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Natural Awakenings

Yoga May Decrease Dowager’s Hump: Lose the Spinal Curve

New research suggests that, for those prone to contracting it, dowager’s hump (hyperkyphosis) “is not a fait accompli,” advises Dr. Gail Greendale, a physician who specializes in women’s health with an interest in alternative and complementary therapies. Results of a pilot study she led at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that elderly participants who practiced yoga for six months saw their upper spine curvature lowered by about 5 percent, compared to those who did not. Those with greater spinal flexibility at the start showed a 6 percent improvement.

More than 100 otherwise healthy individuals with indicators of moderate hyperkyphosis participated. The study group was 81 percent female, with an average age of 75 years.

During the six-month study period, the yoga group also showed significant relief from upper back pain, were less likely to report early wakening or insomnia and needed less time to stand up from a chair. Many members of the control group experienced increases in the curvature of their spines during the same period.

 

Source: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

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