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 to expect in this post:


// What is a Hunchback posture?

kyphosis

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?

rounded-backthoracic-kyphosis

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 Hunchback 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:

rounded-upper-back

Instructions:

  • 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

backdouble

 

// 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

Instructions:

  • 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

Instructions:

  • 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

Instructions:

  • 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

Instructions:

  • 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

rotation

Instructions:

  • 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

Instructions:

  • 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

Instructions:

  • 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

superman-exercise

Instructions:

  • 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

Instructions:

  • 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.

To summarize – Stop exposing yourself to the very things that are causing you to have a Hunchback posture in the first place!


I hope this post will help you fix your Hunchback posture!

Leave a comment down below.

I would love to hear from you!

 


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About

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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30 thoughts on “Hunchback posture: Fix it now!

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

      Mark

  3. 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.

      Mark

  4. 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.

      Mark

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

      Mark

  7. 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.

      Mark

      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!

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

  9. 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?

  10. 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.

      Mark

    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.

      Mark

  11. 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!)

      Mark

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