Friday, August 01, 2014

Table of Contents

Home Care

A person who develops opisthotonos will need to be cared for in a hospital.


Call your health care provider if

Go to the emergency room or call your local emergency number (such as 911) if this symptom occurs. Typically opisthotonos is a symptom of other conditions that are serious enough for a person to seek medical attention.


What to expect at your health care provider's office

This condition will be evaluated in a hospital, and emergency measures may be taken.

The health care provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination to look for the cause of opisthotonos

Medical history questions may include:

  • When did this behavior start?
  • Is it always the same type of posturing?
  • What other symptoms came before or with the abnormal posturing (such as fever, stiff neck, or headache)?
  • Is there any recent history of illness?

The physical examination will include a complete check of the nervous system.

Tests may include:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture and cell counts
  • CT scan of the head
  • Electrolyte analysis
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
  • MRI of the brain


Review Date: 04/01/2011
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)