Stiff Person Syndrome

By: Sara Cabe

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Synonyms

- Moersch-Woltman Syndrome

- SMS

- SPS

- Stiff-Man Syndrome

General Description

SPS is a rare neurological disorder characterized by progressive muscle stiffness and repeated episodes of painful muscle spasms.

Signs and Symptoms

Some signs of SPS are progressive, fluctuating muscular rigidity that occurs along with muscle spasms. The symptoms usually develop over a period of months and then remain stable for many years or slowly worsen.

Causes

The cause of SPS is unknown but some studies in the medical literature think that it may be an autoimmune disorder.

Affected Populations

SPS is a rare disorder. Approximately 1 in 1,000,000 individuals in the general population have SPS. There is a female predominance between the ages of 30-60. SPS affects individuals of any age and both genders.

Related Disorders

Tetanus, Paraneoplastic Stiff-Person Syndrome

Diagnosis

A diagnosis of SPS is made based on the identification of characteristic symptoms, a detailed patient history, and a clinical evaluation.

Standard Therapies

Treatments for SPS is directed toward the specific symptoms. Drugs known as diazepam are used to treat muscle stiffness and spasms.

Supporting Organizations

NORD Member Organizations

American Autoimmune & Related Diseases

Other Organizations

AutoImmunity Community

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center.

Living With Stiff Person Syndrome

Movement Disorder Society