What is Stiff Person Syndrome? The incurable condition Celine Dion is battling

‘My Heart Will Go On’ singer has been diagnosed with an incurable neurological condition

Ellie Muir
Monday 05 February 2024 15:46
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What is Stiff Person Syndrome?

Celine Dion has been spotted at the 2024 Grammy Awards, months after she was diagnosed with an incurable neurological condition: Stiff Person Syndrome.

The legendary Canadian singer was seen chatting with stylist Law Roach in a video shared to X, formerly Twitter. “Breaking: Celine Dion is in the building!! Looking healthy, beautiful and amazing,” wrote user Chris Gardner, noting that Dion went up a “VIP elevator with garment bags full of gowns.”

The rare appearance comes after Dion had cancelled her world tour amid her battle with Stiff Person Syndrome. Dion, 55, said in a statement: “I’m working really hard to build back my strength, but touring can be very difficult even when you’re 100 per cent.”

She added: “I’m so sorry to disappoint all of you once again. It’s not fair to you to keep postponing the shows, and even though it breaks my heart, it’s best that we cancel everything now until I’m really ready to be back on stage again.

In December 2022, the “My Heart Will Go On” singer posted an emotional video to her Instagram page explaining that she had been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome, which she says affects “every aspect of my daily life”.

She said that the rare condition has been causing muscle spasms which affect her ability to perform and sing. “I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time and it’s been really difficult for me to face my challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through,” Dion said in a teary-eyed video.

She continued: “Recently I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called the Stiff Person Syndrome which affects one in a million people.

“While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all the spasms I’ve been having.”

Celine Dion has cancelled eight of her summer shows scheduled for 2023 due to incurable neurological disease

The singer also cancelled eight of her summer shows scheduled for 2023 and rescheduled her Spring 2023 shows to 2024.

“I miss you so much,” the singer told fans. “I always give 100 per cent when I do my shows but my condition is not allowing me to give that to you right now”.

However, Dion assured fans that she has a “great team of doctors” working hard to help her get better, but admitted it has been a “struggle”.

What is Stiff Person Syndrome?

Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) is an autoimmune and neurological disorder that causes rigidity in the torso and limbs. Symptoms include stiffening in the torso and limbs, along with muscle spasms.

Symptoms can be triggered by environmental stimuli (like loud noises) or emotional stress. Severe muscle spasms can cause the person to fall down.

These symptoms can lead to difficulty walking and over time, even greater disability.

What causes Stiff Person Syndrome?

Though the cause of SPS remains unknown, researchers suspect it may be caused by an autoimmune reaction where the body attacks nerve cells in the central nervous system that control muscle movement, according to Yale Medicine.

Most people with SPS will start experiencing symptoms between the ages of 30 and 60.

Is there a cure for Stiff Person Syndrome?

There is no cure for SPS. When doctors treat patients with the condition, they focus on relieving symptoms with medications such as muscle relaxants and steroids.

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