Hump in the back and steroids questions

Hi - I've heard that people sometimes get a hump at the top of the back from taking steroids. A few questions:

1) Is the hump from fat or osteoporosis?

2) Does the hump go away after steroids are stopped?

3) Would weight-lifting (like bench-pressing) help prevent a hump forming?

I'm on 9 mg/day of Prednisolone at this point, so not a huge dose, but do want to keep myself in as good a condition as possible. If weight-lifting might help, then it's time to start.

Thanks very much, everyone!

21 Replies

  • Hello, you do get a redistribution of fat with Pred and one place it likes is the hump area at the bottom of the neck. I have had no trouble with weight gain (with a lot of effort) and slim and have still got one. My sister's hump went but I can't remember how long after the steroids stopped. You can also get a hump from poor posture like craning the head forward or spinal changes, but this feels like a fat pad that I can squidge.

  • Hello Sn. Can't squidge mine. So far! Feels like I would do well in a head butting competition though. Very uncomfortable buffalo head am I.

  • It's when you start to grow horns that you need to worry.

  • Hi Linlin,

    As. SnazzyD has said redistribution of fat, which does diminish with Pred reduction.

    But just a word of warning - weightlifting/bench pressing not a good idea with PMR - too repetitive for your muscles which are not as resilient as pre PMR/pre Pred. You may end up doing more damage than good.

    You can still do exercise by all means, but more along the lines of stretching and keeping them supple (Pilates, Yoga, Tai chi) not explosive, repetitive or marathons !

  • That's so helpful to know. Thank you!

  • I have that hump and just put it down to normal obesity!!! I will keep an eye on it now as I get more active and reduce my steroids and excess weight. What an eye opener this was.

  • Hi everyone,l wondered why the base of my neck seemed rather swollen ,l tried to hide it with my hair during the summer. I do have a lot of stiffness around my neck and shoulders and l do not always sit up as straight as l should but never noticed it before l started taking steroids.It is so good to be on my this site,l am finding it really helpful.

  • Should be renamed - What the doctor doesn’t tell you!

  • I also found the hump affected my posture but it's slowing going down as I reduce and my posture is better too.

  • The buffalo hump when you are on steroids is a fat deposition. If you lose weight it goes away - and that can happen while you are still on pred, I lost 35lbs and the hump while still on 10-15 mg. Weight lifting won't stop that hump.

  • The only place I have excess fat is at the back of my neck and my cheeks. I'm pretty scrawny otherwise and luckily have still managed to retain my flat tummy.

  • That is the most galvanising reason I have ever had to get my weight down.

    I have lost 4kgs without trying as I have lost my appetite. It is so good to fit into a few items of clothing a which had been languishing. Definitely do not want to increase. I have Dr Mosley's book. The blood sugar diet.

    So good you were able to lose weight and the hump while on 10-15 mgs gives me hope.

    After a week on 25mg and 15 mgs lately I have found the 75% Relief from pain which is wonderful. Side effects either of PMR or Pred has been , fatigue, nausea and sleeplessness. Up at 4am went back to bed at 6am and slept for a few hours.

    I also woke up with a dull headache and took Panadol. I suppose that is par for the course.

    So happy to have found this site. It is very helpful.

  • Yes, I've got the hump too! Not too pronounced, but as I've always had relatively good posture, I've noticed it gradually developing. When I glance at my reflection in shop windows I'm horrified at the hump and dreadful posture. I've tried to pull my shoulders back but it seems to transfer pain to the back of my knees/legs. I have every confidence that it will diminish and my posture will improve as I reduce the steroids....😄

  • This is not the time for you to start lifting weights. You have PMR and you have to let your body rest. I'm not saying that you shouldn't exercise but don't start lifting weights if it's something you don't normally do. Cardio would be your best thing and even with that start slowly.

  • Hi Linlin, I had the dreaded buffalo hump!! It's fat deposit..most attractive!! :-) Mine started to reduce when I got below 20mg pred a day. Wouldn't fancy bench pressing or weight lifting with PMR, although I'm a GCA girl...but wouldn't think your muscles would be very happy! :-)

  • I've always been an advocate of low carb eating. Unfortunately, I'm a daemon for biscuits and fall off the wagon regularly. One thing I have always found difficult is breakfast. Almost all low carb breakfasts feature eggs. Eggs don't like me - never have. Can anyone recommend a decent, quick brekkie that doesn't have eggs, please?

  • In Germany they eat cold meats and cheeses. The breakfast buffet will also have tomatoes, cucumber and other salad veg, Sausages and bacon are low carb. I love smoked salmon which goes well with avocado and Scots eat smoked haddock at breakfast. If you can face them there are always kippers.Yogurt is pretty low carb - with berries it is delicious and not OTT with carbs.

    Can you eat eggs in things like pancakes? If you google low carb breakfasts you will find loads of recipes if you have the time and inclination to go to the effect of making waffles and stuff.

  • Thanks PMR pro. The bacon and sausage sounds good. I do like the yoghurt with berries and I have had it with some nuts too.

    I'll have a look again online. I could eat a small pancake . Maybe pancakes might help break the toast habit. 🙄

  • Remember plain normal yoghurt - not low fat flavoured which has loads of sugar and "stuff"! My personal favourite is 5% fat Greek yoghurt from Total. I also use it for making toppings for moussaka and ccauliflower cheese - beat an egg into a 200ml pot and it sets to make a solid custard-type topping.

  • Love Greek yogurt. That's a great tip about putting the egg in. I might manage that. It sounds delish! Thanks!

  • When I was a child my grandmother had a hunch back.. I was told it was because she slept on too big pillow.(and to think I believed them when they assured me there was a Santa😏)

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