Searching the Internet
When I first began to check this out on the Internet I was disappointed to find very little that was helpful except that it was considered “a rare disorder.” Under a heading of Camptocormia, there was a photo of a Japanese lady bending forward, and information to the effect that even just resting her hands on something was enough to help her stand upright. The abstract started by informing us that axial myopathy (AM) is a rare neuromuscular disorder in which involvement of the spinal muscles manifested a bent spine and/or drooping head as leading clinical features. The disease was described as being “slowly progressive.” Then followed mention of EMGs and a “muscle biopsy specimen.”
"Kyphosis": What On Earth Could That Be?
I was not ready to give up, and, after hours and hours of further searching I read that axial myopathy “is an associated sign of several neurological disorders and vertebral degeneration diseases; a rare neuromuscular disorder which causes a bent spine and/or drooping head as leading clinical features.” But then came this: Experts have concluded that it may be much more common than previously thought, because gradual progression of cervical kyphosis — which the Mayo Clinic defines as a forward rounding of the vertebrae in one’s thoracic spine, and Wikipedia describes as ‘hunchback’— may unfortunately often just be accepted as a feature of normal aging. The first symptoms seem to be difficulty in keeping the trunk and head in an upright position. Tests had shown the disease to be slowly progressive.
My friend’s history, after immigration to Canada, seems to have been normal enough, except for an unfortunate incident which occurred while she was planting flowers in a flowerbox on her deck and accidentally pricked her hand with the garden scissors, was infected with a fungus, thus contracting a persistent cryptococcus informants infection. Most infections with this organism are asymptomatic; however, after penetration of the fungus, pulmonary, skin, or central nervous system, disease may occur. Cases of myositis usually occur in the setting of “disseminated cryptococcal disease” but focal infections within the muscle have been reported and this was apparently what happened to her. Some cases, I have since learned, have, in addition, involved cellulitis and necrotizing fasciitis (“flesh-eating disease) in addition to myositis, and she was fortunate in that an alert hospitalist in her local hospital spotted the onset of this and took the right steps to fight it.