Synergy Chiropractic

The dreaded “granny hump”

You know what I’m referring to. That ‘granny hump’ on the upper back that you’ve likely seen on people usually older than 50. Sadly, we are seeing it more and more in younger and younger people.

This week’s blog will answer some of the important questions regarding “Granny Hump”

What is it?
Why does it happen?
What can we do to get rid of it?
How do we get rid of it?

In order to understand what it is, we need to start with what a normal posture is.

From the front, the hips, shoulders and ears should all be level and the head should line up directly over the midline of the hips. From the side, the ear should line up over the shoulder; the shoulder over the hips; and the hips over the outside of the ankle. That’s what things look like on the outside. On the inside (via an x-ray), we should see a forward c-shaped curve in the neck, a backward c-shaped curve in the mid back and another forward c-shaped curve in the low back. In this position, the spine is in the strongest position possible and most importantly, the nervous system is free to move and is relaxed neuro-structurally.

The Granny Hump

The hump, technically referred to as Dowager’s Hump, can be the result of several bio-mechanical faults that come with a lack of maintenance. Our heads weigh between 12-14lbs on average. As the head translates (shifts) forward over the shoulders, it causes a reciprocal backward shift of the shoulders to compensate. The weight of the head is pulled down by gravity and we end up losing and gravity ends up winning Not good. We call this (AHS) Anterior Head Syndrome. AHS causes a myriad of secondary problems like TMJ dysfunction, headaches, neck pain, mid back pain, low back pain, cervicogenic vertigo, numbness and tingling into the arms and hands, and more.

As a result of this forward shift of the head, the ligaments and soft tissues on the back of the neck become weak, tired and irritated from constantly trying to keep the head up. In an effort to counter this, the body begins to lay down fat tissue in an effort to stabilize the tissues. Over time, the fat accumulates and the we see a hump emerge.

Left alone, the hump grows as we age and gravity pulls us further forward. The shoulders shift further back and the hips then move forward to counter the balance of the body and a ‘sway-back’ effect happens.

Other causes of the Dowager’s hump can be osteoporosis (softening of the bones causes compression fractures within the vertebrae), hemi-vertebrae (the vertebrae are malformed when they developed in the fetus), arthritides like Sheuermann’s disease.  Regardless of the condition, the following exercises can help improve the posture and add strength to the system of joints and muscles.

The Fix

We have to correct the posture and the Anterior Head Syndrome. We have to ensure that the proper neck curve is present and we have to be aware and cognizant of our posture always.

Try these exercises:
1. Wall Slides:

Wall Slides

Great for strengthening the upper back






2. Chin Tucks:

chin tucks

Chin tucks








3. Thoracic extension exercises

thoracic extensions

Remedy for prolonged sitting







4. Seated cat/cow


Seated cat cow exercises are great to do every hour at work or school








5. Swimmers


Swimmers exercise










By working through this series of exercises, daily, you will strengthen the muscles of the upper back and neck to work on correcting your posture. Now truly, working the muscles and strengthening will help but only so far. Creating the spinal neuro-structural shifts takes time through proper alignment and neuro-structural corrective traction. If you find that after doing these exercises, you aren’t seeing a change in your postural alignment, then I recommend scheduling a consultation to determine whether a NeuroStructural shift or a loss of normal cervical curve in your spine is holding you back from getting rid of the Granny hump.

That Bad Old Hip (and What to Do About It)

Does your hip not shake like Shakira’s anymore?  Do you get a pinching feeling in the front of your hip when you sit or squat?  There aren’t too many daily activities that don’t require the use of your hips. It’s easily the most powerful joint in the body and is subject to tremendous force.

The hip is a ball and socket joint that connects your legs to your pelvis. If you have been suffering from hip pain, even walking around the house can be difficult. However, is that bad old hip a result of age or joint imbalance?

Why it Matters:

Chronic hip pain has historically been treated with injections or even hip replacements. These invasive treatments have been performed tens of thousands of times per year, with mixed results. Thankfully, new research has begun to show that proper maintenance of your hips may be able to save you from the scalpel.  When your low back, hips, and pelvis are balanced and have a full range of motion, your hips will have equal wear and tear, and they’re designed to last a lifetime! Researchers have found that adjustments to the low back and hips can improve hip pain by over 60% and provide a statistically significant improvement in range of motion.

