Dowager’s hump / Hunchback

Why the back bends in osteoporosis

Dowager's hump - Dowager's hump

The dowager’s hump – hunchback in osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can result in vertebral body fractures. If left untreated, these usually lead to an increasingly bent posture, i.e., hunchback development of the back. This is often accompanied by a noticeable loss of body size in those affected. Both can lead to shortening, hardening and stiffness of the muscles and tendons. The accompanying chronic back pain is mainly caused by static changes of the entire spinal column. The hunchback, also called dowager’s hump in connection with osteoporosis, shifts the body’s centre of gravity forward. This is referred to by the doctor as pathological kyphosis (curvature). The changed structure results in an increased tendency to sway. This can in turn lead to a higher risk of falling. The Spinomed spine straightening back orthoses can counteract this poor posture.

Causes for a dowager’s hump / hunchback

A dowager’s hump is usually caused by vertebral fractures due to osteoporosis. This is a metabolism-related skeletal disease that is also known as “bone loss”. Post-menopausal and elderly women are particularly affected. The earlier colloquial expression therefore for the hunchback associated with the disease is “dowager’s hump”.

In osteoporosis, the bones lose density and stability. Fractures are particularly common in the femur and spine. If the vertebral bodies collapse, it is referred to as “compression fractures".

Symptoms of dowager’s hump / hunchback

The complaint of back pain is considered to be the main symptom of osteoporotic vertebral fracture. If there is acute back pain, then vertebral fractures are suspected – especially if the affected person is over 50 years old and there are risk factors for osteoporosis. In osteoporosis, pulmonary function may also be impaired by fractures (bone fractures) and curvature in the thoracic spine.

Treating dowager’s hump – hunchback

If the dowager’s hump is caused by osteoporosis, Spinomed back orthoses can be used to accompany the therapy. They activate the back muscles and can reduce the kyphosis angle1,2 (angle of curvature). Thanks to the innovative belt system, the user is guided upright according to the biofeedback mode of action

Find out more about further therapy measures here.

Diagnosis & treatment

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Back brace for the treatment of osteoporosis

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