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Exercises for Osteoporosis Dowager's Hump

Dowager's hump, or kyphosis, is often associated with osteoporosis. The upper back is rounded and there may be a hump; the shoulders are hunched forward, the chin and head jut forward and the hips are rounded in.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, this forward rounded position often is the result of poor posture and tight, weak muscles. The muscles in your upper back can be strengthened to help you stand up straight and the muscles in the chest can be stretched to help open your shoulders. Dowager's hump can be the result of fractures in the spine.

The National Osteoporosis Foundation (see Resources) states that if you have osteoporosis, you should be careful about exercising. NOF recommends avoiding exercises that involve twisting of the spine, high impact activities or bending from the waist. NOF also recommends that you should consult with a knowledgeable physician about your fracture risk before starting any exercise program.

Alternate Arm Lift
Lie on your stomach on the floor. (Lying on a bed is too soft and will not support your back.) Place your forehead or chin on the floor and stretch your arms overhead with the palms facing the floor. The arms should be about shoulder width apart. Tighten your abdominal and buttocks muscles to help support your low back. Exhale and lift the right hand and arm off the floor as much as you can without rolling sideways. Try to keep the elbow straight and near your ear. If you are not strong enough to lift the arm up, try bending the elbow a bit until you can lift your whole arm up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift. Slowly lower the right arm, then repeat with the other arm. Do eight to twelve repetitions with each arm. If this exercise bothers your low back, slide a small pillow or blanket under your hips to stop the back form over arching. With time as you get stronger, try again without the pillow. You can also add light weights to this exercise to make your upper back even stronger.

Theraband Row
Sit up straight in a chair so your back is not touching the chair. Use your abdominal muscles to help you sit up straight. Wrap the band or tubing round a secure railing or table leg. Hold the band (or the handles of the band if it has them) in your hands. Turn your palms so they face each other. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your hands straight back to your waist. Slowly release your hands forward. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed, and do not rock your body as you pull. Do eight to twelve repetitions.

Theraband Diagonal Pull
Sit up straight in a chair and use your abdominal muscles to help you stay up straight. Grab the tubing or band with both hands so that your palms face down. (The closer your hands are together the more tension there is in the band so slide your hands in or out as needed.) In a diagonal movement, pull your right hand up and your left hand down. The tubing or band should be stretched across the front of your body. Release slowly and repeat with the left hand up and the right hand down. Make sure you pull equally with both hands and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you pull. Do eight to twelve repetitions each way.

"W" Stretch
Stand about one foot away from a wall and lean back so that your upper back, buttocks and back of the head are against the wall. Bend your knees slightly to help protect your low back. Be careful to not lift your chin or tip your head back in order to make the head touch the wall. If the head does not touch with good form, just come as close as you can. Bring the arms up into a"W" position with the palms facing forward. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Bring your elbows and back of the hands to the wall. Keep the hands directly over the elbows. If you cannot touch the wall, just come as close as you can. Do eight to twelve repetitions and then hold back for a slow thirty-second count.