According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, stiff-person syndrome affects 1 or 2 individuals per million. On Thursday, Celine Dion told followers she has it.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says the disorder "is characterised by variable muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional discomfort, which can trigger off muscle spasms" (NINDS).
Stiff-person syndrome causes hunching and difficulty walking. “Afraid to leave the house because street noises, such as a horn, can provoke spasms and falls,” NINDS says.
Without "normal defensive responses," individuals with stiff-person syndrome frequently fall and are easily injured.
Dion, fighting back tears, stated that her condition forces her to postpone upcoming spring 2023 performances. "I was not prepared to speak previously, but I am now. Before confirming her diagnosis, the Canadian singer stated, "I've been suffering with health issues for a long time, and it's been quite difficult for me to face these obstacles and discuss everything that I've been going through." This is now known to be the cause of the spasms I've been experiencing.
Dion explained that the spasms impact "all part" of her life, making it difficult for her to move and sing. "I always give my all throughout my performances, but my current condition prevents me from doing so," she explained.
According to the NINDS, the syndrome occurs approximately twice as frequently in women as in men, but in very small numbers overall. The cause is unknown, but research indicates that it may be an autoimmune disorder affecting the brain and spinal cord.
According to the NINDS, the rare disorder is frequently misdiagnosed as Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis, among other conditions. There is no known cure, however it can be treated with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), muscle relaxants, and pain medications.
"I must admit it has been difficult," Dion stated. “All I know is that singing is what I’ve done all my life and it’s what I love to do the most.” The singer closed by adding she aims to concentrate totally on her health and recuperation, and expects to be back on stage performing soon.