Are you tired of glancing in the mirror and seeing an unflattering hump on your neck? Ready to break free from the dreaded hunchback look with help from some exercises? Well, then, you've reached the right place!
In this blog post, I will show you how to get rid of that pesky lump once and for all—and hopefully tweak your posture while we're at it.
These six targeted exercises are easy enough for beginners but powerful enough for even advanced fitness pros who want more out of their workout routine.
So buckle up and join me on this journey as we discover how something as simple as certain bodyweight moves can make all the difference in getting rid of that pesky neck hump.
What is a Neck Hump?
A buffalo hump is something that many of us have probably seen or even had ourselves. Fat accumulation on the back of the neck, between the shoulder blades, can cause certain diseases, lousy posture, and even aging.
Poor posture can come at a cost, both physically and mentally. If you find yourself chronically slouching with your back bent forward, it is unflattering and puts extra stress on the back muscles.
This one-dimensional positioning causes strain on our spinal disks, which could lead to upper and lower back pain and difficulty with tightness in the legs. It’s essential to try and stay conscious of your body's positioning—one way to prevent this problem is by maintaining good posture.
Following a healthy lifestyle that helps keep osteoporosis from progressing also avoids developing spine compression fractures which worsen the curve of your upper back.
Moreover, regular exercise is a great way to help reduce the symptoms of the neck hump. Doing exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles in your neck can provide relief from pain, improve your range of motion, and help prevent future hunching. Exercises such as shoulder rolls and chin tucks can effectively improve posture and muscle strength in this area.
What Causes a Neck Hump?
Here are some causes of neck hump that can help you correct these mistakes and get back to your regular neck.
Osteoporosis is a condition that can lead to a compression fracture in the spine and cause a noticeable outward curvature of the upper back, known as a hunchback.
This happens because the fracture leads to an increased forward curve, meaning the head is dropped forward more than usual, and you have to pull it back and up to continue looking forward.
Less often, the spine might develop incorrectly, even before birth. Later, a kyphosis known as Scheuermann's Kyphosis appears in teens and causes the spine to form into a wedge instead of having a rectangle shape.
Arthritis often occurs when the body overcompensates for chronic neck pain associated with arthritis. Over time, if this pain continues to worsen, there can be an increase in hunching and curving of the upper thoracic spine.
Arthritis of the lower neck could cause the head to lean forward naturally to keep the arthritic area more comfortable.
As people age, they may also experience a significant loss of mass in their spinal vertebrae, creating postural changes and making any existing hump appear more pronounced.
Excess fat stored around where the neck meets the upper back can manifest as a "hump." Regardless of where it comes from, managing this hump requires awareness of how we stand and sit to keep our bodies balanced.
Best Exercise to Get Rid of Neck Hump
Neck humps can be hard on everybody, so to relieve yourself from this issue, you need to give these exercises a swift go and then see the perfect solution for your neck.
1. Shoulder Rolls
A prominent hump on the back of your neck can lead to problematic issues like chronic pain and poor posture.
Fortunately, by letting go of tension in the front and rear of the shoulders, this simple exercise can help alleviate that neck hump. There is no need for special equipment or gym memberships; you can take this movement into action anytime, anywhere.
To do it:
- Start by standing upright and keeping your arms at your sides.
- Then, roll your shoulders 12 times in every direction, both forward and backward.
- Take a little rest and return to three more cycles.
2. Diagonal Band Stretch
If you want to improve your posture and strengthen your back and shoulders, there's an awesome three-directional exercise that can do just that. It promotes thoracic extension, which helps straighten up any rounded backs, and you'll feel it in the middle of your spine – exactly where most people need more support. To do it:
- Stretch your band diagonally with your hands facing the opposite way while you grip either end.
- Then, change the direction and stretch the band across your chest horizontally to complete the action.
- Finally, keep your thumbs up, relax your neck and push your shoulder blades together while you tug on the band.
3. Chin Tuck
Chin tucks are an excellent stretching exercise for anyone wanting to fix the dreaded neck hump. They target the muscles at the front of your neck while giving them a good stretch and strengthening the muscles in the back. It's like a two-in-one deal for those seeking an exercise to target problem areas. To do it:
- Lower your chin and press it into your neck like a double chin.
- Next, raise it upwards.
- Repeat it 12 times, take a little break and then repeat 3 times more.
4. Pec Stretch
The pec stretch is one of the best exercises you can perform to help reduce the size of a neck hump. This exercise is designed to improve the range of motion and flexibility of your neck, decrease stiffness, and essentially help alleviate neck humps. It's simple, easy to do, and requires no special equipment. To do it:
- Start by facing a wall diagonally, and place your forearm and elbow so your elbow is at chest level.
- Move your body away from the wall while keeping your arm on it till you feel a stretch in your chest. Pause for 30 seconds and make 4-5 reps.
- Repeat on the other side.
5. Wall Extension Stretches
One way to improve this issue is with a wall extension stretch. This stretch doesn’t require any equipment and helps to lengthen the spine, widen the chest, and open the lungs while reducing pain.
It can also help improve posture from sitting in a hunched-over position for extended periods, which can worsen neck hunching. To do it:
- Touch the wall using both hands.
- Hinge your hips backward while keeping a straight back, and slowly lower your chest to the ground.
- Avoid dragging your head toward the ground and maintaining it parallel to your spine.
- Keep your mid back and chest straight, so they feel the stretch.
- This move will loosen your chest muscles and mobilize your midback’s rigid spine.
- Repeat 10 times.
Doing this simple stretching sequence a few times daily can make a big difference for those trying to cope with or reduce their neck hump over time.
6. Thoracic Mobilization on a Ball
Thoracic Mobilization on a Ball is a go-to exercise to reduce the appearance of a neck hump. This method frees up the stabilizing muscles and increases your thoracic spine's flexibility, mobility, and range of motion. To do it:
- Kneel on the ground with your arms in front of you on the ball.
- Put your forehead between your arms.
- Gradually open your arms and let your head fall towards the ground.
- Keep the area between your shoulder blades as leaning towards the ground.
- Maintain your neck neutrally with no strain.
- Inhale and feel a stretch in your upper back.
- Make 10-15 repetitions.
The Bottom Line
A neck hump is the accumulation of fat on the back of the neck. The causes of this problem are some diseases like osteoporosis, arthritis, poor posture, aging, excess fat, and kyphosis. To prevent this problem, you must stay conscious of your body positioning and urge yourself to exercise regularly.
Exercising is a natural treatment for your neck hump. Some are chin tucks, shoulder rolls, pec stretch, diagonal band stretch, wall extension stretch, and thoracic mobilization on a ball. You must stay consistent and perform these exercises accurately for an effective solution. Happy Relief!
- Lee, Myoung-Hyo, et al. ‘Effects of Neck Exercise on High-School Students’ Neck–Shoulder’. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, vol. 25, no. 5, May 2013, pp. 571–74. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1589/jpts.25.571.