Camptocormia is an uncommon condition in which the spine bends forward during walking or standing, but not when lying down. The condition can be accompanied by lower back pain.

Camptocormia can be due to central nervous system diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, dystonia, multisystem atrophy, or Alzheimer's disease, or to peripheral nervous system diseases, such as primary myopathy, secondary myopathy, motor neuron disease, myasthenia, or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. Other causes include side effects of drug treatment, a result of disc herniation, arthritis or spinal trauma, or effects of a malignancy (paraneoplasia). Only rarely is camptocormia attributable to psychiatric disease.

The diagnosis is based on clinical findings, imaging of the cerebrum or spine, needle electromyography, or muscle biopsy. Treatment options are limited and often not effective. Conservative measures include withdrawal of causative drugs, psychotherapy, physiotherapy, orthotic aids, electrotherapy and corticosteroid medications. Pharmaceutical treatments attempted include anticholinergics, amantadine, dopamine agonists, muscle relaxants, and tetrabenazine. Other treatment options are botulinum toxin injections, or invasive measures, such as surgical correction or deep brain stimulation.  (1, 2)


1. Finsterer J, Strobl  W. Presentation, etiology, diagnosis, and management of camptocormia. Krankenanstalt Rudolfstiftung, Vienna, Austria. European Neurology. 01/2010; 64(1):1-8.

2. Sako W, Nishio M, Maruo T, Shimazu H, Matsuzaki K, Tamura T, Mure H, Ushio Y, Nagahiro S, Kaji R, Goto S. Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation for camptocormia associated with Parkinson's disease. Mov Disord. 2009 May 15;24(7):1076-9.

Reviewed July 18, 2013
Stefanos Korfias, MD, PhD
General Secretary, Southeastern Europe Chapter, International Neuromodulation Society
Consultant Neurosurgeon
Senior Lecturer, University of Athens
Department of Neurosurgery, Evangelismos General Hospital
Athens, Greece

Last Updated on Sunday, November 21, 2021 08:13 PM