Stiff Man Syndrome

Below you will find more information about Stiff Man Syndrome from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Stiff Man Syndrome it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Stiff Man Syndrome and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Stiff Man Syndrome comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.


Stiff man syndrome (or Stiff Person syndrome) is a rare neurological disorder with features of an autoimmune disease. SPS is marked by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms. Abnormal postures, often hunched over and stiffened, are common signs of the disorder.


The symptoms of SPS suggest the diagnosis.


Treatment is usually palliative with muscle relaxants which enhance GABA production, such as benzodiazepines. These treatments gradually lose their effectiveness as the illness progresses.

Symptoms and Signs

Those affected with the illness experience progressive, fluctuating tonic muscle contractions, particularly the axial musculature. Depression and anxiety are often seen although this may be a result of discomfort due to stiffness, rather than underlying neurochemical abnormalities. MRI detection of GABA in the brain have demonstrated decreased levels in stiff-person syndrome


Since many patients with SPS have circulating antibodies to the enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), an autoimmune cause of the disease has been theorized. A mutation in GLRA1 (glycine receptor) is responsible for a few cases of stiff person syndrome.

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