Skip to content

    Children's Health

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Stiff Person Syndrome

    Important
    It is possible that the main title of the report Stiff Person Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Synonyms

    • SMS
    • Moersch-Woltman syndrome
    • SPS
    • stiff-man syndrome

    Disorder Subdivisions

    • focal stiff person syndrome
    • stiff limb syndrome
    • jerking stiff person syndrome
    • progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity and myoclonus
    • PERM

    General Discussion

    Stiff-person syndrome (SPS) is a rare acquired neurological disorder characterized by progressive muscle stiffness (rigidity) and repeated episodes of painful muscle spasms. Muscular rigidity often fluctuates (i.e., grows worse and then improves) and usually occurs along with the muscle spasms. Spasms may occur randomly or be triggered by a variety of different events including a sudden noise or light physical contact. In most cases, other neurological signs or symptoms do not occur. The severity and progression of SPS varies from one person to another. If left untreated, SPS can potentially progress to cause difficulty walking and significantly impact a person's ability to perform routine, daily tasks. Although the exact cause of SPS is unknown, it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder and sometimes occurs along with other autoimmune disorders.

    Stiff-person syndrome has been described in the medical literature under many different, confusing names. Originally described as stiff-man syndrome, the name was changed to reflect that the disorder can affect individuals of any age and of either gender. In fact, most individuals with the condition are women. Stiff-person syndrome is considered by many researchers to be a spectrum of disease ranging from the involvement of just one area of the body to a widespread, rapidly progressive form that also includes involvement of the brain stem and spinal cord (progressive encephalomyelitis with rigidity and myoclonus).

    Resources

    American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.
    22100 Gratiot Ave.
    Eastpointe, MI 48021
    Tel: (586)776-3900
    Fax: (586)776-3903
    Tel: (800)598-4668
    Email: aarda@aarda.org
    Internet: http://www.aarda.org/

    NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    P.O. Box 5801
    Bethesda, MD 20824
    Tel: (301)496-5751
    Fax: (301)402-2186
    Tel: (800)352-9424
    TDD: (301)468-5981
    Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

    Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
    PO Box 8126
    Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
    Tel: (301)251-4925
    Fax: (301)251-4911
    Tel: (888)205-2311
    TDD: (888)205-3223
    Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

    Autoimmune Information Network, Inc.
    PO Box 4121
    Brick, NJ 08723
    Fax: (732)543-7285
    Email: autoimmunehelp@aol.com

    AutoImmunity Community
    Email: moderator@autoimmunitycommunity.org
    Internet: http://www.autoimmunitycommunity.org

    Living With Stiff Person Syndrome
    Tel: 904-375-9385
    Email: debbie@livingwithsps.com
    Internet: http://www.livingwithsps.com/index.html

    Stiff Person Syndrome.Net
    5667 Swamp Fox Rd.
    Jacksonville, FL 32210
    Tel: (904)771-9185
    Fax: (904)771-5491
    Email: john@stiffpersonsyndrome.net
    Internet: http://www.stiffpersonsyndrome.net

    Movement Disorder Society
    555 E. Wells Street
    Suite 1100
    Milwaukee, WI 53202-3823
    Tel: (414)276-2145
    Fax: (414)276-3349
    Email: info@movementdisorders.org
    Internet: http://www.movementdisorders.org

    Stiff Man Syndrome Support group
    75 Normandy Avenue
    Beverley
    East Yorkshire, HU17 8PF
    United Kingdom
    Tel: 01482868881
    Email: liz.blows@smssupportgroup.co.uk
    Internet: www.smssupportgroup.co.uk

    For a Complete Report:

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

    The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

    It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

    This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

    For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

    Last Updated: 7/13/2010
    Copyright 1987, 1989, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2010 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

    WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    jennifer aniston
    Slideshow
     
    Measles virus
    Article
    sick child
    Slideshow
     

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Child Coughing or Sneezing into Elbow
    Article