Do This 30 Seconds Test To Check Your Posture - Save Our Bones

If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, the prospect of developing a Dowager’s Hump can be very frightening. Also known as kyphosis, Dowager’s Hump is a gradual curving forward of the thoracic vertebrae.

As it progresses, the upper back appears more and more hunched and rounded, the head is pushed forward, and shoulders are excessively rounded. It’s not just unsightly; kyphosis can also lead to pain, limited range of motion, and even breathing difficulties.

Dowager’s Hump: a Concern Shared by Many in the Save Our Bones Community

At Save Our Bones we receive many e-mails and questions from community members who, even without an osteoporosis diagnosis, are noticing the beginnings of a Dowager’s Hump, or are worried about developing one.

Today, I will show you an easy posture test to find out if you have the dreaded Dowager’s Hump.

Poor Posture and Kyphosis

Kyphosis does not necessarily mean you have fractures in the thoracic vertebrae, and it does not always mean you have osteoporosis. While osteoporosis and fractures can lead to this condition, in many cases, Dowager’s Hump is the result of poor posture habits.

Sometimes these habits go all the way back to childhood, when you sat slumped in your school desk or on the couch. Or you might have developed a slouching posture because you grew taller than your peers at an early age, so you might have felt self-conscious when standing up to your full height.

Unfortunately, it’s simply easier to slump, especially when you’re tired; slumping requires less muscle work. The good news is that…

Dowager’s Hump is Not Inevitable and Can Be Easily Corrected!

If you have osteoporosis, you might think (or maybe you’ve been told) that developing Dowager’s Hump is unavoidable. You see, the dread of kyphosis need not cause you worry and anxiety because posture can be corrected at any age.

If you notice even a slight forward head posture, a rounded back and shoulders, and if you are having constant backaches for no apparent reason, you can take action now, beginning with this simple test to see where your posture “stands.”

Check Your Posture With the Wall Test

      1. To do this easy test, all you need is a wall.
      2. Stand with your feet flat on the ground, with your heels about 6 inches away from the wall.
      3. Put your back flat against the wall.
      4. Then place your head against the wall as well, and tuck in your chin.
      5. Raise your arms out to shoulder height and bend your elbows. The tips of your fingers will be pointing forward, and your elbows will be straight out from your shoulders.
      6. Now rotate your arms upward at the elbows, keeping them bent, and try to touch the back of your wrists to the wall.
      7. If your back arches, or you can’t get your wrists to touch the wall, that indicates poor posture.

    Strong Bones Are Not Enough

    You surely know about the importance of having strong and healthy bones to prevent fractures. But you need more than just strong bones. Muscle strength is also essential, especially when it comes to posture. Strong muscles apply pressure on your bones to help you maintain and increase their density and to hold your body in the proper position.

    In order to develop muscle strength that will prevent or correct kyphosis, you need to work the specific muscles that are involved in supporting good posture. These are not necessarily the same muscles you see when you look in the mirror, so they often get overlooked. And believe it or not, you can actually make your posture worse if your workouts are not focused on the postural muscles.

    If you'd like to gain access to posture-improving exercises plus balance, yoga, strength training, joint health, stress relief workout classes from professional trainers to ensure you're performing them safely and effectively, then check out SaveTrainer. It's the Save Institute's customizable digital workout platform, and we're offering 14 days of free access to this valuable resource.

    Keep making small changes like improving your sitting posture. They'll add up to a major positive shift in your health and quality of life!

    Keep standing tall!

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59 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Naomi

    Unfortunately the test written instructions are not clear to me. An illustration of the right posture of the arms and wrists against the wall would be helpful very helpful.
    Thank you!

  2. Janine

    Like others, I need a pikkie of the exact position of the arms against the wall. The written description is inadequate eg ‘ Now rotate your arms upward at the elbows, keeping them bent’.

    thank you

  3. SusanB

    I am not sure I am doing this correctly. A picture would be very helpful.

