Hunchback posture: Fix it now!

hunchback posture hunchback cat

Answer this question:

… What does Quasi Modo, Smeagol from Lord of the Rings and a scared cat have in common?

Any ideas?… They all have the Hunchback posture!

… Do you have one too?

What is a Hunchback posture?


A Hunchback posture (also known as having a thoracic kyphosis, rounded back or humpback) is where the upper back is excessively rounded forward.

The thoracic spine forms a curved-like appearance (.. which resembles the letter “C”).

Did you know… You will actually become shorter when you have a Hunchback posture!

It can also be involved with other postural issues such as:

(** If you are interested in fixing your posture as a whole and want to get the most out of this article, I would strongly recommend you check out all of the links above! **)

What are the causes?


Your posture. (… well, more specifically your bad posture!)

Think about it.

What is your posture throughout the day?… Are you up right?… Or is your back slouching forward?

The position you place your body for the majority of the day is what your default posture will become.

Unfortunately for many (… and maybe perhaps you too?), this default position is the Hunchback posture.

Note: A Hunched back is also characteristic in conditions such as Osteoporosis and Scheuermann’s disease. If you have these conditions, please take extra care doing the exercises below!

Other causes of Hunchback posture

Did you know…  your posture can also be strongly influenced by other factors such as:

a) Confidence

People with low self confidence tend to exercise a body language which encourages a rounded upper back posture.

Consider addressing this issue if you think it is the main contributor to your bad posture.

b) Gut issues

What happens when your stomach hurts?…

We assume a curled up/hunched position.

Consider addressing any issues regarding digesting, bloating, cramping etc. to help you with your rounded back.

c) Abdominal crunching

We all want that 6 pack for summer… but at what cost?

Excessive sit ups/crunches can cause a shortening of the abdominal muscles which in turn pull the upper back into a slouched rounded posture.

d) Side sleeping

This is what I call “Horizontal slouching”… especially if you sleep in the fetal position.

Pay attention to how you are sleeping!

Check out this post: The best sleeping position for more information.

What’s happening at the muscular level?

upper cross syndome

Tight muscles:

Tight muscles at the front of your thorax pull your posture into the rounded upper back position.

  • Pectoralis Major/Minor
  • Upper abdominals
  • Anterior Intercostals

Weak muscles:

Weak muscles at the back of thorax are not able to correct a Hunchback posture.

  • Thoracic erector spinae group

** These are the muscles we will be addressing with the exercises down below.

Do you have a Hunchback posture?

Here is a quick way to determine if you suffer from the Hunchback posture.

Wall test:



  • Stand up with your back to a wall.
  • Aim to have your whole spine flat against the wall.
    • Have the back of your feet about 30cm from the wall.

… Are you able to do this?

If you are unable to place your entire back on the wall and a large proportion of your upper spine is away from the wall, then you probably have a Hunchback posture.

Note: DON’T CHEAT! Make sure that you DO NOT over arch your lower back to make your upper back come in contact with the wall.

How to fix your Hunchback posture


1.  Releases

Let’s loosen up your tight muscles that are responsible for your Hunchback posture!

What you will need:

  • Massage ball
  • The ability to relax
    • (If you tense up your muscles whilst doing the releases, the exercise will not be as effective!)

a) Chest release

ball chest


  • Whilst placing the massage ball on your chest, push your body weight into the ball onto a wall (or floor). (see above)
  • Be sure to cover the all the target areas as indicated above.
  • Whilst applying pressure, perform a gentle circular motion over the ball.
  • Perform this exercise for at least 30-60 seconds per area.
  • Aim to keep your muscles relaxed throughout exercise.
  • Repeat on other side.

b) Upper abdominal release

ball upper abs


  • Whilst positioning the massage ball in the upper abdominal region, place your body weight on top of the ball. (see above)
  • Make sure that you keep your abdominal muscles relaxed.
    • Tip: Taking deep breaths in/out will help keep your abdominal region relaxed.
  • Hold each position for at least 30-60 seconds.
  • Proceed to move the massage ball over to the other areas as indicated above.

