hump in the back of my neck. I went to my doctor who checked me for Cushings disease. I do not have it so this must be a posture thing. He says there is nothing I can do for this but I run across your website today and tried your exercises. How do I know if I have fusion in my back? If I do have fusion will these exercises help? I got a posture brace so that I can feel when I am leaning forward too much at work. I do not depend on it except to let me know when I am leaning forward too much. I sit at a desk eight hours a day. Thank you.

    1. Hi Gloria,

      If your joints are all fused together, then it is unlikely that the exercise will completely eliminate the bump.

      Similarly, if you see absolutely no changes/improvements over a long period of time, then it is likely that the joints are fused.

      They will certainly help, but there are going to be limitations to their impact.


        1. Hi,

          Sorry – I must not have been clear in my reply.

          If you do not see any improvements at all with these exercises (providing that you are doing them correctly and at the right intensity), then it is likely that your joints are fused.


  51. Hi Mark!

    I am going to try all your exercises, though I find them a bit painful at this point. I have a slight straightening in my cervical vertebrae due to scoliosis in my neck and am wondering if it would benefit me to try a back brace to wear under my clothes or at my desk at work. Is there one you can suggest? Any help would be much appreciated!

    This article gives me hope. I have all 3: forward head posture, rounded shoulders and back. I am going to do exercises for all 3 in hopes of fixing what small dowager’s hump I’ve started to develop and hopefully prevent it from getting worse in the future!

    Thanks! Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I am not a big fan of postural braces. (Only because people becomes way too dependent on it)

      Focus on the exercises, be aware of your posture through out the day, and be consistent. You’ll get there!


  52. Hi Mark!

    I’m a 15 year old boy from Sweden and about a year ago I noticed I had this problem (didn’t know what it was called at the time) I didn’t think much about it as I didn’t cared about my look nor my posture. Now I know it was a bad decision, cause’ everyday I feel like everyone is looking at me for having this Dowager’s hump. But yesterday I finally said to myself, f**k it. I don’t wanna look this way and I’m going to do something about it. So I did some research and find your website. I’ve been scrolling threw almost all your posts today, and I really find them helpful. This afternoon I’m going to do your exercises for the first time (it won’t be the last) and start my journey to be the man I know I can be.

    And I just wanted to let you know that your work is great and I hope that your exercises will help me 🙂

    1. Hey Oliver,

      Thank you so much for writing this comment!

      I really appreciate it! And congrats for making a commitment to your posture! You won’t regret it.


  53. Could a dowagers neck be genetic?my grandma had it mom & sister. I am starting to feel a bump and I think its most likely because of my bad posture.Do you think if a dowagers neck is just now appearing and the bump is small can it go away?

    1. Hi Liss,

      There are some genetic factors that may predispose you to getting a bump at the base of the neck, but if it has just appeared (and it’s due to postural reasons), then I would say you have a good chance of managing it with exercises.


  54. Wow! Great info! I will be incorporating this daily and working on my posture!! I hate the hump and it just started 1-2 years ago I think! Do you have any recommendations on sleep posture that would help?

    1. Hi Kerry,

      I recommend sleeping on your back with a support/pillow that does not encourage you to jut your chin forwards (as this is essentially the Forward head posture and can ultimately make the Dowager worse)

      If you can not sleep on your back, sleep on your side with your chin in a slightly tucked in position.

      For more info on sleeping posture, check out this post.


  55. Hey Mark, I’ve been doing these exercises and also deadlift but for my deadlift form my upper back seems to round. Is it because of my forward head? If I’m working out with back squats while having a forward head would it put more stress through my neck? Also my brother have R C curve scoliosis at his lumbar spine is it okay for him to deadlift and squat heavy weights? He’s severely underweight with kyphosis and forward head as well

    1. Hi John,

      If your back rounds when you dead lift (and if it is usually not rounded), then it is likely you are lacking extension strength in your thoracic region (upper back). Your forward head posture may contribute to this as well.

      Try to keep your head as neutral as possible whilst you squat. Poking your head out will certainly cause some stress to the neck.

      Your brother can continue to deadlift and squat, however, he should also try to neutralise is alignment with rehab exercises as well.

      He can try this quadratus lumborum stretch to see if that helps him open up his Right side.


