Can Stiff Person Syndrome Kill You? Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Can Stiff Person Syndrome Kill You before exploring the answer to this question we must know what Stiff Person Syndrome is. Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) is a rare or uncommon autoimmune disorder only found in some people and recognized by progressive muscle stiffness which is continuous spasms, often affecting the trunk and limbs. It can also cause other symptoms such as anxiety, pain, and difficulty with mobility or moving which means it doesn’t come alone.

The purpose or aim of this paper is to explore the question of whether SPS can kill you or not, including a detailed analysis of the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, complications, and coping strategies associated with the condition. to deal with it better.

Stiff Person Syndrome ICD 10

Stiff Person Syndrome has the ICD-10 code G25.82. For the purposes of medical billing and record-keeping, this code is used to categorize and describe the ailment.

Causes Of Stiff Person Syndrome

When the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues this can be a cold and autoimmune reaction in the body and it can cause stiff person syndrome. Which can result in inflammation pain damage and interfere with the proper functioning of organs.

There are two known types of GAD:

  1. GAD65
  2. GAD67

The certain cause of SPS is not fully understood and found but to some extent, it is thought that it is caused by the production of autoantibodies against a protein called glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD). GAD65 is considered the cause of the development of SPS. These autoantibodies prevent GAD65 from operating normally, which reduces the amount of GABA produced. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that, among other things, controls muscle tone and movement. Reduced amounts of GABA can cause more stiffness, spasms, and active muscles.

The root cause that leads to the production of GAD65 autoantibodies is not yet fully understood but some factors found by a medical professional contribution to the development of SPS. That is given below

Genetics or inherited factors_some studies or evidence shows that certain genetic factors can increase a person the chances of developing SPS.

Infections_In rare cases, SPS can be a result of viral or any bacterial infection the flu and Lyme disease can be considered an example of viral or bacterial infections.

Can Stiff Person Syndrome Kill You

Certain trauma And injury_In some cases, the person who has a physical injury or emotional and mental trauma faces the problem of SPS.

Some hormonal changes_SPS  S is reported in women which are pregnant because in pregnancy there are hormonal changes occur in women’s body

Some other diseases_ A person with other diseases or disorders like Type 1 diabetes or thyroid disease have a greater chance of developing SPS than a normal person.

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Symptoms Of Stiff Person Syndrome

The symptoms of this disease are not the same for all people which means that symptoms are not static but variable and may vary from person to person according to their fitness over health level. Some common symptoms are given below

Muscle Stiffness

One of the main symptoms of this disorder is a person feeling stiffness in the neck back and legs.  This stiffness is not for some time but continuously.  And when Timepass it becomes worsen.

Muscle Spams

If a person has SPS then the person might feel sudden jerking or spams in the muscle and sudden jerking movement can be a result of stress. Spam is a painful condition that affects the quality of life.

Can Stiff Person Syndrome Kill You

Anxiety And Fear

Some individuals who have this disorder may feel fear and anxiety due to continuous muscle pain and stiffness.

Damage Mobility

As some timepass and SPS become worst it makes movement difficult like standing walking and sitting.


SPS can affect bowel moments which can lead to constipation.

Breathing Problems

In severe cases, SPS can lead to a respiratory problem because of the stiffness of the chest muscle.

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Diagnosis Of Stiff Person Syndrome

The diagnosis of SPS can be difficult because the symptoms may overlap with other disorders for autoimmune diseases so a series of tests and diagnostic procedures are done to identify what is going through in the body.

Previous medical history and physical exam

In this step, the doctor may ask about your previous health conditions,  diseases, and the symptoms you feel.  After that perform a physical test to see muscle stiffness and other signs.

Blood Test

A blood test is taken to check the level of GAD65 in the body because it is directly associated with the development of SPS.


Can show the electrical activity of muscles to check the stiffness level and spams in muscles.

Imagine test

Imaging tests like MRI and cities can is done to check any abnormality in the spine and any other muscles.

Some other procedures are also done to figure out the root cause of muscle stiffness because, with a proper diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe the best course.

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Treatment For Stiff Person Syndrome

There is no hard and fast rule or cure to reverse the symptoms of SPS but there are many treatment options available that greatly help to manage the symptoms of this disorder.


the most common way to treat any disease is through medications.  Medications may help to reduce stiffness pain and spasms in muscles. Example of these medications is baclofen, benzodiazepines, and antispasmodic.

Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG)

Immune proteins are infused into the bloodstream as part of IVIG therapy, which can assist to lower inflammation and modifying the immune system. In some circumstances, IVIG may be used to treat stiff person syndrome.

Can Stiff Person Syndrome Kill You

Plasma Exchange

Plasma exchange is another treatment option for this disorder.  In this procedure, the blood plasma which is already present in the body is replaced with new donor plasma.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is very helpful to improve movement on mobility.  The therapist may give you the course of some exercises which helps a lot in improving your mobility.

Some other treatment options are also available like professional therapy and counseling are also very important factors in the treatment of this disorder.

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Complications of Stiff Person Syndrome

If we talk about the complication of SPS  the numerous complication associated with this disease.

Muscle weakness

SPS make our muscle so weak that can affect our mobility or movement and eventually affect our overall life.

Risk Of Injuries

SPS may increase the chances of injuries by decreasing mobility.  If it is hard to move then the chances of injury and falling become higher which makes this condition more complicated

Social Isolation

SPS can limit mobility and a person go out only for necessary things which can lead to social isolation and the person may feel alone and depressed.

Other Autoimmune Disorders

The SPS is considered an autoimmune disorder,  the person who has this disorder may have a higher chance of developing some other autoimmune disorder.

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Can Stiff Person Syndrome Kill You?

Well, there is no certain answer to this question Can Stiff Person Syndrome Kill You there are a number of complications associated with this to make this condition worst.

One of the most dangerous complications associated with this order is respiratory failure.  Because in this condition the muscle of the chest becomes stiff.  Which makes breathing hard and can be life-threatening if not treated on time.

And another complication is that it can cause some other autoimmune disorders like diabetes which affect multiple organs in the body.  If this condition is left untreated and poorly handled then it decreases the length of life.

In this condition, the person may feel depressed due to social isolation.  Due to depression, overall health becomes more worst, and the chances of recovering decrease.

Overall these disease is not considered a fatal disease or deadly disease but if left untreated can be life-threatening.

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Coping with Stiff Person Syndrome

Living with SPS can be challenging for a person in the level of mind and also for the body. Here are some strategies to follow for a better cure:

  • Emotional support: Emotional support is very important for a person who deals with this disorder so a person may not feel depressed and alone.
  • Lifestyle changes: Some healthy lifestyle changes may significantly help to cope with this disorder. Like eating a balanced diet and doing some exercise to increase mobility.
  • Support groups: Finding others who are going through similar situations can be made easier by joining a support group for people with stiff person syndrome.


Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) is a rare autoimmune disorder that caused continuous muscle stiffness. Some other symptoms include difficulty moving and anxiety.
ICD 10 Code for stiff person syndrome is G25.82.The causes of SPS include genetic factors, infections, hormonal changes, and some other autoimmune disorders. Dia gnosis involves a series of blood tests, Electromyography, imaging test, etc. Treatment options available for SPS involve medications, IVIG, plasma exchange, and physical therapy.


Video Credits:

Rare Disease Report

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