Note: DO NOT place excessive amount of pressure into your abdominal region! There are many sensitive organs in the area which can be subject to damage when too much pressure is applied.

2. Stretches

a) Chest

Chest stretch


  • Place both hands on the door frame. (see above)
  • Lunge forward.
  • You should feel a stretch in the front part of your shoulder/chest region.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

b) Abdominal stretch

abdominal stretch


  • Assume the position as above. (… also known as the cobra pose)
  • Aim to feel a deep stretch in the abdominal region.
  • To increase the stretch: As you take a deep breath in, let the abdominal region to expand.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

Note: Do not over arch your back if you suffer from any lower back issues.

3. Joint mobilisation

When joints in your spine are tight, they can actually get stuck in the forward flexed position.

It is important that we free up these joints so that they have the opportunity to be placed in the correct position.

a) Thoracic rotation



  • Sit down on a chair.
  • Place your hands as shown in the above picture.
  • Rotate your spine (as to look behind you).
    • Apply force through your hands to provide additional pressure to the movement.
  • Oscillate in this position for 30 repetitions.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Note: Aim to feel the movement from your upper back, NOT your lower back.

b) Thoracic extension

Thoracic extension


  • Position yourself over a foam roller. (see above)
  • Arch backwards.
  • Make sure you do not flare your lower rib cage out.
    • DO NOT arch your lower back. It is imperative that you isolate the movement to the upper back region only.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Explore up and down your spine.
  • Repeat at least times.
  • Note: If using a foam roller is uncomfortable, try using something thinner. (eg. rolled up towel)

You may feel a few clicks as you perform this exercise. This is normal. It is the realignment of your joints!

c) Wall lean

wall squeeze


  • Place both hands high up on a wall in front of you.
  • Lean firmly into your hands.
  • DO NOT over arch your lower back.
    • To assist with this, try to keep your lower rib cage down.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat times.

4. Strengthening

The muscles of your back are the ones responsible for keeping your upright posture (… and straight!). Let’s get some muscles, shall we?

a) Superman



  • Lie down on your stomach with your hands stretch out in front of you. (see above)
  • Lift up your chest so that it is slightly off the ground.
  • Make sure that you  keep your lower back muscle relaxed.
    • You should feel tension in the muscles between you shoulder blades only.
  • Hold for 10-20 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

b) Chest lift

horizontal retraction


  • Support your abdominal region on a stool.
  • Lift up your chest so that it is parallel with the ground.
  • Proceed to move your arms from the “W” starting position to outstretched end position..
  • Make sure that you  keep your lower back muscle relaxed.
    • You should feel tension in the muscles between you shoulder blades only
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.
  • Note: To make this exercise more difficult, hold onto a light weight in  your hands.

5. The most important thing to do…

Practice your good posture!

Don’t know how?… Make sure you have a look at this post: The Ideal sitting posture to make sure that you know exactly how to position your posture.

Remember this.

What you do with your posture throughout the day will determine what your posture will be.

You can’t do these exercises then go slouch on your computer for 10 hours straight and expect your posture will magically fix itself.

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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!


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.

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92 thoughts on “Hunchback posture: Fix it now!

  1. Hai I have a kyphosis problem for almost 5 years now my age is 20 and I want tu slove this problem urgently can u plz give me hard work out plain tu solve this problem urgently I am waiting

    1. Hey Haider,

      All of the exercises mentioned in the blog post will be the best place to start.

      On top of that, you will need to be more aware of your posture as you sit down.


  2. Hey Mark,

    I’ve been sticking with doing stretches for several weeks now. I’m having some issue trying to figure out the ‘superman’ technique. I can’t seem to get my body to not engage my lower back. Is there an alternate exercise I can begin with to help isolate the muscle group and get a feel for how to use it?

    Thanks so much for what you do. It’s great to have information out there to help those of us who are motivated to improve but can’t afford regular visits for physical therapy or other treatments.


    1. Hey Dave!

      If your lower back in engaging too much, try keeping your chest flat on the ground.

      Focus on lifting the arms off the ground only.

