Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) is a rare neurological disorder that is characterized by muscle stiffness and spasms, often accompanied by pain and difficulty with movement. The condition affects the central nervous system and is caused by an autoimmune response that targets the neurons responsible for controlling muscle movement.
The hallmark symptom of SPS is muscle stiffness, which can affect any muscle group in the body but typically begins in the back or legs. The stiffness can be severe, causing difficulty with movement and even falls. Muscle spasms and jerking movements may also occur, sometimes triggered by sudden noises or movements.
Other symptoms associated with SPS may include:
There is no cure for SPS, but treatment can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment options may include:
Medications: Medications that suppress the immune system, such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants, can help reduce inflammation and slow the progression of the disease. Muscle relaxants and anti-anxiety medications may also be used to manage symptoms.
Physical therapy: Physical therapy and other rehabilitative therapies can help improve mobility, reduce muscle stiffness, and prevent falls.
Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG): IVIG is a treatment that involves infusions of immunoglobulin, a protein that helps regulate the immune system. IVIG can help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms in some people with SPS.
Plasmapheresis: Plasmapheresis is a treatment that involves removing and replacing blood plasma, which can help remove antibodies that are targeting the neurons responsible for muscle movement.