Dowager’s Hump – What does it mean for us bassists?

Violet DowagerWikipedia says that “a dowager is a widow who holds a title or property, or dower, derived from her deceased husband.” For those of you who are Downtown Abbey fans, you probably think of Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham. For us bassists, Dowager’s hump is that nasty hump on our shoulders that develops from hunching over and bad posture.

Fear not fellow bassists! Prevention is the key to battling Dowager’s Hump. It takes a long time to get there and it requires awareness and the strengthening of muscles away from your bass in order to keep you properly vertical.

Dowager’s hump is a more informal term used to describe a medical condition of the back called kyphosis. Kyphosis is a type of scoliosis that is characterized by a roundness of your spine–curving in a C-shape. The severity of the condition and the spinal flexibility you sustain depends on the type of kyphosis you have. Postural kyphosis is generally less serious than Scheuermann’s kyphosis, which can lead to less mobility and significant deformity, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, or AAOS. Core-strengthening exercises can be beneficial to people who have a dowager’s hump, under the supervision of their doctor.

Doing a quick Google search, you can a lot of exercises for building the right muscles to prevent Dowager’s Hump. Yoga is always a good and gentle way to strengthen and elongate the spine, but there are also a few other exercises you can use throughout your day.

Here is a simple exercise that feels great in the shoulders and upper back:

Is your chin sticking out when you practice? Try this exercise:

The Livestrong website also discusses various the importance of core exercises to strengthen your stomach as well as your back. Do you have any special exercises that you use? Share them below!

Dr. Randall Kertz

Dr. Randall Kertz  is the primary physician at Health Care Specialists, Ltd., and has been practicing chiropractic and acupuncture at this and other locations for over 15 years.  He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology.
The current location in Niles is the primary treatment center, although frequently services are performed at other venues. Dr. Kertz often treats musicians for various injuries they may sustain on the road or locally, and is the on call chiropractor for many Chicago area music venues, and is occasionally called on to go on the road for short periods of time. His clientele include many local, national and international acts, some famous, some not. He is team physician for Health Kick Martial Arts competition team.
He has done extensive work with acupuncture, specialising in musculoskeletal problems and addiction therapies.