      Keep your head relaxed with forehead resting on the floor.

      (Keep in mind – you will still feel your lower back muscles engage, but make sure they aren’t the main muscles working in this particular exercise).


  3. I have Scheuermann’s and I play tennis. Some of the tennis exercises I do require a bent over arched back. The best I can do is keep a straight back. If I do these exercises can I get somewhat of a better arch or do I have to do more or is it even possible?

    1. Hi there Samit,

      With Scheuermann’s disease, there is likely going to be a limit on how far you can extend your thoracic spine. (Due to structural reasons)

      I would still encourage you to continue with the exercises on the blog post to make sure you reclaim as much movement available.

      Better thoracic function might help with your arching.


  4. Hi,
    I am 38 years old with heavy hunc-back posture . Almost 3-4 inches i am shorter than when i stand straight. Do you have a intense workout programme ? Thank you

    1. Hey Bora,

      It would best to start with the exercises as mentioned on the blog post.

      From here- then you can venture out to do the more advanced exercises.


  5. Hi Mark! I do workouts in the gym regularly and I want to know if there is any good exercises using weights to help me with hunchback posture

    1. Hey Marcos,

      Here are some suggestions
      – Rear delt raises
      – Dead lift (with shoulders back)
      – Bent over Row
      – End range shoulder flexion with cable


  6. Hi Mark,

    I have visited your sites numerous times now. You, and a few other online physiotherapists, have motivated me to work on my posture once again. Myself, when looking in the mirror and thinking about it, see a giant kyphoses / hunchback. My friends say it isn’t that obvious and a few actually said they haven’t noticed till I started talking about it.

    I recently visited my doctor and got an appointment for a specialist. I feared my age (nearing 30) might be a problem, she said its true that my age doesn’t help me but I should be able to see progress.

    I hope your, my therapists and other online excersices help me get some progress at my older age. I would like to thank you for helping and I hope it will help my body (and my body image).



    1. Hi Mark,

      Great to see that you have decided to work on your posture.

      It’s not going to be easy, but will be well worth it in the long run.

      Good luck! … and hopefully I can keep providing with content that will help you 🙂


  7. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your articles and exercises. My main issue is hunchback posture from years of slouching, I assume other issues are present as well.
    I have tried your exercises with some results, but it feels like my vertebrae are “stuck” and I physically can’t get into a better posture, no matter how much I stretch.
    Should I consult a doctor and which type do I search for?
    I can provide a photo if you need it.
    Thanks again.

    1. Hey Corne,

      Keep persisting with the exercises! You might just be very tight and needs more time and consistency to get some improvements.

      On the other hand, the joints may also be fused which means there might be some limitations as to how far the exercises will get you.

      Best person to see would be a physical therapist or any other health professional that is confident with hunch back posture (aka thoracic kyphosis)


  8. Hi Mark. I have been having difficulty when doing planks and push ups (and honestly majority of my core strengthening exercises). My shoulder baldes feel like they “slide forward” when I do anything that requires me to bend over, causing a hump (I think it’s pretty significant). Ive been to PT and they said I do not have a kyphotic spine, but when I bend over it’s pretty obvious! Could the hunch be caused by rounded shoulders moreso than a curvature of the spine? I’m at a loss for what I can do to maintain my workout but also correct my posture.

    1. hello mark i got bulging disk at my cervical spine and early signs of degeneration at my lumbar spine it started all with a pop saying it was shoulder impingement now i got so many problems where do i start what is main focus that i should do with all them problems fix the impingement?FYI its been 2 years please give any suggestions

  9. What exactly does upper abdominals mean in hunch back posture ????

    And can you please clear me the abdominal muscles tight in sway back and flat back posture ??? Please do mention the muscles name as i am getting confused between upper abdominals and lower abdominals

    1. Hi Mayank,

      Upper abdominals are part of your stomach muscles underneath your ribs.

      This area, especially if you sit in a flexed posture, will generally be quite tight.


  10. Hi Mark,

    Am patient of Rheumatoid Arthritis with hunch back. Please recommend specify exercises for me to accordingly fix hunch back.


