Public figures have the right to keep their health status to themselves, but Celine Dion chose to be open about her rare disease— it’s a condition called Stiff Person Syndrome. What is this condition exactly and how is it treated?
Celine Dion Opens Up About Her Diagnosis
In an Instagram upload, Celine Dion revealed that she has a rare neurological disease called Stiff Person Syndrome. In the emotional post, she said “While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having.”
Celine Dion informed her fans about the cancellation of the European leg of the Courage World Tour and rescheduled it for another time (around 2023 or 2024). Her voice is affected by her condition. In the same upload, she added “Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to.”
What is Stiff Person Syndrome?
The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) describes Stiff Person Syndrome or SPS as “a rare acquired neurological disorder characterized by progressive muscle stiffness (rigidity) and repeated episodes of painful muscle spasms.” It’s a disease that affects a person’s spinal cord and central nervous system. Before the disease was called SPS, it was once called different names like Moersch-Woltman syndrome and Stiff Man Syndrome.
Signs and Symptoms
People who suffer from Stiff Person Syndrome may not notice their condition right away. The symptoms start gradually and they may ignore it at first. A person who has SPS may experience muscle rigidity, stiffness, and (or) painful spasms in the back or trunk of the body.
The severity of muscle aches and pain varies from one person to another. There can be times when the muscle spasms are mild but there can also be periods where the pain can last for hours to days. The rapidity of the muscle spasm fluctuations also varies.
A therapist will conduct an examination and base a person’s treatment on their symptoms. Medications like benzodiazepines, corticosteroids, or intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) may be given by their healthcare provider. Other than medications, the patient may undergo physical, heat, or water therapy to ease their symptoms— massage and acupuncture can also be alternative options.
Any type of disease (mild or severe) is never pleasant to the person experiencing it, or the ones around them. Fortunately, Celine Dion’s opening up about her illness shed a light on Stiff Person Syndrome. This gives validation to the ones who are possibly going through the disease and hopefully, this inspires them to have themselves checked by a medical professional. If you think the symptoms listed above resonate with you, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.