      1. Thanks Mark! After having him try deadlift yesterday I found out that he cannot anterior pelvic tilt or keep his lumbar spine neutral, nor can he touch his toes. He has no mobility in his lumbar spine. I finally motivated him to start working out but after finding out that his lumbar mobility is limited I get kind of worried. Do you think it might be ankylosing spondylitis? Are there any alternative exercises for legs and lower back exercises you can recommend for him?

        1. Hey John,

          It’s hard for me to say if it is or isn’t Ankylosing Spondylitis. I would strongly recommend getting a scan if you would like to make sure.

          If he does not have the mobility to perform an exercise properly, then he should either do partial reps, or try alternate exercises.

          Perhaps your brother can start off with the some back stretches which you can have a quick look here.

          If he can’t do dead lifts, you can try this:


  56. Hi! Thanks for the info, very useful. I’ll start the exercises and send you some photos when i see progress, how do i know if my joints have been fused? Thank you!

    1. Hi Cathie!

      The longer you have had this issue, the more likely it will fuse together.

      If it is very stiff and is not responding to the exercises, you can get a therapist to mobilise the area to loosen it up.


    1. Hi Mary,

      There are many things you can do to help reduce your weight.

      For example – going for a walk/run every day, playing sport, eating the right amount of calories.

      It is best to speak to a nutritionist or a trainer regarding this matter.


  57. Mark I’m a preteen me and my sister have a bump on our necks, we both go to school and have to sit in desks all day. Also we hunch our shoulders. I think my hump started in 2016/last year and it always annoys me, what would you recommed? Would laying straight on my back help it? Also I found this website today so I started the exercises. I do play on my phone a lot and other electronics so what’s the right position to sit? Also thank you for posting this blog!? Also happy late Easter ?

    1. Hi Mary,

      The best thing to do is to:
      1. Do the exercises
      2. Identify the activities (eg. using smart phone, watching tv, studying etc) that may have predisposed to this issue. Try to reduce exposure to them, or do them with better posture.

      Happy late Easter to you too!

  58. Do you have any before and after pictures of people who have done this? 20 and just noticed a dowagers hump in January ?

    1. Hi,

      I don’t unfortunately.

      Although – I would love if people could send in progress photos so that I can share them with everyone 🙂


  59. Hello! I’ve recently noticed my dowagers hump within the last 3 years or so, and over time it has become more uncomfortable and stiff. Now that I know there’s things I can do (like these exercises) to help I will start doing those, but my main issue is my it makes it hard to sleep at times because it’s so uncomfortable, I was wondering if you knew of any medication that would help this? Or maybe any kind of special pillow? If there was anything you knew of that would help some of the stiffness, I’d really appreciate it. It’s very frustrating at times.

    1. Hey Nicole,

      The presence of a bump at the base of your neck may make it difficult to sleep on your back as it pushes your head forward.

      The best way to reduce your pain (apart from the exercises) is to reduce the amount your neck kinks backwards.

      We can achieve this by:

      1. Sleeping on your side. Ensure that there is good side neck support.

      2. If on your back – Sleep with a slightly thicker pillow so that your neck doesn’t kink backwards. Make sure the pillow is not pushing on the bump.

      In terms of medication, it is best to consult your GP for that one.

      I am still on the look out for a good pillow to recommend to my patients. There are SO many out there, but SO many bad ones! I will let you know if I come across a good one.


  60. Hey Mark

    I’ve had extremely bad posture from about the age of 9 up till now that I am 17.
    Just wondering if my spine will go normal again because I had such bad forward head posture, that the bone at the top of my back, just below my neck is really protruding. Will these exercises fix that?

  61. Hi! Thank you for all this wonderful information! Will Chiropratic adjustments for 2 months 2 times a week actually help? Do you recommend continuing getting adjustments after the 2 month treatment or are the exerises more effective than adjustments? In your opinion will I feel like I always have to get adjusteds in the future to feel right? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Adjustments to the junction between the neck and upper spine are great! (… if done safely and correctly)

      Follow up the adjustments with exercises as this gives you a window of opportunity to make the most impact to your neck.

      Each week the chiropractor should notice that it requires less amount of force to manipulate.