    1. Hi Shah,

      The exercises in this blog post are the main ones I recommend for hunch back posture.

      With your background of RA, it is fine to perform the exercises, but just be aware of your irritability whilst performing the exercises.


  11. Hi Mark. I love what you do. What could be causing my hot/flushed red face? Also bad head pressure when bending over/foward?

    1. Hey Elijah,

      The first thing that pops into my mind is blood pressure. But this tends to fall outside my specialty so I can’t give a specific answer unfortunately.

      It might be an idea to get your blood pressure measured at the doctors?

      Good luck! And I hope you find out a solution.

      Added: Sometimes if you have a Forward head posture, this could result into symptoms such as a feeling of a heavy head.


  12. Hey Mark!

    I’ve recently seen a chiropractor about my bad posture and various problems have popped up (from ankle / calf flexibility, non existent glute muscles, tight hips, tight back, shoulders all the way up to the neck… the lot essentially).

    I’m wondering however, how many times should I stretch per week? Per day even?

    I’m confused about the “volume per week for each issue” as everywhere gives conflicting responses.

    Would it be best to do a different issue each day? e.g: Mon-Lower body, Tue-Upper body. Or to do a mixture of everything each day. (or to target a specific issue each day, such as APT, rounded shoulders, etc)

    Side note, I go to the gym 4 days a week for strength training (Upper body on Mon & Thu, lower body on Tue & Fri), will this conflict or limit my stretching?



  13. If a person (me) has all of the above due to EDS (ehlers danlos syndrome), and doesn’t have the time to hit every single issue twice a week, but instead can work on one major area at a time, which do you recommend targeting first? I work at a computer all day also. I am active, and I am not over weight. My posture has improved. But I still have a flaring left rib, rounded back and shoulders, protruding forward neck (I get paid behind my left ear which is caused by this, and it is my indicator to fix my posture, and then the pain goes away), my hips are some what aligned but I do have stomach issues which causes my stomach to extend forward. So I just don’t know which to Target first. 😁

    1. Hi there Jackie,

      It doesn’t really matter which area to focus on at the start. Optimising any one part of the body will help with the body as a whole.

      In terms of what will give you the most bang for your buck, it is all a matter of trial and error.

      All the best!


    1. Hey Adam,

      This is really a hard question to answer! It really depends.

      But… in regards to the thoracic spine, I find it very tight in a majority of people.

      It’s going to take time and consistency. Keep motivated 🙂


  14. I have one side with of my neck with really tight scalene muscles. I have started implementing posture exercises for my very poor posture but how to I correct this issue?

    1. Hi Joelle,

      If one side of your neck has tight scalenes, you probably have a rotated and/or tilted neck.\

      On top of stretches, you will need to address why you have a tilt/rotation.

      A common cause (but not the only one) is scoliosis.

      I have a blog post coming out on this soon! Stay tuned 🙂


  15. Hello,

    I have dowagers hump and forward head from working at a desk job for years and I am looking to correct it. Will a posture corrector help? If so, which one would you recommend? I am a student, so something cost efficient would be great. Thank you, 🙂

      1. Hi mark, I am 16 years old, Is it true if I don’t get my dowagers hump fixed is going to get worst when Iam older because iam still growing¿

  16. I’m 21 yrs old and have a poor posture from many years. Now even if I try to sit straight, my back starts to pain. When I still continue the straight posture, my backbone feels like it’s going to break, because there is such terrible pain. So eventually I give up and come back sitting with my previous poor posture. What should I do? Does it actually pain this much? And is it okay for me to continue the straight posture even if the pain is terrible?

    1. Hi Suzy,

      Sounds like you are forcing the posture. This will result in more stiffness and possibly pain.

      You may need to work on releasing the tight structures to allow your good posture to become more natural for you.


