Camptocormia (bent spine) in patients with Parkinson's disease--characterization and possible pathogenesis of an unusual phenomenon

Mov Disord. 1999 May;14(3):443-7. doi: 10.1002/1531-8257(199905)14:3<443::aid-mds1009>;2-g.


Camptocormia is characterized by severe forward flexion of the thoracolumbar spine which increases while walking and disappears in the recumbent position. We describe for the first time eight patients with presumed idiopathic Parkinson's disease (mean age 66+/-5 yrs; mean symptom duration 13.1+/-5.1 yrs) who developed camptocormia. This impressive abnormal posture emerged 4-14 years from disease onset, and in some patients stooped posture was the prominent symptom at diagnosis. There was no clear correlation between camptocormia and levodopa treatment. In some patients the camptocormic posture improved, and in others it was unchanged or even aggravated following levodopa administration. Three patients reported worsening of this symptom during "off" periods and also with fatigue. The pathogenesis of this phenomenon is unknown but might represent either a rare type of dystonia or an extreme form of rigidity.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / complications*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy
  • Posture*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Spinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Spinal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Spinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Levodopa