The appearance of withers is not just an aesthetic problem, but a signal from the body that you have health problems. Together with an expert, we understand the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
The term “withers” (another name is “widow’s hump”) refers to an increase in the volume of the place of transition of the cervical to the thoracic. Some believe that this is due to age-related changes in the body and attribute the appearance of withers to a purely visual defect, and some see this as a serious problem. Anyway, the formation of withers is most often accompanied by unpleasant symptoms — such as increased fatigue, headaches, decreased performance, impaired memory and vision, etc. What leads to the appearance of a “widow’s hump” and how to deal with it — says osteopathic doctor Vladimir Zhivotov.
Everything is interconnected in the human body: no organ and no system work by themselves. Therefore, it is not surprising that the appearance of withers in most cases is associated with skull injuries.
In a normal state, blood and other fluids circulate freely in our body. In case of violations and failures, obstacles arise in their path that create stagnation. This is how, for example, edema forms on the face (this means that the veins through which blood flows from the skull have met an obstacle), as well as swelling and dilation of the veins of the legs (in this case, stagnation occurs in the veins through which blood flows from the lower part of the body). According to the same scheme, a withers is formed: when the fluid stagnates in the area of the cervical-thoracic junction, a characteristic hump appears in this zone — the withers proper.
What is the reason for the appearance of withers?
Long—standing skull injuries, head blows, birth injuries – because of them, the bones of the skull are displaced, as a result of which tension appears in the muscles and ligaments, which creates a serious obstacle to the flow of blood and lymph. As a result, a withers is formed on the neck. Most often, this defect manifests itself with age, but mature age is far from a prerequisite for its appearance. Withers can grow both in children and in middle-aged people: it all depends on the condition of the tissues, the presence and degree of injuries suffered.
In addition, do not forget about the vessels in the area of the cervical-thoracic junction and the vessels carrying blood to the head — they may also be involved in the emergence of the “widow’s hump”.
Saving drowning people is a handiwork…
The phrase is well-known and very relevant in terms of our health. If you want to get rid of withers, or better — to prevent its appearance, take all necessary measures for this.
The first and main thing is osteopathic treatment. Since the withers is directly related to skull injuries, to solve the problem it is necessary to restore the position of the skull bones and remove obstacles in the way of blood flow. The second condition for the absence of withers is your “homework” on your body. And since one of the main reasons for the formation of withers is a violation of blood flow, priority should be given to the cervical region.
Watch your posture
When you work, study, use gadgets (and this is most of the working time of people living in megacities), keep an eye on the position of the head, the desk chair and the computer screen. Do not tilt your head too much while “sitting” on the phone. Raise the gadget higher: adapt the situation to your body, and not vice versa.
Do the exercises
Exercise, going to gyms with a good trainer, jogging, etc. — all this is very useful in terms of preventing the appearance of withers. It is especially important to perform exercises to relax the neck muscles.
Place the ribs of the palms of both hands on the back of the neck in the area of the beginning of hair growth, firmly press the neck muscles with your palms and tilt your head forward.
Nod your head, while keeping your hands still. When you straighten your head, the muscles will slip under the ribs of your palms, and when you straighten your head, your arms will fall lower. So you will work the whole neck.
Place the edges of the palms slightly on the sides of the neck and follow the same principle of head movement from side to side. Do this until your palms come down to your shoulders.
Move your hands to the sides of the neck, perform the same movements with your head. The principle is always the same: the main thing is to change the position of the palms. It is important to work out the entire surface of the neck.
Do not forget about the front surface of the neck. It is more convenient and more effective to work through it with your fingers and palms. Pull your head back and sideways.
Exercise “Crane’s neck”
Starting position: standing, legs shoulder—width apart and slightly bent. The pelvis is slightly turned forward, the back is kept straight. The arms hang loosely along the torso.
Perform slow circular movements with your head in the sagittal plane (this is a vertical plane that divides the body into right and left halves). The movement is like a whip: the head moves forward, while the face retains an upright position. When the extreme anterior point is reached, the neck bends and the head bends forward.
Next, we move the head to the trunk, keeping the bent position, and then straighten the neck — slowly, vertebra by vertebra. At the end of this exercise, the head should assume its original vertical position. This is exactly the movement a crane makes when drinking water. Important: the body should be as relaxed as possible.
Exercise “Turtle neck”
The starting position is the same as when performing the previous exercise. Perform the movement as in the Crane Neck exercise, but in the opposite direction. A similar movement is made by a turtle when it sticks its head out of the water.
Put the palm of one hand on the back of the neck (cover the neck with the palm of your hand and “stick” to it like a leech).
Slowly pull your hand to the side and slightly up, while the palm should also “stick” to the neck and pull the skin and muscles behind it, squeezing them.
Move the same palm higher and slightly change directions when moving your hand: it is important to work out every centimeter of the neck.
We change the arm and work out the surface of the neck in the same way, but in the opposite direction.
Grab your left shoulder with the palm of your right hand and remember it with strong pinching movements. Change the arm and remember the other shoulder, then the entire surface of the neck.
The above techniques may seem simple and uncomplicated, but such a study of muscles gives tangible results. Exercise “pinches” is also recommended for headaches (read also: “Osteopath’s tips: 7 ways to relieve a headache without pills (with video)”). It perfectly relieves tension and clears the course of blood vessels. As for the withers, all the above exercises must be performed daily.
An osteopathic doctor. In addition to working in medicine, he runs a blog about health on Instagram (@vladimirzhivotov). He also developed a manual direction — cranioposturology (patented the craniobalance method), which is considered more effective than classical osteopathy.