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What Is Stiff-person Syndrome? A Rare Disorder That Celine Dion Has Been Diagnosed With

The Music industry was engulfed with tragedy after Celine Dion announced that she was "rescheduling” her tour dates after she was diagnosed with a rare disorder

Celine Dion

Image: AP

The Music industry was engulfed with tragedy after singer Celine Dion announced that she was “canceling and rescheduling” her tour dates after she was diagnosed with a rare neurological syndrome. The 54-year-old singer born in Quebec, Canada is known for her classic songs like “My Heart will go on”, that featured in the movie Titanic. On December 8, Thursday, the legendary singer posted a video on Instagram announcing the postponement of her tour and talked about her recent diagnosis. 

Celine Dion on Thursday shared she was diagnosed with “Stiff-Person” syndrome (SPS). The syndrome is a very rare neurological disorder that affects around one in a million people around the world. In the post, she said, “I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time, and it’s been really difficult for me to face these challenges and to talk about everything that I’ve been going through…It hurts me to tell you that I won’t be ready to restart my tour in Europe in February.”


A post shared by Céline Dion (@celinedion)

What is “Stiff-person syndrome”?

Stiff-person syndrome is a rare autoimmune neurological condition, that affects the central nervous system. It is quite rare and causes progressive stiffness in the body. According to The New York Times, the term was first coined in the 1920s as “stiff man syndrome”. Doctors in the 1920s used to claim that patients used to fall over like “a wooden man.” The director of the Stiff Person Syndrom Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Dr. Scott Newsome, told the New York Times that the cause of the condition is not clear but “the immune system is involved” in the onset of the disease.

Dr. Kunal Desai, from Yale Medicine neurologist, told US Today that the Neurological disorder affects “other muscles, including muscles in the arms as well as speaking and swallowing muscles.” He then went on to add that the “muscles can feel tight as a rock. So, it can be very, very uncomfortable and painful.” Dr. Desai also asserted that stress and even “subtle movements” can cause pain to those who are suffering from the disorder.

Is the disorder curable? 

According to Yale Medicine, there is no cure for SPS, however, there are treatments to help relieve the symptoms. Various medications and immunotherapies are prescribed by doctors along with different types of Physical therapy. Reiterating the rareness of the disease, Desai said, "It's a rare disease, to begin with. And there are cases of death being reported, but ... it's rare for a rare disease.” In her Instagram post, the singer claimed that she is trying to cope with this, with the support of her children and doctors have been hinting that she will make a comeback soon.

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