      1. Hi Mark!,
        I’m 14 and have noticed a ball like thing on my back this month, my mom always told me to sit straight and maintain a good posture but I usually didnh believe her, but i would catch my self slouching in class and would fix my posture. But sitting in a chair most of the day just makes my back tired and this situation a lot worse :(. I use to dance most of my short life but having a good posture literally 24/7 would make me tired so I think that’s what caused me to slouch most of the time. MY BIG QUESTION IS, Can this be fixed by doing these exercises?!! Will it get rid of the ball in my neck?!!I don’t want this to worsen and definitely not give me pain, right now I don’t feel any pain. Also are back supporters good to use to help fix my posture while in school? And I’m hoping that’s good. Anyways sorry for the long paragraph. :/ -Amber

        1. Hey Amber,

          Yes – you can correct postural issues with exercises.

          I am not a huge fan of postural braces in the long term, however, they can help serve as a reminder to maintain good posture in the short term.


  17. Thank you so much for these tips! Would you also see an exaggerated lumbar lordosis with this posture? I have a pretty bad hunchback, with a good amount of lumbar lordosis. However, I don’t think I have an anteriorly rotated pelvis (so that rules out a swayback posture I believe). Is this the right article for me? Feel free to let me know. I’ve had TERRIBLE posture since I was in my teens, now I am almost 30 and can’t take it anymore. Having upper back pain. Trying to fix it before it gets worse!

    1. Hey Michelle,

      If you have a hunchback, then it is very likely you will have a hyperlordosis in the lower back.

      These exercises will be a great starting point for you.


  18. Iam 33years female, i had (a right sided curve) scoliosis fixation opoeration 14 years ago, then i had another operation for removal of the broken metal rods and all screws ayear ago, since then iam having increasing pain and increasing scoliosis and hyperkyphosis too, i had physiotherapy and pain therapy for months with no effects ……

  19. hey Mark
    Is it true that it is difficult to fix hunchback after age 20 because the spine stops growing ?
    i’m 20 now and I’m afraid I can not fix my posture with exercises

  20. Hi Mark, fantastic blog!

    Got a weird question for you. I solved (I think) my anterior pelvic tilt (and flat feet) with a physiotherapist a few years ago, but now I was told I have rounded shoulders and stiff neck muscles contributing to hunchback. One thing I notice is my lower ribs still flare out and I’m wondering if that’s somehow connected. Why do lower ribs flare and are there specific muscles or exercises I should focus more on to fix this? Thanks

    1. Hey there Cara,


      I am actually working on a post “How to fix your Rib flare” right now.

      It should be up by next week or so.

      Follow me on Facebook to make sure you get the notification.


  21. hello and Thanks for the great tips sir .
    At the end of the article you state that we shouldnt sit on the computer for 10 hours after these excercises but what if my job demands it . You see, I work a desk job for 9 hours a day but i try to stand as much as i can every 45 minutes at least . And i have also started working out at the gym and i try to excercise my back arches with some weights .I think I have had a hunchback for at least 7-8 years but I wasn’t able to go the doctor for reasons I cannot explain now and my back since i got this job(around 8 months) started to hurt . Do you have any tips ? And thank you very much for the article.

  22. Hello Mark,
    I’m 27 years male, recently in a X-RAY test i found out the cause of lower back ache which was since last 7 months. The report says there is a loss of LUMBAR LORDOSIS. I request you to kindly guide me for the correct posture which i should follow regularly including sleeping postures if any. As i’m working guy who has on table job for 8-9 hours sitting in my office and working on PC/Laptop. This is only issue in body which i want to cure as soon as possible also i don’t prefer medication for all these.
    So please suggest some posture or any eBook with the same.

    Thank You.

  23. Hi mark, as of yet my back doesn’t allow me to be able to do the superman, is this a bad problem or is there an alternative exercise that I can do until I am able to do the superman?

    1. Hi Danny,

      You can just do the CHEST LIFT exercise with your chest supported on a stool.

      If you are too curved in the upper back (kyphotic), you will have to work on getting it less hunched so that eventually you should be able to do the superman flat on the floor.


  24. If someone has multiple posture issues, in my case for example: hunchback and anterior pelvic tilt. should I first care about only one or should I do the excersises for both issues.

    1. Hey Mike,

      Great question.

      Many of these postural issues are inter-linked. Meaning – a change in one area will likely change another area.