  62. Hi Mark,
    I am a 47 year old woman and noticed my dowager’s hump several years ago. Thankfully, I found your web page with all of the exercises to hopefully rid myself of said hump.
    I have problems with my legs – they do not straighten out fully. Therefore I can not get down on the floor to do the exercises that are done lying on a hard surface (1. sub-occipital, 2. chin tuck with over pressure, 3. self neck traction, 4. chin tuck – lying down position). Can I do these against a wall, sitting up in a chair or should I just skip them and move to the next exercise?
    Thanks again for your help for those of us with this problem.

    Niki Lee

    1. Hi there Niki,

      You can perform the said exercises with your knees bent.

      If you still can’t get down to the floor, you can do the same exercises against a wall. (However, the traction will be a bit difficult.

      I have seen some people use this device:

      … however – I have not used it on myself so can’t guaranty that it is effective.


  63. Hi Mark, thank you for the great advice. I have a couple of questions if that’s ok? Firstly, I can see that my poke chin posture/dowagers hump is partly genetic as my mother and sister both have it, but I’ve recently noticed my 8 year old son also has poke chin posture. Is it safe to encourage him to do these exercises too? Secondly, I’m big busted and it feels like the weight of my bust rounds my shoulders forward, which doesn’t help my posture! Will the rounded shoulder exercises here help with that as well?

    1. Hey there Ruth,

      Your son can certainly do these exercises. I would also try to encourage proper posture when using the smart phone, tablet, reading, gameboy etc etc.

      In regards to your rounded shoulders: With a bigger bust, appropriate bra support is essential. The second best thing will be to strengthen the postural muscles so that they are able to handle the forward pull.


  64. I have arthritis in both thumbs and a dowagers hump. Do you think the two conditions could be related? Thanks for your advice I will start exercising immediately.

    1. Hi Terri,

      They may be linked from a combination of your posture and what activity you do all day.

      Your posture is the starting position of how you move. If you don’t start in a good position, your movement will probably not be great.

      People with a Dowager’s hump generally have Rounded shoulders. This will cause the arm to roll inwards and possibly placing your hand (and thus thumbs) in an inefficient position to function.


    1. Hey Tamara,

      Using a Wedge pillow can help support your posture whilst in bed.

      I have not personally used one for myself, but many of my patients seem to find it quite comfortable.


    1. Hey Laura,

      You can’t, unfortunately 🙁

      However – I have actually seen some surgeons cut out the actual fatty tissue around that area to make it look less obvious.

  65. So, I’m currently 14 Years old now and I am still experiencing dorwagers hump for like a lot of years now. I feel so uncomfortable just people seeing my hump back like a weird ass alien demon or some shit. I also have this rounded shoulders. All of this because I sat in the computer for like everyday. It’s been really depressing and If only you can give me some tips on how to remove this fucking large ass bone on at the top of my spine? Thanks.

  66. Is there a way to print the excercises out on 1 or 2 sheets of paper so I can do them away from the computer? Thanks so much for putting this info online

    1. Hi Theresa,

      I don’t have a printable file for you, but now that you brought my attention to it, I will make a .pdf printable version for it soon 🙂


          1. What is a “massage ball”? I’m going to order one online. Is it larger or smaller than tennis ball? Is there another name?

          2. Hi Jean,

            It is slightly smaller than a tennis ball. Much firmer. And made of a rubbery material.

            I like to use Lacrosse balls.


  67. Hi again- just a few more questions from me! 1) Would you recommend doing these exercises daily or with what regiment? 2) Is there a way of knowing if your joints have fused? Thank you so much for this generous information and helpful website!!

    1. Hey Erin,

      I would do it every day. More the merrier, really.

      In terms of joint fusion, it’s hard to say exactly without seeing you in person, but – the longer you have had the hump, the more likely it is fused.


      1. Also – you are 21 which is a good sign!

        If you were like 80, then that would be a different story. There is much hope for you 🙂

        If you can’t completely eliminate your dowager’s hump, you can at least reduce the severity of it.


  68. Hi there- I have hereditary anxiety which poorly affects my posture, so I’ve had this hump for a number of years (I would estimate five or six) -how long is too long/when do the “joints fuse”? Can I still at least lessen the appearance of my Dowager’s Hump if not correct it completely if this is the cass? Thanks!

