Brazilian man with upside-down head to resume motivational speaking

Brazilian man with upside-down head vows to return to motivational speaking and bring positivity back to the world after spending a year in isolation due to Covid-19

  • Claudio Vieira de Oliveira, 44, suffers from arthrogryposis multiplex congenita a rare condition that affects his joints
  • His mother was told he wouldn’t live past a day but he has defied the odds
  • ‘Claudinho’ lives in the Brazilian state of Bahia and has been a motivational speaker since 2000

A Brazilian man with an upside-down head has vowed to return to motivational speaking next month after a long year of isolation due to Covid-19. 

Claudio Vieira de Oliveira, 44, suffers from a rare condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita which affects his joints. He has muscular atrophy in his legs, his arms are stuck by his chest, and, most strikingly, his head is turned all the way back, supported by his back.

Vieira de Oliveira has not let his disabilities stop him from pursuing his passions and has spent over two decades working as a motivational speaker. He has also released a DVD and an autobiography.


Claudio Vieira de Oliveira, 44, who lives with his legs atrophied, his arms stuck by his chest and his head turned back, supported by his back. At birth, he was only given 24 hours to live


He lives in the small town of Monte Santo in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Bahia. He has been walking on his knees since the age of seven and was taught how to read and write by his mother

Vieira de Oliveira, known to his friends as ‘Claudinho’, was not expected to live past 24 hours upon his birth.  

However, he challenged the odds and since the age of seven has walked on his knees with specially designed support, and was taught to read and write by his mother at home. 

He lives in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Bahia, in the small municipality of Monte Santo which has a population of 49,278.  


He hopes to ‘live for many years’ and is eager to revive his passions and routine after a long year in isolation. Despite his condition he has no trouble seeing, eating, drinking or breathing

Throughout the last year ‘Claudinho’ has been ‘twice as careful’ in order to stay safe and protected from Covid-19

Despite having an upside down head, ‘Claudinho’ has no trouble seeing, breathing, eating or drinking. 

He told Brazilian news site G1: ‘I’ve never had difficulties, my life is normal. I’m in full-on quarantine because this Covid is very aggressive, it’s lethal, so we’re scared. 

‘I’m being over twice as careful, I’ve been isolating for over a year and I only leave the house to sort out things that only I can do in person, such as banking.’   

Besides his motivational speaking, ‘Claudinho’ also volnuteers with the local Christian educational project Alegra-te which works with vulnerable children

‘Claudinho’ has not let his disability impede him from leading a happy and busy life. Pictured above, ‘Claudinho’ and his friends enjoy a day at the beach

‘Claudinho’ also volunteers with the local Christian educational project Alegra-te which works with vulnerable children.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought his usually busy life to a hold, as he has been isolating at home to remain safe, but he is hoping to get back on track in the next month. 

‘I miss it so much. I’ve got a speech in the municipality of Bezerra, in the [north-eastern Brazilian] state of Pernamubco, scheduled for 28th April. If the pandemic eases, it’ll go ahead.’ 

What is arthrogryposis multiplex congenita? 

Arthrogryposis, also called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), is a term used to describe a variety of conditions involving multiple joint contractures.

The cause is unknown, although arthrogryposis is thought to be related to inadequate room in utero and low amniotic fluid. The patient may have an underlying neurological condition or connective tissue disorder.

Symptoms in patients with arthrogryposis can vary greatly. In most cases, both the arms and legs are involved.

Muscle contractures of joints commonly take place in the wrist, hand, elbow and shoulder on either side of the body.

 While there is no cure for arthrogryposis, there are nonoperative and operative methods aimed to improve range of motion and function at the sites of contracture.

Source: John Hopkins Medicine

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