advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Cure for a Dowager's Hump?

What is dowager's hump? Are there remedies to stop the growth?

A
Answer (Published 1/5/2010)

A dowager's hump is a severe rounding of the upper back. In older women, it is a sign of advanced osteoporosis, the result of compression fractures of weakened vertebrae. These fractures can be painful, although in many cases there are no symptoms other than abnormal posture. This change is not a "growth" - it is an alteration in the shape of the spine due to weakened, damaged bone.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Joint Health - Bone and joint issues a concern? Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor has herbs, vitamins and supplements that address bone and joint conditions, as well as others health problems. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation today.

I discussed your question with Victoria Maizes, M.D., executive director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. Dr. Maizes said that the “treatment” for a dowager's hump is prevention - taking recommended steps to prevent the bone loss that typically occurs with age, particularly in women after menopause.

However, Dr. Maizes said that there is one treatment that can be helpful for patients who have pain resulting from vertebral fractures. This is a procedure called “vertebroplasty” that involves injecting a type of "bone cement" into the vertebrae to stabilize them. It is usually effective for fractures less than six months old. To determine whether you're a candidate, you'll need spinal X-rays and an MRI or bone scan to identify the fractures and determine how old they are. Another procedure, kyphoplasty, is similar and is used for patients with compression fractures in the lower half of the spine. It has the potential of restoring bone height in the vertebra and reducing spinal deformity.

And a recent study in California showed that a small group of elderly women trained in yoga saw a slight reduction in their spinal curvatures after taking yoga classes three times a week for six months compared to a similar group of women who didn't perform yoga (and who had an increase in their spinal curvatures). The study was published in the September 2009 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

While yoga and the procedures mentioned above may help in some cases, in general, I recommend following these preventive strategies for osteoporosis.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here