  69. Hi. I am 30 years old and have had this hump at the base of my neck. Recently went to the gym after a few years of being inactive. I may have pulled something, the doctor thinks it was a tension migraine due to stress as well as my new upper body exercise and 11 years working dispatch. (Lots of sitting!) … I am looking forward to doing your exercises so that I may be able to realign my upper spine. Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Korri!

      Great to hear that you are doing more exercises!

      Just make sure you keep your neck nice and relaxed as you perform your gym exercises.

      You may have just strained your neck muscles.


      1. I have two more questions that are not completely related. One… are there any exercises at the gym you would NOT recommend doing. Two… do you find the dowagers hump is becoming more prevalent in children today as they are on phones so much and in a bent forward position

        1. Hey Kate,

          All exercises are fine to do at the gym providing that you are not jutting your neck forward.

          Be careful with exercises such as over head pressing, ab crunches and bench press (any exercise that may cause your neck muscle to over strain and poke forward)

          It is true that children’s posture are getting worse with the increase use of smart phones.

          In respect with Dowager’s hump, it seems to becoming more common in kids around the teen age stage.


  70. Hi mark I just happened upon your article and it’s given me some hope. I didn’t think that there was a way to fix this bump on the base of my neck and I have gotten pretty uncomfortable with its appearance and how I feel when doing simple tasks like bending over. I was wondering if I should continue working out or if I should stop and fix my posture completely. I noticed this bump about a year ago btw.

    1. Hey Jared,

      It’s fine to keep working out provided that you are not poking your head forward. Try to keep your neck elongated whilst performing all exercises.

      But definitely – start doing these exercises everyday to help with your bump at the base of your neck.


  71. hey i feel i have neck hump
    first time i think it is as normal bones.. but I noticed the last few months grew up iam barber u think i can remove it or wat ? i want to restore it not muscles training..

  72. I am 65 and had this problem for years, I always thought that it was just a fact of getting older, my mother had it too. REcently my doctor sent me to a physical therapist and I was surprised to hear that something can be done about it. She also put tapes across my back and the swelling went down considerably, I did not even know there was any! I thought it was bone and fat. I will definitely do your exercises, thanks!

    1. I am in the 60’s and have the hump for many years. No neck pain or migraines. What tape do you use? So glad to find this site!

  73. I have a hump behind my neck as well. I am 28 years old and I have upper back pain in one area (not on the hump). I got an MRI done and the doctors told me I have a healthy spine and my pain may be due to poor posture. I have been considering going to a chiropractor to get an adjustment, will an adjustment help.

    1. Hi Delia,

      An adjustment will probably help give you some temporary relief.

      Do you have a flat thoracic spine underneath the dowagers hump?


  74. Wonderful Mark, thank you sooooo much. I had always prided myself on correct posture (ex military and an active lifestyle) however at 68 yrs I am using the wonders of the internet and spend many hours each day soaking up knowledge. Thank you again, an ill fitting work station has been the cause of my recent neck /shoulder issues. It will be a challenge as ‘normal’ chairs are always too high and deep for my physical size. I will look into the lumber supports and foot stools.
    Best wishes from Australia

  75. Hello Mark, thank you making this website and helping people. I’m a final year medicine student. I have this problem called upper cross syndrome from the past 4 years. It really bothers me especially the trigger point in the left rhomboids. How long will it take to recover completely if im fully complaint with the physio.

    1. Hey Junaid,

      Getting complete relief of your trigger point in your left rhomboid may take couple days to couples of weeks (depending on multiple factors of course).

      But if it is purely a muscular strain/overuse, you should respond quickly to physio.

      Since you have had your upper cross syndrome for awhile now, it may take more than 3-6 months to see some significant improvements.

      Let me know how it goes!


  76. Hi Mark,
    I’ve been searching for what the enlarged bump below my neck is and I’m glad I came across your site to start exercises. I believe I first noticed the problem when I was in my third trimester of pregnancy and I have a problem with weight control. Could the problem also be from sleeping with two pillows every night to elevate my head? Thank you!

    1. Hi Shaye,

      If you are using too many pillows, this can cause your head to poke forward (if you are sleeping on your back).

      This can contribute to the bump on the base of the neck. But is unlikely the only cause.


  77. Interesting useful information and I have started the excersices directly!! Is there any special pillow to use to help with posture while asleep. I always think the dowager hump looks really aging and i wish to avoid developing one.