      In terms of what to focus – I would do all exercises if you have the time.

      If you are short for time, focus on the area that will give you the most benefit once corrected. For eg. I find that many people who correct their hunch back posture, will see some improvement in their anterior pelvic tilt.

      Hope this answers your question.


  25. Dear Mark,

    I have had poor posture for several years. However, now even when I sit upright I am not able to straighten my spine completely. There is a small curve. Is this what is considered structural kyphosis? If so, do you think exercises and constantly sitting and standing in excellent posture can greatly diminish the curve degree over time? Or is there no hope – only surgery?

    1. Hi Vanessa,

      These exercises should help reduce the size of your kyphosis over time.

      But it really depends on how long you’ve had it, how significant the kyphosis is, past history, hereditary factors etc.

      It has probably taken some time for it to develop, so it will take some patience and consistency to address it.


  26. Hi Mark,
    I have a Hunchback posture,Forward head posture,
    Rounded shoulders and Anterior pelvic tilt problem.
    So could you please give me an advise for all of problem.
    I’d read your articles, but I have 4 bed posture !
    So I’m not sure which exercises will match with all 4 posture by the way thanks for reply Mark.

  27. Hi Mark,
    Hunchback posture,Forward head posture,
    Rounded shoulders and Anterior pelvic tilt, I think
    I’ve got those problem right now, Is it possible ?
    what should I do now ? I have read your articles but if I do all exercise it a lot of time to do, can you give me an advise thanks.

    1. Hey Patt,

      Looks like you have a cluster of postural problems! (don’t worry, it is actually common)

      There are quite a lot of exercises to do. And when you have more than one more problem, they certainly do add up.

      Try addressing the area first that gives you the most pain.

      After that, I would address either your thoracic spine or pelvic region.


  28. Hi, when I put myself in an upright posture the left and right sides of mid back have these small curved humps that show. Does that mean I have structural kyphosis? Also I have started doing these exercises and a few more every day 3 times a day. If I keep up with this how long will it take for the humps to go away. Of course, everyone is different but on average. You insight is highly appreciated!

    1. Hi Sara,

      When you say that you have small curved humps, do you mean the muscles that lie either side of your spine are more prominent?

      If so – this is very common with the kyphotic posture. It’s your back muscles trying very hard to hold your upper torso more upright.

      When dealing with this kind of posture, it can take over a couple of months.

      However – there should be some quick small improvements if you do the exercises on the daily.


      1. Thank you very much for your reply. Yes, on either side of my spine, very close to it are two small humps. However, my shoulder area including blades protrude out (from both sides with a narrow straight center) and I feel like something keeps them from being in. Is it possible that muscle from under keep it out or is it more likely that my ribcage is curved inward? I realize what you say is limited by what I tell you and I am going to go to a doctor to see in person but your thoughts in the meantime mean a lot!

  29. My work involves mostly being at a computer and developing hunchback. Can you recommend a chair or help for sitting to keep better posture?

  30. Hi Mark,

    I’m just getting started and know that I won’t keep up with this many exercises. If I were to build up to doing more, are there just a couple that I could start with doing consistently?

  31. Hey Mark,

    Is there an actual difference between a hunchback and rounded shoulders? Aren’t these terms simply interchangeable?

    1. Hey Nate,

      Hunchback posture refers to the spine being in flexion (thoracic kyphosis).

      But – you are definitely correct. The hunchback posture will also have rounded shoulders as part of it.

      However – Rounded shoulders can also occur without a flexed upper spine.

      Hope this clears things up for you.


    1. Sway back posture can involve a Hunch back posture. I guess you can say it’s the bigger picture.

      Where as hunch back posture just refers to the thoracic being flexed forward.


  32. Hi Mark, thanks for the exercise tips! What is your opinion on the posture corrector or shoulder brace in the market? They claim to fix the body posture just by wearing them.

    1. Hi Dillon,

      They serve as a great reminder to maintain good posture, however, if you wear them excessively, your actual postural muscles will become lazy. (… And more often than not, the posture becomes worse when you take them off!)


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