Camptocormia

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 10 Jul 2021

Camptocormia, also known as bent spine syndrome or cyphose hystérique, is a rare syndrome characterized by involuntary flexion of the thoracolumbar spine with weight-bearing which reduces when lying down, and is due to isolated atrophy of the paraspinal muscles.

In a small case series (n=16), 2/3 patients Parkinson disease, however camptocormia is only seen in ~10% of Parkinson patients 7,10.

These conditions may be associated 9:

In just under half of patients the condition may be idiopathic 2,9

Marked thoracolumbar kyphosis, usually worse when upright (vs supine) or ambulatory. Back pain is common however a significant number of patients are asymptomatic 10.

Recent research suggests that - at least in Parkinson disease - the problem originates centrally in the brain, and not at the level of the muscles themselves. The condition may arise due to a dysfunction in proprioception 7.

Diffuse isolated atrophy and fatty replacement of the paraspinal muscles, with high T1 and T2 signal which suppresses on fat-saturated sequences

Camptocormia was first described in 1815 by Earle, and the original case descriptions of the shaking palsy in 1817 by James Parkinson (1755-1824) 8 included this phenomenon 7

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: in Parksinon disease
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  • Case 2
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