Stiff Person Syndrome

Posted by Suzanne Leaf-Brock @suzanneleafbrock, Jul 5, 2011

Am interested in connecting with people who have this or are significant others of people who have this condition. (I’m in the latter group).

Liked by mcrchicago

A dear friend was just diagnosed. I would be interested in hearing from others.

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We tried a number of drug therapies as well as plasma exchange for my husband. Some people respond better than others to different combinations of drugs. The chronic pain has its ups and downs, I’ve come to think of it as the degree of pain that he is encountering because it is never an absence of pain. For him the plasma exchange did not help; he was to have a series of three, but it was evident it wasn’t helping after the second so we didn’t continue.

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Hi Sue – how long has your husband had SPS? Has your Neuro tried him on Diazepam and Baclofen. A lot of SPS’ers use Gabapentin for the pain. Also I’ve recently found out the if your not a diabetic you will not get much benefit from the plasma exchange. We are all different yet we are the same – SPS is funny like that.

Have you tried the Inspire Group as they have a big following for SPS there and wonderful members that offer loads of support.

Wishing you all the best in your search for answers and relief. (I have SPS)

Cheers Judiff:)

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Suzanne, I also have stiff persons syndrome. I was just diagnosed last summer. I don’t have it too bad as it just occasionally effects my left leg and mid-section to where I stiffen up. I am now taking medicine for that but I also tried IVIG and I don’t think it helped. My biggest problem is I can’t walk through parking lots, or even walk outside without some kind of assistance and I get kind of dizzy and scared. I also tend to have a problem when walking in front of other people unless I have my cane or walker with me. I didn’t know if this disease tends to get worse or not. I do much better in the summer it seems than in the winter. I just can’t even walk down the sidewalk on my own, however I can walk in my own home and my office without any assistance. Makes no sense to me. I am on an anti-anxiety drug but it doesn’t seem to help this part of it. I guess I’m lucky as I don’t have pain.

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@nutmeg

Suzanne, I also have stiff persons syndrome. I was just diagnosed last summer. I don’t have it too bad as it just occasionally effects my left leg and mid-section to where I stiffen up. I am now taking medicine for that but I also tried IVIG and I don’t think it helped. My biggest problem is I can’t walk through parking lots, or even walk outside without some kind of assistance and I get kind of dizzy and scared. I also tend to have a problem when walking in front of other people unless I have my cane or walker with me. I didn’t know if this disease tends to get worse or not. I do much better in the summer it seems than in the winter. I just can’t even walk down the sidewalk on my own, however I can walk in my own home and my office without any assistance. Makes no sense to me. I am on an anti-anxiety drug but it doesn’t seem to help this part of it. I guess I’m lucky as I don’t have pain.

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jHi Nutmeg, These are not problems that my husband has mentioned to me, so I don’t have experience with them. I sure hope that you can find answers and relief. My husband says that changes in the weather and temperature affect his symptoms. He does get dizziness sometimes, but that might be inner ear disorder and not Stiff Person Syndrome. I don’t know, I’m not a doctor, but just trying to help.

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@nutmeg

Suzanne, I also have stiff persons syndrome. I was just diagnosed last summer. I don’t have it too bad as it just occasionally effects my left leg and mid-section to where I stiffen up. I am now taking medicine for that but I also tried IVIG and I don’t think it helped. My biggest problem is I can’t walk through parking lots, or even walk outside without some kind of assistance and I get kind of dizzy and scared. I also tend to have a problem when walking in front of other people unless I have my cane or walker with me. I didn’t know if this disease tends to get worse or not. I do much better in the summer it seems than in the winter. I just can’t even walk down the sidewalk on my own, however I can walk in my own home and my office without any assistance. Makes no sense to me. I am on an anti-anxiety drug but it doesn’t seem to help this part of it. I guess I’m lucky as I don’t have pain.

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You describe almost exactly my symptoms. I’ve had it for more than 20 years. Was finally given a tentative diagnosis in 2008 based on my symptoms and EMG. Basically, everything else was ruled out. I know people wonder why I use a walker when I generally walk pretty well, but if you take it away (unless I’m at home with a cane) I stiffen and cannot walk. I retired in 2008 and my symptoms are much better due to less stress but I’m afraid I will never get away from the walker.