    Thank you

  4. Nee

    Hi Vivian, thank you for sharing the posture test.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      My pleasure, Nee!

  5. BadgerGirl

    Due to two shoulder surgeries to repair rotator cuff injuries (both sides), one arm will not rotate back to to the wall. Because I must relay on other muscles in my back, front and around my shoulders, I have to stay more aware of my posture.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Posture awareness most certainly helps! Keep working on your posture:-)

  6. Ita

    Thank you , Ita.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Ita!

      • Melinda

        Thank you for all of your helpful information. You have helped me so very much. I went osteoporosis to normal bone density. No other doctor helped me. They just wanted to give me drugs that made me sick. Again thank you very much.

  7. Maxine Roberts

    Hi Vivian
    Thank you for sharing the posture test. I tried it and found I can place my wrists against the wall after having 6 thoracic fractures 3 years ago i was very stooped over for quite some time but gradually became more upright. After having my left hip replacement 7 months ago my back has been much better I can now stand up straight again. My back muscles are still weak not sure how to get them stronger.
    Thank you.

  8. Aung Kaung myat

    Can i send you a picture of my back which my friends said it looks weird so that you could tell me if that’s a symptom of kyphosis and I could go see the doctor if necessary?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I’m sorry, Aung Kaung, but we aren’t equipped to make that kind of assessment. I’d suggest you skip the picture taking and just go to your doctor for a diagnosis about your back. 🙂

  9. Kelly

    Need illustration(s) or video demonstrating the posture test.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Kelly, if you’ll click on the link in the article above, it will take you to a detailed list of instructions on the posture test. Basically, you stand with your back and the back of your head against a wall. You bring your arms up to shoulder height and press them against the wall, too, with your elbows bent and your forearms out straight, parallel to the floor, like tabletops. Then, keeping your upper arms against the wall, try to bring the back of your hands up against the wall. I hope this helps!

      • Susan

        I don’t see a link in the above article. Will you please clarify where it is. The instructions in the article aren’t clear to me.

  10. Adam

    Vivian, i am planning to write an e-book on posture correction. Can i use few points from your article??

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sure, Adam. That would be fine! Just be sure to reference the Save Our Bones site. 🙂

  11. Darwin

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  12. Jacqui

    Vivienne what do you think about the new fashion of building muscle where one is attached to a sort of belt with electrodes, electricity is passed through to muscle and it supposedly makes you fitter ? I think I’ve probably left out the most important part of how muscle is built this way but that’s because I don’t understand how it happens, do you ?

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  14. Laureen

    It is important to note that there are other reasons for back pain and kyphosis. Ankylosing Spondyltis can cause this also. And despite claims that it occurs only in males, that is totally untrue! If doctors would order tests to check the spine and SI joints more often and educate themselves about the many symptoms of this condition, much damage could be prevented before it’s too late!

  15. Joseph Chance Watkins

    Thanks for sharing the info with us, it was very helpful; Jesus Christ Bless you! 🙂

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Joseph, and may you be blessed as well!

  16. julie

    Hi Vivian,
    I’m not sure I understand the directions for the Posture check.
    “Rotate your arms upwards at the elbows”. Do you mean raise your arms? So that my bent arms are parallel to the wall? I appreciate your trying to help us, but these are very confusing directions. Thanks.

  17. Elena

    .. Hello ! like most of you I have had side effects with various drugs for my osteoporosis the last being Fosteo daily injections .. only lasted a few weeks and had to stop ! what now ?.. have bought more bone biuilding supplements that help absorb calcium and need to be more aware of my diet .. too acidic!.. hoping to find out mor as in pain a lot .. rib pain and fracturs and recently a color bone injury !,, I wish us all well and help each other ! .. I want to get to the root of the problem ! .. what causes it and how to prevent in the first place ! … E …

  18. Suzy

    I was very interested in the Posture Confidence video, so I wrote to the company. I have Osteopenia of the spine, so exercises like sit-ups are *NOT* recommended for me. The people at Posture Confidence told me that sit-ups *ARE* an integral part of their program, so it’s not a good choice for me. But I appreciate that Vivian gives us these options (ads to utilize or not), and also her own free advice/information. Keep up the good work, Vivian!!

