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Stiff-person syndrome – Battling Stiff Person Syndrome: Understanding the Rare Condition Affecting Celine Dion

Stiff Person Syndrome

Complications arising from a rare neurological condition called stiff person syndrome have led to the cancellation of singer Celine Dion’s “Courage World Tour” dates through 2024, according to a statement released on her social media account on Friday.

In December, Dion had postponed several performances after experiencing muscle pain and mobility difficulties. At the time, she revealed that these symptoms were caused by spasms associated with stiff person syndrome.

Despite undergoing daily physical therapy, Dion continues to suffer from intense pain, according to a source close to her. In an Instagram announcement regarding the tour’s cancellation, Dion expressed her apologies to her fans, stating that she is working diligently to regain her strength. However, she acknowledged the challenges of touring, even under optimal conditions, and made the difficult decision to cancel all shows until she is fully ready to return to the stage. She assured her fans that she is determined and eagerly anticipates seeing them again.

Stiff person syndrome is a rare condition characterized by muscle rigidity, spasms, heightened sensitivity to stimuli, and emotional distress that can trigger muscle spasms. Over time, individuals with the condition may develop a hunched posture. The stiffness initially affects the middle part of the body, such as the trunk and abdomen, before progressing to involve the legs and other muscles. Severe spasms can cause falls, fractures, and significant disability. In some cases, anxiety associated with the disease can make individuals reluctant to leave their homes due to triggering stimuli, such as street noises.

Stiff person syndrome is extremely rare, affecting approximately 1 in 1 million people. It predominantly affects women and is often associated with other autoimmune diseases. The exact cause is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve an autoimmune response in the brain and spinal cord.

While there is no known cure for stiff person syndrome, treatment focuses on managing symptoms. Medications, such as immunoglobulins, can help lower sensitivity to triggers, and pain relievers, muscle relaxers, and anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed. Additional therapies, including acupuncture, physical therapy, and heat and water therapy, can provide some relief. Left untreated, the disease can significantly impact daily functioning.

Dion, who has been open about her health struggles, is supported by a team of medical professionals and her children as she works toward regaining her strength and ability to perform. The challenges of the illness, such as sensitivity to loud noises and bright lights, require her to receive aggressive and timely treatment to ensure her well-being and ability to continue her career.