    1. Hey Gloria,

      I can’y really recommend a specific pillow, however, you would want to make sure that you maintain the neutral alignment of your neck whilst lying down. You can have a look at this post if you would like more info on sleeping positions.


  78. Hi, I just wanted to add that I’ve been told I have ‘cervical degeneration’ (it’s genetic) and the vertebrae of my neck are becoming damaged. I was peeved by this, as I’ve always taken care over my posture due to the risk of kyphosis as I age. Anyway, I don’t think the exercises are going to prevent further degeneration … BUT I’ve just done the first four exercises and have regained quite a bit more movement in the neck, plus it’s not hurting as much.

    I suspect that the gradually increasing discomfort has caused my posture to worsen, making it more painful so my posture worsens … ! With such an instantly positive result, I’m bookmarking your page and plan to do all the exercises at least once a day. Thanks 🙂

  79. My mom has very forward head posture and a dowager’s hump. She’s in her 60s and has had this for 20-30 years and I’m sure the bones are probably fused to some degree. She also gets severe migraines if her neck is disturbed in any way, including lifting more than 10lbs or getting a surprise neck massage (friend trying to be nice). Is there any way she can work towards correcting these problems at this point without getting migraines?

    1. Hi Shar,

      I would still recommend doing the above exercises for your mother, however, she needs to pay particular attention to how she responds to them.

      It sounds like her neck can not tolerate too much force going through it so progress the exercises very gradually.

      If some of the exercises are too intense, consider just doing the more gentles ones only.


      1. Shar, it’s probably best to check whether Mark and your mum agree but I find heat relieves the pain in my neck, at least while the heat is present. Might it be worth warming a towel or scarf to wrap around her neck while she gently begins some of the stretches?

  80. Mark,

    First off, you are the man! This site is amazing. Thank you for putting this out here and helping so many people. I have some questions. I’m 22 and have had awful posture for years, worsened by competitive swimming. I have a dowager’s hump, along with a forward neck, a humpback, and rounded shoulders. What do you suggest focusing on first?

    Also, as I work on my posture and strengthening my shoulders, can I do exercises involving heavy use of my arms (such as swimming or weight lifting)?

    Thank you again so much!

    1. Hey Sami,

      Swimmers, especially if you specialise in freestyle and/or butterfly, generally have bad posture.

      If you have multiple issues with your posture (which is common), I would focus on your hunchback. However, you can do exercises for all of them at the same time if you have time.

      It is fine to continue lifting weights/swimming provided that you maintain as good posture as possible whilst performing your exercises.

      In general
      – Focus more on back training then chest training.
      – Incorporate back stroke as much as possible in your swimming.

      Hope this helps mate.


  81. Hey Mark, I’m 19 years old and I believe I’ve had forward head posture for around 9 years. I started doing corrective exercises as well as sleeping on my back and just being very aware of my posture 24/7, about 2 months ago and have only seen very slight results, which is discouraging, but I’m still continuing regardless. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I also have Dowager’s hump after reading this article, so I have two questions: 1. With the information I provided, how long do you think it will take to correct my posture, realign my spine, etc. and 2. If I fix my forward head posture, would that simultaneously fix my Dowager’s Hump as well? Or would I just have a straight neck but still have the hump in the back of my neck? It already takes a lot of time out of my day doing the other exercises, but if I have to add more I will. Just want your 2 cents, and thank you so much for all the information you provide on the website!

    1. Hey Dylan,

      With someone with Forward head posture AND Dowager’s hump, it can take awhile to fix. Especially when addressing the Dowager’s hump, this area is very tight and squashed so it can take >6 months.

      The Forward head posture exercises will indeed help greatly with your Dowager’s hump, however, I strongly recommend that you do the more specific Dowager’s hump exercises such as the Chin tuck with over pressure and Chin retraction with extension.

      Don’t lose hope! It takes time, consistency and determination.

      Feel free to private message me on the Facebook page if you have any specific questions 🙂


  82. Great article! I am 35 and am getting concerned about the pain in my neck and the bump there — I will definitely work on these exercises. My question is about sleep however. I think I am curling up in that forward position to sleep because when I wake up the pain is even worse. Do you think sleeping on my back would be the best for this problem?

    1. Hi Catherine,

      Sleeping on your back is the best for your spine in general.

