Long life is good, but old age is not so easy. The aging process is quite a difficult process sometimes. The kinds of changes that happen to the body can be bothersome. If you have ever seen or heard of Dowager’s Hump before, then you know what we are saying. Medically, this is called kyphosis. This condition makes old people, mostly women to appear stooped with a hunchback. It is, however, relieving to know that in a lot of cases, you can prevent this condition. This article talks about how to prevent hunchback in old age. These mostly include lifestyle factors.
When a person has Dowager’s Hump, (or age-related hunchback) the spine would lean forward. This makes the upper back to curve outward, giving the appearance of a hunchback. The backbones would be compressed in their front section, the person then leans forward, slouches the shoulders, and the back gradually takes a round shape.
This is the typical look of a permanent upper-back hump. Age-related hunchback does not pop up over the night. It starts slowly and becomes worse over time. It is mostly related to bad posture (leaning forward too much. So much of the preventive measures would involve posture management. Dietary factors sometimes play a role too.
What You Should Know About Age-Related Hunchback
It is not every time that age-related hunchback is a complication of bad posture. Sometimes, it is a complication of severe bone disease, called osteoporosis. When a person has osteoporosis, the bone thins out; bone density reduces and could cause spinal deformity.
This often occurs in post-menopausal women. The hormonal changes that come with menopause reduce the ability of a woman’s body to absorb calcium. So then, older women don’t have as much calcium available to their bones like they did in their younger years.
Calcium is very vital for strong bones. It helps to build bone density. When there is not enough calcium, bone density reduces and causes osteoporosis. This, in turn, deforms the spine and makes it curve in, thus giving it a hunchback appearance.
Doctors call this condition kyphosis or kyphoscoliosis. If you think it’s only bad posture and osteoporosis that causes kyphosis, there is still more. Some medications can cause it too.
For instance, one of the possible side effects of antiretroviral drugs used to treat AIDS is spine curvature. Corticosteroid drugs may cause hunchback too from extended use.
Cushing’s syndrome, which causes overproduction of cortisol in the body, may also cause a humped back. However, this is quite rare.
In most situations, it is clear that age-related hunchback is a complication of bad posture. If you always put your head forwards than most other parts of your body, you stand a high risk of developing hunchback in old age.
Leaning forward to work on your computer, texting too much, using your cell phone to read, etc. are common reasons. These often cause buffalo hump at first. Lots of fat and calcium would be deposited behind your neck.
With time, this becomes worse and worse until it becomes a full-blown hunchback. In clear terms, what happens is that your chin would begin to move towards your ribcage. And if you don’t treat this on time, serious pain may develop in the neck, shoulders, and back.
That’s not all. Spinal degeneration will also occur and new muscles begin to spring up to support the head. But then, there will be excessive pressure on the new muscles. They will be under serious overuse and constant strain. This would cause pain, discomfort, and more spine deformity.
How to Prevent Hunchback in Old Age
When you hear all the complications that may come with an age-related hunchback, the next question that comes to mind is how to prevent it.
Thankfully, you can put in measures to prevent age-related hunchback and you can treat and cure it too. But like they say, prevention is always better than cure. It is better to avoid it altogether than to start looking for a cure later in life.
You can prevent age-related hunchback in the following ways:
Increase calcium intake
This is very important for women, especially whether you are pre- or post-menopausal. As a woman, you should make sure you get 1,800 milligrams of calcium each day. Anything lower than that is not so good for your long-term health
However, you should speak with your doctor about this to be sure that you’re safe with that dose. Sometimes, calcium may also have a negative interaction with other drugs. All these must be checked before you increase your intake.
Weight-bearing exercises like strength training are good for increasing bone density. But this happens over time, so you must be consistent with the exercise. Exercises that encourage good alignment, posture, and flexibility are also very helpful.
A very healthy diet goes a long way too. It is important for everything. It’s like the foundation on which good health is built.
Make sure your diet is rich in veggies and fruits. This helps a lot. Meanwhile, avoid carbonated soda drinks. They contain compounds like phosphoric acid that can affect bone density negatively. Some experts have said that caffeine is bad too, and can cause osteoporosis.
Adjust your posture
The list would not be complete f we don’t mention the issue of posture. You must take conscious effort to adjust your posture properly. This starts from being mindful of it and making adjustments when need be. You should avoid postures that make you slouch forward.
Your old age does not have to be miserable. You can begin to put in measures now to prevent some of the woes of old age. This is very important if you have seen people in your family have hunchback in their old age.
If you follow the tips we have provided on how to prevent hunchback in old age, you would not have to stress over it later in life. Who says old age cannot be spent in good health? But then, taking preventive measures when you are still young is one of the starting points.