Dowager's hump

The so-called dowager's hump is a curvature of the spine caused by microfractures of the vertebral bodies in the spine

Dowager's hump

The cause is mostly loss of bone mass or osteoporosis

The cause is usually loss of bone mass or osteoporosis: women in particular develop this after the menopause. This is why the rounded back, which is typical of the condition, is colloquially known as "dowager's hump". This painful postural change should most certainly not be simply shrugged off as a typical sign of age, because it is an indication of advanced osteoporosis: the vertebral bodies in the spine have lost bone density due to loss of bone mass and have collapsed. These are called compression fractures.

Signs and symptoms

Fractures of other bones without any recognisable cause or fractures that occur during everyday activities or movements are an indication of possible osteoporotic disease.

Hip fractures after minor falls and wrist fractures while supporting weight are common. Ribs may even break while coughing.