      However – you will need to make sure you keep the correct alignment of the neck using the correct pillow height.

      You want to aim to get your chin a bit closer to your chest whilst lying down. (When the distance between your chin and chest is increased, this usually means you are poking your head forward)


  83. Hi Mark, I’m so glad I just happened to stumble across your blog. Its been a godsend to my terrible posture ways. I did have a question about releasing tense muscles on the back of your neck, the sub occipital. Can I roll a ball using my hand against my head sitting upright, or does it have to be lying down and putting your head against the ball? I’ve tried your way and the sitting upright and I feel like sitting upright targetted the painful areas better than lying down. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sharranya,

      If you feel the release better when sitting upright, then do it that way.

      As long as you are hitting the right areas, it’s all good!


  84. Thank you for this info!! I’ve had a dowagers hump for years! Although I didn’t know that’s what it was. I’m extremely self-conscious about but didn’t realize it was caused by my posture and could possibly be fixed! I’m 27 I’m not sure how long I’ve had it. I don’t remember when it was that I first started noticing I would say its been probable about 4 years. Do you think its been too long? What’s a realistic time frame to see real results? I’m getting married in August and it would be great if it was better by then! Again Thank you!

    1. Hi Tamara,

      Congratulations on getting married in August!

      You can see quick results if you can achieve a better alignment of your head on your neck on your thoracic spine. IT’S NOT TOO LATE!

      Doing the exercises mentioned in the post will most definitely help you out.


  85. Hi Mark! Thank you so much for this! I have just started noticing the formation of a hump at the back of my neck and do exhibit all 3 posture misalignments. How frequently would you recommend doing the stretching and strengthening exercises listed here?

  86. Thanks Mark. this is very informative. My dad has poor posture and I figured i suffered it also. I have a the hump at the back of my neck and I will try to use to do every excise in an effort to change this . Any other info i would be glad to try.

  87. Hello Mark,
    I recently noticed my dowager’s hump and it is very unattractive. I am 50 so have my joints fused at this age? I have no issues with arthritis or spine. I feel mine is due to many many years on the computer and this has probably been progressively worsening all these years. I have been doing one particular exercise for forward head position for about 2 wks and I see some progress. Just wondering if at my current age, this can still be reversed. I am going to begin your other strategies today.

    1. Hello Mark,

      I have a the same questions as Niki above. However, I am older at 55 this year and pray that my joints have not fused and I will have this permanently. I never noticed this hump till about 2-3 years ago. I sit at a computer for 8-10 hours a day and am sure this is what caused it. My daughter is a Yoga Instructor and advised me to start Yoga asap along with the exercises you suggest here. Any other suggestions? Should I start using one of those desk that rise up to stand and work? Would that help at all? Thank you!

      1. Hi Sharron,

        The best thing (besides from the exercises list above) is to take REGULAR breaks from the computer.

        This might mean to use a standing desk, get up for a coffee, go to the toilet, even standing up for only 10 seconds.

        The importance is to keep moving. Change positions. And not to stay in the one spot for too long.

        All the best!


      2. I am 74 and have had osteoporosis for thirty some years. A recent fall caused a 30% fracture in my T12 spinal cord. Overnight, it seems, I went from 5’2 to 4’11. I’ve had this ugly neck leaning forward for a long time. At least fifteen years. Doctors ask if I have scolisous (sp?) Not to my knowledge.
        Is it too late to straighten my back and body?
        I’m already working on your exercises in hope.

        1. Hi Shari,

          It’s never too late to make improvements to your posture.

          But if you having Osteoporosis and thoracic spine fractures, I would suggest getting assessed by a health practitioner in person (just to be on the safe side 🙂 )


  88. Hi Mark, I have had weak neck muscles for years from previous jaw surgeries. I’v also struggled with posture but somehow did not connect the two. I started your exercies but I can only do about half of the repititions before it starts hurting and is sore afterwards. I would think this is normal with muscles that have not been worked for a long time. I’m wondering if it would be better to start slow? and would some heat afterwards help?

    1. Hi Pamela,

      Start with an amount of repetitions that you can comfortably handle. This will be your baseline.

      From here, aim to progress to higher reps when appropriate.

      The suggested repetitions are just an outline, but you can change it to cater for your level of ability.

