This information is provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD).
Camptocormia, camptocormism or “bent spine syndrome,” (BSS) is an extreme forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine, which often worsens during standing or walking, but completely resolves when laying down. The term itself is derived from the Greek “kamptos” (to bend) and “kormos” (trunk) BSS was initially considered, especially in wartime, as a result of a psychogenic disorder. It is now recognized that in it may also be related to a number of musculo-skeletal or neurological disorders. It seems that myopathy is the primary cause of camptocormia based on electromyography, magnetic resonance imaging/computed tomography (CT/MRI scans) of paraspinal muscles, and muscle biopsy. The majority of BSS of muscular origin is related to a primary idiopathic (with unknwon cause) axial myopathy of late onset, maybe a delayed-onset paraspinal myopathy, appearing in elderly patients. Causes of secondary BSS are numerous. The main causes are muscular disorders like inflammatory myopathies, muscular dystrophies of late onset, myotonic myopathies, endocrine and metabolic myopathies, and neurological disorders, principally Parkinson’s disease. Diagnosis of axial myopathy is based upon CT/MRI scans demonstrating a lot of fatty infiltration of paravertebral muscles. General activity, walking with a cane, physiotherapy, and exercises should be encouraged. Treatment of secondary forms of BSS is dependent upon the cause.
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