[Camptocormia: a sign of axial myopathy. Report of 7 cases]

Rev Med Interne. 2002 Feb;23(2):144-54. doi: 10.1016/s0248-8663(01)00530-6.
[Article in French]


Purpose: Camptocormia or progressive lumbar kyphosis is an anterior bend of the trunk. It appears in orthostatism or while walking and is reducible in the decubitus position. It concerns patients older than 60 years of age. It is due to a fatty degeneration of the paravertebral muscles, although the physiopathology remains unclear.

Methods: We report seven cases of camptocormia revealing authentic myopathies.

Results: Our observations concern five women and two men of 55 to 72 years of age. All patients present lumbar kyphosis and had a fatty involution of the paraspinal muscles on the muscular MRI. Four patients fulfilled the Bohan and Peter criteria of polymyositis and dermatomyositis. In the other cases paravertebral muscular biopsies led to the diagnosis of a congenital myopathy, a mitochondrial myopathy and an amyloid myopathy. Four patients received a corticosteroid-immunoglobulins or cyclosporin regimen. An improvement in the camptocormia was observed in three cases. In the other cases the treatment consisted of chemotherapy on account of severe nephrotic syndrome, a coenzyme-Q treatment for the patient with mitochondrial myopathy and only physiotherapy in the case of congenital myopathy, but without positive effect on camptocormia.

Conclusion: Camptocormia appears as a muscular symptom that may reveal an axial myopathy due to multiple and varied pathologies. Thus, the discovery of camptocormia requires an aetiological investigation in order to propose an adequate treatment, which should be associated with physiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kyphosis / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Diseases / complications
  • Muscular Diseases / congenital
  • Muscular Diseases / diagnosis*