"" Buffalo Hump or Hump Behind the Shoulder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment - Health and Fitness Informatics


Buffalo Hump or Hump Behind the Shoulder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Buffalo Hump or Hump Behind the Shoulder


Buffalo hump or Buffalo hump neck, also called dorso-cervical fat pad, is a condition in which an abnormal accumulation of fat appears between the base of the neck and the shoulder. This appearance creates a noticeable hump.

Buffalo hump may not cause any severe health risks, but it can make you self-conscious and discomfort.

A hump behind the shoulder can restrict your movement, may lead to neck and shoulder pain, impact your emotional health ( such as body image issues and decreased self-confidence), and limit the range of motion.

Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and underlying causes, but lifestyle changes and certain exercises can make the difference.

What causes a buffalo hump?

Buffalo hump can be a result of various underlying factors, such as:

1. Genetic predisposition:

Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing buffalo hump. Certain genetic factors can influence fat distribution patterns, making some people more susceptible to fat accumulation in specific areas, such as the upper back.

2. Hormonal imbalances:

One of the primary causes of buffalo hump is an imbalance in hormone levels, particularly cortisol. Excessive cortisol production, often associated with conditions like Cushing's syndrome or prolonged use of corticosteroid medications, can lead to fat redistribution and the development of a buffalo hump.

3. Obesity:

Being over weight or obese can contribute to the accumulation of fat in different areas of the body, including the upper back. Excess body fat can gradually build up in the dorsocervical region, resulting in the formation of a buffalo hump.

Is buffalo hump hard or soft?

Buffalo hump can vary in texture, but it is generally described as soft rather than hard. The hump is primarily composed of excess fat that accumulates in the upper back region, specifically in the dorsocervical area. This fat deposit can feel soft to the touch, similar to other areas of subcutaneous fat in the body.

It is important to note that the texture of the buffalo hump may differ slightly from person to person, depending on factors such as the amount of fat accumulation and individual variations in body composition. However, in most cases, buffalo hump is characterized by a soft, fatty tissue consistency.

What are the symptoms of buffalo hump?

The most apparent symptom of buffalo hump is the noticeable fatty deposit on the upper back. This hump-like protrusion can vary in size and may cause discomfort, restricted movement, and self-esteem issues. Other associated symptoms may include:

1. Neck and shoulder pain:

The excess fat in the buffalo hump can put a pull on your neck and shoulder muscles, leading to discomfort and pain.

2. Limited range of motion:

The existence of a buffalo hump can restrict the movement of your neck and shoulders, making it challenging to perform certain activities.

3. Emotional impact:

Buffalo hump can have a significant psychological impact, resulting in self-consciousness, body image issues, and a decrease in self-confidence.

Is buffalo hump painful?

Buffalo hump itself is not typically painful. However, it can cause discomfort or mild pain in some individuals due to the excess weight and strain it puts on the neck and shoulder muscles. The presence of a buffalo hump can lead to muscle tension and stiffness in the surrounding area, which may result in localized discomfort or aching sensations.

Additionally, if the buffalo hump is associated with an underlying condition such as Cushing's syndrome or hormonal imbalances, you may experience other symptoms that can cause pain, such as headaches, muscle weakness, or joint pain. In such cases, the pain is not directly caused by the buffalo hump itself but rather by the underlying condition.

What are treatment options for buffalo hump?

The treatment of buffalo hump depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Here are some common approaches:

1. Medications:

In cases where buffalo hump is associated with hormonal imbalances, medications may be prescribed to regulate hormone levels and reduce fat accumulation.

2. Lifestyle modifications:

For individuals with buffalo hump caused by obesity, adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a balanced diet can help reduce overall body fat, including the hump.

3. Surgical intervention:

In severe cases or when other treatment options have been ineffective, surgical removal of the excess fat may be considered. Liposuction or other surgical techniques can be used to remove the buffalo hump and restore a more natural contour to the upper back.

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What exercises can help me if I have a buffalo hump?

If you're seeking to address a buffalo hump and reduce its prominence, incorporating specific exercises into your routine can be beneficial. While exercise alone may not completely eliminate the buffalo hump, it can help strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve posture, and contribute to overall body fat reduction. Here are some exercises that may be helpful:

Buffalo Hump or Hump Behind the Shoulder

1. Neck stretches:

Perform gentle neck stretches to improve flexibility and relieve tension in the neck and upper back. Tilt your head to each side, forward, and backward, holding each stretch for about 15-30 seconds.