– Low impact exercise and adjustments can improve range of motion and reduce your pain.

– Research has shown improvement in hip pain by over 60% after chiropractic adjustments.

– Adjustments have been shown to be over 30% more effective than exercise for easing the pain of hip osteoarthritis.

Next Steps:

If you know someone who has a “hitch in their giddy-up,” invite them to our upcoming workshop where we will provide actionable health tips on how they can improve their quality of life without dangerous medications and risky surgery.

MOVE BY DESIGN WORKSHOP – September 12, 2019 @ 7:15PM

Science Source(s):

Relationship Between the Hip and Low Back Pain in Athletes Who Participate in Rotation-Related Sports. J Sport Rehab 2009

A Single-Group Design Using Full Kinetic Chain Manipulative Therapy with Rehabilitation in the Treatment of 18 Patients with Hip Osteoarthritis. JMPT 2010

Comparison of Manual Therapy and Exercise Therapy in Osteoarthritis of the Hip: a Randomized Clinical Trial. Arthritis Rheum. 2004

Stressed Out and Sneezing

August is here and so begins the ‘sneezing season’ for some allergy sufferers.  Ragweed wreaks havoc on many this time of year.  Itchy eyes and ears, sneezing, scratchy throats – it can be crippling.

What many people don’t realize is there is high levels of stress can cause your allergies to become worse. This has been confirmed by research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology.  Mental stress can upset the balance of your nervous system and immune system. If your nervous system is overstimulated with stress, it can affect the response of your immune system to an allergen.

How is that possible?

Our nervous systems have two divisions – the sympathetic (gas pedal) and parasympathetic (brake pedal).  You probably remember the terms ‘high or flight’ (sympathetic) or the ‘rest/digest’ (parasympathetic) from high school health classes.  Both of these systems work simultaneously to keep us constantly adapting to changes in our bodies and outside our bodies every second of the day.  Think of both systems working together like two kids on a teeter totter.  Sometimes the sympathetic system needs to be ‘up’ and at other times, the parasympathetic system takes a turn working harder.  Both offset each other to avoid one system becoming dominant.

So here’s how it affects you as an allergy sufferer.  The sympathetic system is responsible for our response to allergens.  When pollen or dust contacts the membranes of the nose or eyes, the body launches an immune assault to resist it.  This drives up histamine.  If the sympathetic system is overly dominant, then the histamine levels can be greater than necessary.

Schedules, finances, workloads, not enough exercise, poor diets, chemical stress and more can press down on our ‘gas pedal’ causing our system into sympathetic dominance.

So with that understanding, by decreasing mental, physical and chemical stress, your immune system can function better and head off many allergies at the pass.

Why it Matters:

Exciting new research has showcased how stress reduction can reduce the symptoms we associate with seasonal allergies. Meditation and chiropractic adjustments have been shown to reduce stress levels. And with reduced stress levels, your immune system has the potential to function at a higher level. Feeling more relaxed is something all of us could benefit from- and it may even help reduce your seasonal allergies.

– Physical, chemical, and emotional stress can cause your immune system to become hypersensitive.

– A hypersensitive immune system often overreacts to a potential threat resulting in worsening allergies.

– Reduce stress, and allergies, with a stress-reducing activity like exercise, meditation, or even getting chiropractic adjustments!

Next Steps:

Aside from putting you in a bad mood, being over-stressed has far-reaching effects on your body. If you “start to feel your allergies coming on” find stress-reducing activities that you enjoy. It may be reading a book, meditating, getting a massage, or perhaps even getting a chiropractic adjustment. Feeling better mentally and reducing your seasonal allergies are just a few of the benefits you can expect by lowering your stress levels!

Take a moment and think about one thing that you could do to reduce your stress and plan how you intend to do just that.

Science Source: Stress and Allergic Diseases. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2011.

