Predictors and Pathophysiology of Axial Postural Abnormalities in Parkinsonism: A Scoping Review

Mov Disord Clin Pract. 2023 Sep 25;10(11):1585-1596. doi: 10.1002/mdc3.13879. eCollection 2023 Nov.


Background: Postural abnormalities involving the trunk are referred to as axial postural abnormalities and can be observed in over 20% of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and in atypical parkinsonism. These symptoms are highly disabling and frequently associated with back pain and a worse quality of life in PD. Despite their frequency, little is known about the pathophysiology of these symptoms and scant data are reported about their clinical predictors, making it difficult to prompt prevention strategies.

Objectives: We conducted a scoping literature review of clinical predictors and pathophysiology of axial postural abnormalities in patients with parkinsonism to identify key concepts, theories and evidence on this topic.

Methods: We applied a systematic approach to identify studies, appraise quality of evidence, summarize main findings, and highlight knowledge gaps.

Results: Ninety-two articles were reviewed: 25% reported on clinical predictors and 75% on pathophysiology. Most studies identified advanced disease stage and greater motor symptoms severity as independent clinical predictors in both PD and multiple system atrophy. Discrepant pathophysiology data suggested different potential central and peripheral pathogenic mechanisms.

Conclusions: The recognition of clinical predictors and pathophysiology of axial postural abnormalities in parkinsonism is far from being elucidated due to literature bias, encompassing different inclusion criteria and measurement tools and heterogeneity of patient samples. Most studies identified advanced disease stage and higher burden of motor symptoms as possible clinical predictors. Pathophysiology data point toward many different (possibly non-mutually exclusive) mechanisms, including dystonia, rigidity, proprioceptive and vestibular impairment, and higher cognitive deficits.

Keywords: Antecollis; Camptocormia; Parkinsonisms; Pisa syndrome; axial postural abnormalities; clinical predictors; pathophysiology.

Publication types

  • Review