What are the stages of stiff person syndrome?

Updated: Jun 14, 2018
  • Author: Nancy Theresa Rodgers-Neame, MD; Chief Editor: Nicholas Lorenzo, MD, MHA, CPE  more...
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Answer

Variations and stages are as follows:

  • Early in the disease, patients may report stiffness of the back and sometimes the neck; very little objective findings are revealed. Patients may walk and sit with an exaggerated upright posture (classic "tin-soldier" appearance).

  • Later in the disease, response to stimuli becomes marked. Startle may lead to very uncomfortable and prolonged spasms. The symptoms worsen significantly with stress or anxiety, and the worsening of symptoms causes anxiety, often causing a disturbing self-perpetuating cycle.

  • Late stages and acute exacerbations of the disease are accompanied by crippling involvement of the extremities. Skeletal fractures and muscular rupture have been observed in late stages of disease


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