Dr. Craig Hazel’s mission is to help families THRIVE. After graduating from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education, he went on to earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree and a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy from Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas Texas. He is passionate about seeing children and families in his private practice at Synergy Chiropractic in Kanata Ontario. A sought after speaker, he has been featured regularly on TSN Team 1200, CTV and Rogers TV. He is also the Chairman of the Alliance for Chiropractic of Ontario.

The Link Between Posture and Shoulder Motion

Your shoulder is one of the most complex joints in your body. It is surrounded and supported by a complex network of nerves, tendons, muscles, and ligaments.  Many of these structures tie back to your spine or mid-back and neck.  Your posture, or position, directly impacts the motion of your shoulder and scapula.  When the shoulder and scapula are moving properly, they work together.  When they aren’t, the arm does more of the work leading to more stress on the rotator cuff leading to strains and possibly tears over time.

Long hours at a desk or computer can lead to postural changes and muscle imbalances. Poor posture and a forward head position can lead to “upper cross syndrome.”

Upper cross syndrome is an imbalance of the muscles in your upper back, neck, and shoulder that can lead to neck, back, and shoulder pain with restricted range of motion.  The head translates forward shortening the muscles and tissues on the front side of the body and lengthening the muscles on the back.

Strong Foundation

Good posture is a necessity for good health.

Suppose you held a five pound weight out in front of your body for hours at a time.  You’d undoubtedly feel tired and sore from trying to hold it up, right?  Well, the reason why your shoulders and upper back are ‘barking’ at you is because your posture is losing and gravity is winning.

Simply trying the rehabilitate the shoulder only isn’t going to help since the problem is more global than regional.

Why it Matters:

Whether it’s working at a computer, long hours in a car, or using a tablet/smartphone, just about everyone is susceptible to developing upper cross syndrome. However, you don’t need to suffer or change your career to find relief.

A combination of Chiropractic adjustments, stretching, and specific postural exercises can make a huge impact on your ability to stay happy and healthy. Taking short breaks every 20-30 minutes to lightly extend your arms and move your neck through a comfortable range of motion will help your body “reset” while working. Also, periodic Chiropractic adjustments will help you maintain an optimal range of motion and reduce restrictions that can occur in your spinal joints.

Here are some simple exercises you can do RIGHT NOW to help yourself.

  1. Wall Slides –
    1. Place heels, buttocks, upper back, and head against wall

      Wall Slides

      Wall slides will help your Anterior Head Syndrome.

    2. Bend elbows to 90 degrees and rotate outwards so that the backs of your hands touch the wall (or as close as you can)
    3. Slide arms up the wall while keeping elbow bent at 90 degrees and keeping the elbows against the wall (or as close as you can)
    4. Tuck chin slightly to create flexion in upper neck.
    5. Relax and inhale, exhale slowly while pressing back of head and arms against wall.
    6. Progress slowly in terms of number of repetitions and force applied; Hold for 30 seconds.
  2. Pec Stretch:
    1. Stand in a doorway with arms bent to 90 degrees.
    2. Elbows and forearms are held against door frame.
    3. Step/lean through doorway to stretch.
    4. Inhale, then relax and exhale as you press a little further.
    5. Hold for 30 seconds
  3. T Exercises
    1. Stand or sit upright.
    2. Extend arms straight out in front of you and palms facing upwards.
    3. Pull arms out to the sides fully keeping arms parallel to the ground.
    4. Extend arms back behind you until.
    5. Squeeze shoulder blades together at the back.
    6. Hold for 5 seconds.  Repeat 8-10 repetitions.

In review:

  • The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the human body.
  • Your posture greatly impacts the ability of your shoulders to move through their full range of motion.
  • It’s important to address the neck and mid-back when treating a shoulder injury.

Next Steps:

Upper cross syndrome is one of the most common complaints we see in our practice. Far too many people suffer from pain for years before discovering Chiropractic care. Millions of people end up taking medications just to get through the day.  The trouble is, the medications don’t solve the problem.

So like you, we believe there is a better way.  Share this information with a friend at work.  We are excited to share how the challenges of upper cross syndrome can be overcome without drugs or surgery!

Science Source:

Upper Crossed Syndrome and Its Relationship to Cervicogenic Headache. JMPT 2004