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Living With Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS)

By Oreoritse Tariemi
09 December 2022   |   11:04 am
A rare acquired neurological condition, Stiff-Person syndrome (SPS) is characterized by growing muscle stiffness (rigidity) and recurrent bouts of excruciating muscle spasms. Muscle rigidity frequently swings (i.e., gets worse before getting better) and typically happens concurrently with muscle spasms. These spasms can happen at random or be brought on by a number of various things,…

Stiff Person Syndrome photo

A rare acquired neurological condition, Stiff-Person syndrome (SPS) is characterized by growing muscle stiffness (rigidity) and recurrent bouts of excruciating muscle spasms.

Muscle rigidity frequently swings (i.e., gets worse before getting better) and typically happens concurrently with muscle spasms.

These spasms can happen at random or be brought on by a number of various things, such as a loud noise or a brief physical contact. Other neurological symptoms or indications are typically absent. Each person has a unique level of SPS severity and progression. If SPS is not treated, it may worsen and make it difficult to walk, which would greatly affect one’s capacity to carry out regular, everyday duties.

It is thought to be caused by an abnormal response of the immune system, resulting in abnormal production of antibodies that attack the bodys own nervous system. SPS typically begins in adulthood, usually between the ages of 3050, and affects men more often than women.

Symptoms usually begin with muscle stiffness and spasms in the legs and trunk. These symptoms can be triggered by stress, cold temperatures, and sudden movements. The muscle stiffness and spasms can be so severe that it can cause difficulty walking and balancing. Other symptoms can include fatigue, depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.

Causes of SPS

The exact cause of SPS is unknown, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the bodys immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue. It is also believed that certain environmental factors, such as viral infections, can trigger the abnormal immune response. The main goal of treatment for SPS is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Despite its name, SPS is not just a physical condition but also a neurological disorder. As a result, it can affect mental and emotional health too. The exact cause of SPS is still unknown, but researchers believe it is linked to an autoimmune disorder. In this condition, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body, resulting in inflammation and muscle stiffness. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 1 million people have SPS, though it is more common in women than men.

Treating SPS

Treatment options may include medications, such as immunosuppressants and muscle relaxants, physical therapy

Living With SPS

Living with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) can be a difficult and draining condition. There is no cure for SPS, but there are treatments and therapies that can help manage the symptoms. Medications are often prescribed to reduce muscle spasms, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the inflammation that leads to the stiffness. Physical therapy can also be beneficial for helping to increase mobility, strength, and flexibility. It is important for people with SPS to stay physically active, as exercise can help to maintain and improve muscle strength and flexibility. Additionally, stress reduction and relaxation techniques can help to reduce the frequency and intensity of spasms.