Widow’s hump – what is it?

First association with this phrase? A woman after losing her husband, it’s simple and unambiguous! Well, not necessarily … The condition known as the widow’s hump can also affect men, more often the elderly, but it can also be observed in young people. It is a kind of thickening at the junction of the cervical spine with the thoracic spine. If you are tired of chronic neck and shoulder pain, I invite you to read on the topic!

Where does this name come from?

In short, the name was given to women who lost their man during the war and assumed the characteristic “stooped” mourning, depressed attitude. Their silhouette was characterised by a forward head (cervical hyperlordosis), forward shoulders (protracted position) and a rounded thoracic section (thoracic hyperphosis), especially its upper part.

How is it made?

Once again, the reason is a sedentary lifestyle. People working in front of a badly set computer and driver are particularly vulnerable, where the position forces them to assume the shape described above. The spine protects itself against overloads and a bulge in the form of a connective tissue superstructure is formed in the place of the lower cervical segment. This area is usually tender and painful. Sometimes patients complain of migraine headaches (due to the constant tension in the surrounding tissues) and breathing problems (resulting from the contracture of the pectoral muscles and the “closing” of the chest). Other causes of musculoskeletal imbalance, and thus the formation of a widow’s hump, may also include genetic predisposition, spinal disorders, osteoporosis, vision problems (e.g. myopia), elastopathy or upper cross syndrome.

How is it manifested?

The widow’s hump develops gradually. Initially, it may appear as “normal” cervical pain. Only after the formation of the muscle shaft does it give symptoms such as:

  • tingling and tingling hands (known as paraesthesia)
  • pain in the cervico-thoracic region and between the shoulder blades
  • pain radiating towards the shoulder girdle and upper limb
  • nausea and dizziness
  • swelling of the fingers after a night
  • migraines
  • ear noise
  • restriction of the range of neck mobility
  • bruxism (teeth grinding, teeth clenching) as a result of increased tension in the temporomandibular joints
  • pseudo-cardiac symptoms (a feeling of pricking or pressure in the chest, difficulty in breathing) occurring as a result of high tension in the chest muscles

How to deal with it?

As you can see, the aesthetic problem is not the only concern of people struggling with the widow’s hump. This dysfunction causes changes in a large part of our body, therefore it is necessary to cooperate with a physiotherapist. Thanks to techniques such as trigger point therapy, transverse massage or post-isometric muscle relaxation, you can balance the tension in your body and deal with unpleasant ailments.

There is nothing to wait for, 
the greater the disturbance the more work it takes to recover. 
Time works against you and causes it further changes.