2. Shoulder blade squeezes:

Sit or stand with your arms relaxed at your sides. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for a few seconds, and then release. Repeat this exercise for about 10-15 repetitions.

3. Upper back strengthening:

Lie face down on an exercise mat or a comfortable surface. Extend your arms straight out in front of you. Lift your chest and arms off the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower back down and repeat for about 10-15 repetitions.

4. Cardiovascular exercises:

Engaging in regular cardiovascular exercises, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming, can help burn overall body fat, including fat in the buffalo hump area. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week.

5. Posture awareness:

Pay attention to your posture throughout the day. Practice sitting and standing with your shoulders back, chin slightly tucked, and spine aligned. This can help improve your overall posture and reduce the appearance of the buffalo hump.

Incorporating these exercises into your routine, along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and proper posture, can contribute to managing and reducing the prominence of a buffalo hump.

If I lose weight will my buffalo hump go away?

Weight loss can have a positive impact on reducing the prominence of a buffalo hump. While it may not eliminate the hump in all cases, losing weight can help decrease the amount of fat stored in the upper back and neck region, leading to a reduction in the size and visibility of the buffalo hump. Here's how weight loss can potentially affect a buffalo hump:

1. Individual variations:

It's important to note that the response to weight loss and its impact on the buffalo hump can vary from person to person. Factors such as genetics, underlying medical conditions, and the specific distribution of fat in your body can influence how much the buffalo hump reduces with weight loss. Some individuals may experience a significant reduction, while others may see a more modest change.

2. Fat reduction:

Buffalo hump is primarily caused by the accumulation of excess fat in the upper back and neck area. When you lose weight through a combination of a balanced diet and regular exercise, your body tends to burn fat from various areas, including the buffalo hump. As you lose overall body fat, the fat deposits in the buffalo hump may also decrease, resulting in a reduction in its size and visibility.

3. Improved body composition:

Losing weight and increasing muscle tone through exercise can help improve your body composition. Strengthening the muscles in the upper back and neck region can contribute to better posture and a more balanced appearance. This, in turn, can help minimize the prominence of the buffalo hump.

While weight loss can be beneficial, it's crucial to approach it healthily and sustainably. Gradual weight loss, achieved through a combination of a balanced diet and regular exercise, is generally recommended. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance and support to help you achieve your weight loss goals effectively and safely.

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What is the connection between buffalo hump and the thyroid?

The thyroid gland plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including metabolism and hormone production. If you're wondering about the potential connection between buffalo hump and the thyroid, let's delve into it:

While buffalo hump itself is not directly caused by thyroid issues, certain thyroid conditions can contribute to the development or exacerbation of a buffalo hump. Here's what you need to know:

1. Cushing's syndrome:

 Although not directly related to the thyroid, Cushing's syndrome is a condition characterized by excessive cortisol production. In some cases, Cushing's syndrome can be caused by an underlying issue with the pituitary gland or adrenal glands, which can affect thyroid function. Excess cortisol can lead to fat redistribution, including the development of a buffalo hump.

2. Hypothyroidism:

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones. This condition can lead to weight gain and fluid retention, which may contribute to the accumulation of fat in the upper back and neck region, potentially causing or worsening a buffalo hump.

3. Thyroid medications:

In rare cases, certain medications used to treat thyroid disorders, such as long-term use of high-dose corticosteroids, can contribute to the development of a buffalo hump as a side effect.

If a thyroid condition is identified, appropriate treatment, such as hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism, can be prescribed to help manage the condition and potentially reduce the prominence of the buffalo hump.

Remember, addressing the underlying thyroid issue, if present, is key to managing the buffalo hump effectively. A healthcare professional can guide you through the necessary steps, recommend suitable treatment options, and provide ongoing support to help you achieve your health goals.


Buffalo hump, though not a serious medical condition, can cause physical discomfort and emotional distress for those affected. Understanding the underlying causes, recognizing the symptoms, and exploring appropriate treatment options can help individuals manage and alleviate the impact of buffalo hump. If you are experiencing buffalo hump or have concerns about your upper back fat distribution, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide a proper diagnosis and guide you toward the most suitable treatment approach.

Remember, early intervention and proactive management can contribute to a better quality of life and improved self-confidence for individuals dealing with buffalo hump.


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