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Hi Nutmeg.. I have the same symptoms as you mentioned. I walk well at home but can’t walk in open spaces. I can walk near a wall but panic if I don’t think I can reach something stable. I walk fine if I hold onto to someone. How are you doing now? Did you continue the IVIG? Do you have type one diabetes? I do have hypothyroidism and Pernacious anemia. Thank you for posting.

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Hi. My sister was just diagnosed with Generalized Dystonia and Stiff Person Syndrome. We live in Ormond Beach, Fl. Just north of Daytona. We are having a difficult time finding a doctor to treat her. The Mayo in Jacksonville does not have an opening for this diagnosis. She has gotten one set of Botox injections from a doctor at Shands but she has gotten worse. We are unsure of where to turn. She has been prescribed Baclofen and Valium as well. She was neg for GAD and for cancer. They are calling this idiopathic Stiff Man Syndrome. In other words they really do not know why she has this disease. But it seems a small subset of people with Stiff Man Syndrome have the idiopathic type. Does anyone know a doctor in the Central or Northern Florida area who treats this disease? I would love to hear from anyone. Because she is so dilbiltated she cannot use the computer at the moment and I am helping her with the search. Thank you, Marita Kelly

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@maritakelly Hello Marita,

Welcome to Mayo Connect! Your sister is so fortunate to have you as her advocate. I found some information on the NORD website, here is the link, https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/stiff-person-syndrome/

A few other members have posted about this disorder as well. I will tag some of the members who have mentioned this disorder and perhaps they will join in a conversation with you @suzanneleafbrock @mcrchicago @judiff @nutmeg @fivets

If you are comfortable doing so, please tell us a bit about your sister’s history with this disorder. For example, what type of specialist diagnosed this and what type of tests did she have?

We look forward to supporting you and your sister.

Teresa

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Thank you for getting back to me. My sister was originally diagnosed with ALS in 2000 at the University of Pa. Hospital. She was later, 2010 taken out of the ALS diagnosis but still no diagnosis for what was wrong. She was finally diagnosed by Dr. Ogue, neurologist, at Shands Jacksonville with Stiff Man Syndrome and Dystonia. She brought her old EMG from 2010 and was diagnosed on the spot with SPS at Shands in October 2017. She received 30 Botox injections via EMG for Dystonia symptoms over a month ago. This appears to have made her symptoms worse. She is in a tremendous amount of pain. She is taking Valium and Baclofen now as well. Although we are grateful to the neurologist who finally diagnosed her, we are looking for another specialized neurologist to treat her long term for both SPS. We know there is an excellent neurology clinic at the Mayo in Jacksonville but they are not taking any new patients as hey are at capacity with no waiting list either. We are not sure where to turn. We appreciate any help and information you can provide. Thank you, Marita Kelly

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So sorry to hear all this. I work at Mayo Clinic and my husband was diagnosed at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. That is actually where this condition was first identified and one of the key diagnostic tools is a blood test. My husband did not find baclofen to help, and is on a variety of meds, including neurotin. He tried plasma exchange as an experimental treatment, but that did not help him. Everybody responds differently to meds and treatments. He finds keeping his back really warm helps him, so he wears lots of jackets all the time, even in the summer, he wears fleece sweatshirts. As for dystonia, he does not have that, but a dear friend does and has turned to alternative medicine for much of her support to try to strengthen her neck, etc. She wears a neck brace that helps a lot. I have not heard her mention botox injections and I would have expected she would have told me if she had tried that. I am guessing that placement of those injections can make a difference, similar to when a steroid injection is given for a bad knee, it has to get put in the right place to really help. I am not a doctor or any type of professional care giver and what I’m saying is not anything official from Mayo Clinic. I just happen to work there, in the communications department. All the best and happy to talk more if that helps.