  19. Patricia Horn

    I have unfortunately just experienced my fifth thoracic vertebra. My back was reported as having a very slight curve on X-Ray. Is it inevitable that I will experience kyphosis (Dowagers Hump) with this situation I find myself in? I have always exercised and have reasonable posture. Thank you for offering us another way of dealing with this problem!

  20. minnie

    Ma’am Vivian, Thank you so much for sharing this article to us. its really important for us to become aware of our posture earlier. those tips & exercises will be of great help if we can follow it religiously…we hope to get more information from u to save our bones since we can’t really on the medicines we have now, if it can keep us medically healthy… God bless you

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are most welcome, Minnie. Thank you so much for writing in, and I hope you will continue to research and contribute. 🙂

  21. jana

    Interesting Subject

  22. Tanialee

    Hello Vivienne,

    Thank you for giving us this free advice which we women so severely need.
    I have a bit of a dowager’s hump, afraid to say. I had scoliosis at 13 which should have been fixed long ago but wasn’t of course.
    Woman’s World Magazine recently had a short piece in their magazine that eating onions daily helped strengthen bones just as good if not better than those Dr. scripted medicines like Boniva, etc. the ones we should never use.
    So I started eating onions every day; got Vidalia Sweet so my breath won’t be so bad. I don’t care that much IF onions do indeed build bone like woman’s World Magazine claims.

  23. Carolyn

    I have had kyphosis all my life . With no osteo. Have you heard of that?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Yes, Carolyn – as stated in the article, kyphosis does not always mean osteoporosis. Sometimes it develops due to poor posture, even if your bones are strong. 🙂

  24. Janet Blalock

    I appreciated the posture test which I will have my daughter observe to see if I have a problem in that area. However, at this point I have more of a problem with my lower spine curving to the left and causing my lower spine to cave inward. This creates pain on standing or walking for any length of time. Do you have any recommendations for this problem?

    • Gary Stoltzenberg

      I had a curvature of the spine that was diagnosed as secondary scoliosis. I had a total fusion of my backbone with rods and screws, this was back in Feb, and I no longer have any back pain and I’m standing straight again. I am at if I can give you more info, thanks, Gary

  25. dan heitz

    hard to understand this posture check did not get your instructions

  26. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Hi! Vivian,

    I Tried The Posture Test, As Best I Could, And I Could Almost Touch Both Backs Of My Wrists To The Wall! I’ll Keep Trying, To See If I Improve!

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH For SHARING This Article With Us.


  27. Coral Wimberly

    Dear Dr. Goldschmidt,
    I suffer from osteoporous and cannot take any kind of calcium because of stomach issues, I have already developed some curvature of the spine. I do not take medicine for it and will not due to what I have read. Is there anything I can do and would the posture book be good for me? I am 62,
    Please let me know, I am very healthy otherwise.
    Sincerely,Coral Wimberly
    Would it help if I had a phone interview with you?

    • Customer Support

      Hi Coral,
      Please send us an e-mail in Customer Service with your questions – we’ll be glad to help. Just click on the smiley face icon at the top of the page. 🙂

  28. Herma Fischer

    It’s too late for me. I have the HUMP already for several years… I does not bother me… Herma

  29. feroza

    Would you send this DVD abroad, and what would be the shipping cost to India?

    • Customer Support

      Hi Feroza,
      The Posture Confidence DVD is not our product, so shipping and other details are determined by Dr. Cordova. 🙂 You may contact them at the following link with your questions:

  30. Chuck S

    It seems like this is a test of flexibility as sell as posture. If your posture is poor, you can still pass if your flexibility is high.

  31. Susan

    Why do you always try to sell book’s DVD’s. Why can’t you just give the information without trying to market these products.