      And yes, heat is awesome for relaxing the muscles afterwards 🙂


    1. It can feel better even after 1 session.

      However – in terms of seeing a significant visual change, it can take a couple of months! (It really depends on how bad it is in the first place)


  89. i’m 18 i’ve been suffering from major depression. i have been super active my entire life but the past year i have been lying on the couch ins ball. starting in june i felt the humor and it has gotten 10 times worse. is it fixable and how can you tell if your joints have fused?

    1. Hi Sammy,

      Good thing you are only 18 which means it is very likely you can fix the hump on your neck!

      Persist with these exercises and you will see a difference.

      Usually joints tend to fuse with conditions like arthritis. At your age (unless you have history of spine issues), it is very unlikely that they are fused.

      Hope this answers your question.


  90. Can the problems you addressed be hereditary? My great grandmother, my aunt and several cousins have this problem. I, too suffer from it. I feel very self conscious all the time, get negative comments, etc. I am 68 yrs old and actually just recently had a name put to it by a chiropractor who said”you have forehead posture which is most unattractive”. Needless to say I signed up for appointments but became too expensive. My pain subsided but still have the problem.

    1. Hi Maggie,

      There definitely can be a genetic predisposition to developing this condition.

      However – I can almost guaranty you that you did not have it when you were born.

      Usually – it is caused by postural factors over the years.


  91. Hi Mark,
    I am 14 years old and I’ve had this dowagers hump for about 3 years how would you k ow if your joints fused? And to help correct it could I just focus on correcting my posture?

  92. This is really great. I would love to try this. And i hope to get results soon once ive started it. Its really frowning to have this little hump on my neck.:(

    1. Hi Lee,

      It depends on how long ago that you had your surgery. I would ask clearance from your surgeon if it has been within 12 weeks.

      Other than that, the exercises should be fine providing that you are not over doing it.Listen to your body. If it hurts, feels uncomfortable and/or increases your pain, do not do the exercise.


  93. I was wandering if at some point you could make a video of all these exercises? I have looked online a lot to find a way to correct my posture and this is the most helpful information but I have printed it all to follow and its so hard to stop, read, try throughout the day. I think its going to take a lot of repetition to see results. A video would be so useful, especially since its the first time I have done any of the exercises and I am not sure if I am doing them correctly. 🙂

  94. Thanks so much for your website! I think I have researched and read every website on the subject of forward neck posture and dowager’s humps out there, and this is by far the BEST!

  95. Hi Mark,
    You have said ‘ If your joints have already fused together, it is unlikely that they can “un-fuse”.’
    I have dowager’s hump. How do I know if it can’t be fixed ? I have cervical radiculapthy. Does the hump mean I can never fix my neck pain ?

    1. If your joints have fused together, there’s unfortunately too much we can do about that.

      HOWEVER – you just have to focus on areas where you can improve.

      The presence of a dowager’s hump does not completely mean that you will have pain for the rest of your life


      1. Thanks Mark. From the 10 yrs of computer job and my poor posture I have neck pain and shoulder and upper back pain ( for the past 3 years). I have forward head posture, rounded shoulders, a small Dowager’s hump.
        To reduce my pain, what should I begin with ? Will I have to do the exercises for all the above mentioned conditions or just forward head posture correction exercises will give me some relief to begin with. With a 6 month old to care for I can manage put in only 2 hrs everyday to exercise.

        1. Hi Lakshmi,

          Focus on the Releases and Stretches to begin with. This will help reduce your pain.

          On top of that, you need to identify ANY activity/movement/position that makes your symptoms worse.

          Either a) Modify it so you can do it without symptom reproduction, b) minimise your exposure to it OR c) don’t do it all.

          For you specifically, this may involve workstation modification, frequent breaks for the prolonged sitting position, being careful how you hold/nurse/lift/bath etc your 6 month old, regular stretches.

          Once your pain has subsided, you can focus a bit more on the strengthening side.


          1. Thank you so much Mark. I will go with your advice. I know that road to recovery could be a very long one, nevertheless I am not going to give up.
            Thanks for your help !

  96. Mark, I appreciate very much the valuable information and advice in this website. I am upset seeing young people and adults of various ages suffered from bad postures without knowing it. I looked up this issue with a view to convincing my family member to take care of the problem. The exercises certainly will help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *