Stiff-Person Syndrome - Symptoms

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What are the signs and symptoms of Stiff-Person syndrome?

Stiff-Person syndrome is characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms. Abnormal postures, often hunched over and stiffened, are characteristic of the disorder. People with Stiff-Person syndrome can be too disabled to walk or move, or they are afraid to leave the house because street noises, such as the sound of a horn, can trigger spasms and falls.

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Comment from: Glasgow, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 28

I was being treated for panic attacks and anxiety for a period of 4 years. My groin and the bottom of my back would go into a spasm and my legs would be a dead weight. I had many falls and after one of them presented myself to ER where i was admitted for 2 weeks. For approx 4/5 days after this fall I could not walk with assistance. I have just recently being diagnosed with Stiff-Person syndrome and i am just waiting to start IVIG treatment which I hope will bring some normality back to my life.

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Comment from: Dwayne, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 29

My wife was misdiagnosed with a dystonia for three years before the GAD test was performed last summer; the test indicated SPS. Since then, she has tried Valium, IVIG, plasma exchange, Rituxan, and baclofen infusion. An evaluation at the Mayo Clinic resulted in a prescribed dosage of Valium with a target of 150 mg per day, which she could not handle and has went through painful withdrawal after getting up to 100 mg. She walks with a cane, has developed an exaggerated lordotic curve in her back, has limited stamina, and has recently started having swelling and pain in her hands, feet, and ankles. She is also suffering with depression. The classic symptoms relating to loud noise, light, and emotional distress, all of which cause muscle spasms, have progressed with her disease. Our next option, apparently, is Cytoxan along with psychiatric intervention. She has had limited benefit from Valium and no positive effect from anything else.

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