    • Debra

      If you use (read) the free info please don’t try to deprive the rest of us of the good stuff Vivian recommends!! It takes lots of time and sometimes even money to research so thoroughly these subjects. Personally I find all this “free” information invaluable, sometimes even just because it reminds me of what I already know. If you don’t need the extra help, fine — but some of us do need it.

      • Debra

        “Always” is a big word. She doesn’t always offer a oroduct.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Susan,
      Actually, the exercises in the Posture Confidence DVD really can’t be explained via text. 🙂 You need to view the DVD to get the information!

      I hope you’ll take advantage of all the great facts, information, and support that are available for free on this site. And as a member of the Save Our Bones community, you can also participate (as you’re doing) in discussions for more information and support. 🙂

      • Aaron

        I greatly appreciate your service of informing your viewers about this problem, and showing us this simple test. And I also appreciate your allowing viewers to make comments and ask questions that add to our general understanding of the topics you have posted. I agree with the questioner about flexibility, which I think is worth consideration and may contribute to some healthy skepticism about the value of the 30-minute test for Kyphosis or tendency toward it. Also, about your saying that one needs to view the “PostureConfidence” DVD’s contents to gain benefit from the exercises, I am skeptical. For example, after doing a brief online search, I found this set of exercises described in a text format: Also, there is at least one good book on the subject, to be released in mid-July 2013, by Kathleen Porter, and at a price close to twenty dollars (but not counting shipping).

  32. Terry

    Very timely indeed. I have been catching myself slouching more. It kind of creeps up on you and you don’t realize that you are doing it. I’m really working on sitting straighter and I use your exercise that moves your arms up and down on the wall. Thank you for the information and I’ll definitely look into it!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Yes Terry – you make an excellent point, and raising awareness is one of the big reasons why I wrote this post. It’s easy to let your posture slide and not even know it!

  33. Jan Diamond

    What is your impression of Juvent to curb and assist Osteoporosis?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Jan, while I have not researched vibrating plates in great detail, I am dubious about them. They are pretty controversial – people with spinal injuries, for example, may increase damage by using such a machine.

      There are so many other ways to increase bone density and improve your posture without the added expense of this kind of equipment!

      • Ed Murfin

        Hi Vivian! Interesting article. I have had 6 vertebrae collapses in the last half dozen years – the usual wedge compression type – and have lost in consequences more than six inches in height. 18 months ago, I bought an inversion table. Although, due to fairly frequent rib fractures, have not been able to use it regularly. However, on those times I could do so without pain, I discovered very quickly that less than ten minutes inverted at 45 degrees, the gap between hips and ribs (normally zero!) increased to four inches whilst inverted, and a welcome effect is a great improvement in residual pain levels during the exercise. It also helps with the kyphosis too. I’ve had only one more vertebrae fracture since following your diet and supplement strategies and the rib fractures are less frequent in recent months – partly due to careful risk reduction – being wary of abrupt trunk bending and twisting – as well as, I believe, improvements in bone flexibility and tensile strength. I will shortly feel confident of using the table on a daily basis from now on and, eventually, move to total inversion. Despite the hitherto infrequent use, my height loss has actually reduced by two inches in the last 12 months and I have a hope that regular use, whilst not restoring all the lost height, will add further reductions. The way the table works is by setting up in such a way that mere movement of the arms back and forth controls the transition from upright to whatever degree of inversion is set on the device. That suggests the possibility of exercising the appropriate muscle groups to improve posture generally. I will report progress in a year’s time 😉 Thanks for all the helpful blogs!

      • Jerris

        Vivian, I think you are right to be cautious about the whole-body vibration systems. I bought a home unit highly recommended as safe and useful. But after using it for about 6 months I had a posterior-vitreous detachment in both eyes. I also read a post by a woman who along with her husband used the whole-body vibration machines at a health club and they both suffered retina detachements.

  34. Nanthana Chansithipongse

    A v, useful programme.


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