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@suzanneleafbrock

So sorry to hear all this. I work at Mayo Clinic and my husband was diagnosed at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. That is actually where this condition was first identified and one of the key diagnostic tools is a blood test. My husband did not find baclofen to help, and is on a variety of meds, including neurotin. He tried plasma exchange as an experimental treatment, but that did not help him. Everybody responds differently to meds and treatments. He finds keeping his back really warm helps him, so he wears lots of jackets all the time, even in the summer, he wears fleece sweatshirts. As for dystonia, he does not have that, but a dear friend does and has turned to alternative medicine for much of her support to try to strengthen her neck, etc. She wears a neck brace that helps a lot. I have not heard her mention botox injections and I would have expected she would have told me if she had tried that. I am guessing that placement of those injections can make a difference, similar to when a steroid injection is given for a bad knee, it has to get put in the right place to really help. I am not a doctor or any type of professional care giver and what I’m saying is not anything official from Mayo Clinic. I just happen to work there, in the communications department. All the best and happy to talk more if that helps.

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Thank you @suzanneleafbrock for providing some first-hand experience. I’m glad that your husband found help at Mayo in Minnesota. I hope @maritakelly is able to find some help for her sister soon.

@maritakelly Would your sister be able to travel to Mayo in Minnesota if they had appointments available?

Teresa

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@maritakelly

Thank you for getting back to me. My sister was originally diagnosed with ALS in 2000 at the University of Pa. Hospital. She was later, 2010 taken out of the ALS diagnosis but still no diagnosis for what was wrong. She was finally diagnosed by Dr. Ogue, neurologist, at Shands Jacksonville with Stiff Man Syndrome and Dystonia. She brought her old EMG from 2010 and was diagnosed on the spot with SPS at Shands in October 2017. She received 30 Botox injections via EMG for Dystonia symptoms over a month ago. This appears to have made her symptoms worse. She is in a tremendous amount of pain. She is taking Valium and Baclofen now as well. Although we are grateful to the neurologist who finally diagnosed her, we are looking for another specialized neurologist to treat her long term for both SPS. We know there is an excellent neurology clinic at the Mayo in Jacksonville but they are not taking any new patients as hey are at capacity with no waiting list either. We are not sure where to turn. We appreciate any help and information you can provide. Thank you, Marita Kelly

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@maritakelly It sounds as if your sister has really been trying to come up with the correct diagnosis and treatment. I can certainly understand how difficult it must be not to find a treatment that works well for her.

Will you keep in touch and let us know how she is doing?

Teresa

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@maritakelly

Hi. My sister was just diagnosed with Generalized Dystonia and Stiff Person Syndrome. We live in Ormond Beach, Fl. Just north of Daytona. We are having a difficult time finding a doctor to treat her. The Mayo in Jacksonville does not have an opening for this diagnosis. She has gotten one set of Botox injections from a doctor at Shands but she has gotten worse. We are unsure of where to turn. She has been prescribed Baclofen and Valium as well. She was neg for GAD and for cancer. They are calling this idiopathic Stiff Man Syndrome. In other words they really do not know why she has this disease. But it seems a small subset of people with Stiff Man Syndrome have the idiopathic type. Does anyone know a doctor in the Central or Northern Florida area who treats this disease? I would love to hear from anyone. Because she is so dilbiltated she cannot use the computer at the moment and I am helping her with the search. Thank you, Marita Kelly

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Darlene

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@maritakelly

Hi. My sister was just diagnosed with Generalized Dystonia and Stiff Person Syndrome. We live in Ormond Beach, Fl. Just north of Daytona. We are having a difficult time finding a doctor to treat her. The Mayo in Jacksonville does not have an opening for this diagnosis. She has gotten one set of Botox injections from a doctor at Shands but she has gotten worse. We are unsure of where to turn. She has been prescribed Baclofen and Valium as well. She was neg for GAD and for cancer. They are calling this idiopathic Stiff Man Syndrome. In other words they really do not know why she has this disease. But it seems a small subset of people with Stiff Man Syndrome have the idiopathic type. Does anyone know a doctor in the Central or Northern Florida area who treats this disease? I would love to hear from anyone. Because she is so dilbiltated she cannot use the computer at the moment and I am helping her with the search. Thank you, Marita Kelly

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Hi @msdee004, welcome to Connect. We look forward to getting to know you. Do you have stiff person syndrome?

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