French-Canadian singer Celine Dion recently revealed to her 5.2 Million Instagram followers that she has been diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome.
“Recently I’ve been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called the Stiff-Person Syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people,” she says. This figure is quite accurate, as according to the Johns Hopkins Department of Neurology, it impacts “only about one-two in a million people”.
Celine Dion postpones tour to 2024
In the video, the singer revealed that the condition has left her experiencing difficulty walking and singing. This has led to her rescheduling her 2023 tour, set to begin in Europe in February, to 2024.
“Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to.”
What is Stiff Person Syndrome?
Stiff-Person Syndrome is a rare, progressive neurological disorder. The National Institute for Neurological Disorders defines it as
“fluctuating muscle rigidity in the… limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise (such as a car horn), touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms”.
Stiff-Person Syndrome is often characterized by abnormal postures which tend to be hunched over and stiffened. The condition can impact a person’s normal defensive reflexes. This can then lead to frequent, severe falls and, over time, disability.
Symptoms to look out for
Explained as an individual disease, symptoms for this condition can vary from person to person, but there are a few key symptoms to look out for. “It tends to begin with stiffness in the abdomen and torso, which can spread to the legs, arms, and face,” Dr. Tankha, an anesthesiologist, says. In the beginning, this mobility decrease is infrequent, but it builds up over time, becoming more constant and severe.
These spasms don’t have a specific duration, lasting anywhere from seconds to hours.
Who Is At Risk?
According to Dr. Richard Nowak, assistant professor of Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine, this condition can affect “anyone at any age…” It has, however, been noted that it typically occurs in those between the ages of 30 and 60, and it is more common in women than men, like many other immune conditions such as Graves’ Disease and Lupus.
Is There A Cure?
Unfortunately, a cure is yet to be discovered. However, treatments to ensure pain and symptom management include muscle relaxers and Botox injections. Severe symptoms are treated using immunotherapy and immunosuppressants. This is because slowing down the body’s immune response has been shown to alleviate symptoms.
An ongoing health journey for Celine
“I’ve been dealing with problems with my health for a long time,” Dion says. She went on to describe her health journey as a “struggle”. This isn’t the first time the star has had to reschedule performances due to health issues. In 2021, she postponed her Las Vegas Residency, citing “severe and persistent muscle spasms” as the reason.
“Road to Recovery”
You can rest assured that Dion is well on the road to getting back on stage. She stated in the video that she is working hard with her sports medicine therapist every day to build back her strength and her ability to perform again.
Ending the video unable to hold back her tears, the singer thanked her fans for their support. She also stressed the importance of focusing on her health.
MAIN IMAGE CREDIT: celinedion/instagram
Watch Celine’s video below
View this post on Instagram