Many women and men develop a “humpback” as they age – often starting in their 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s. “Humpback” or Kyphosis tends to run in families. There is a genetic component. But there are factors in nutrition and exercise that you can totally control. Especially if you start early enough.
You cannot see your “humpback” by looking at yourself in the mirror face to face. You have to look at yourself from the side, which is hard without a double mirror. The first clue a woman has, is that she can no longer buy fitted clothing off the rack. Fitted clothing is designed for people without a “humpback”. It just doesn’t fit rounded shoulders.
“Humpback” decreases lung capacity, decreases apetite, and increases constipation. Your chest volume decreases as your back hunches forward. Then your lungs must fight with your intestines for space in your belly. Breathing and digestion both deteriorate. You just feel old.
Falls and Fractures also increase. The forward tilt of “humpback” throws you off balance. You eventually need a cane or walker to avoid falling forward when walking. Even getting up from a chair tends to pitch you onto your face. Going down stairs tempts a tumble.
You have difficulty seeing ahead when walking. You become shorter and not be able to reach a top shelf. These are sure signs of significant “humpback”.
“Humpback” kyphosis makes you old before your time. We generally consider this “natural”, but it does not have to happen. You can take action to prevent it.
I will discuss how you can Take Control next time.
Jay Ginther, MD