“I’m so sorry to disappoint all of you once again,” an announcement on the singer’s social media read. “I’m working really hard to build back my strength, but touring can be very difficult even when you’re 100%. It’s not fair to you to keep postponing the shows, and even though it breaks my heart, it’s best that we cancel everything now until I’m really ready to be back on stage again. I want you all to know, I’m not giving up… and I can’t wait to see you again!”
Dion postponed several shows in December after she announced she had been diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome, a condition, she said, that doesn’t allow her “to sing the way I’m used to.”
The disorder is “a rare, progressive syndrome that affects the nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord,” according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
SPS occurs twice as frequently in women than men, and is often associated with autoimmune diseases including type-1 diabetes, pernicious anemia, thyroiditis and vitiligo, as well as people with breast, lung, kidney, colon and thyroid cancer.
Dion won her first Grammy Award in 1992 for her duet with Peabo Bryson in “Beauty and the Beast” from the Disney animated classic. She went on to win seven Billboard Music Awards and receive 12 Grammy nominations, in addition to her five Grammy wins. In April 2019, she launched the Courage World Tour, performing 52 concerts in North America before abruptly pausing it at the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. While the tour was on break, Dion starred in her first film, a romantic comedy called Love Again, and released five original songs for its soundtrack. She had planned to resume the tour on August 26 with a string of shows in Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen and Antwerp, Belgium, before heading to Norway, Sweden and Finland, and had also planned 23 shows throughout Europe in 2024, starting in Prague and ending in London.
“It’s not fair to you to keep postponing the shows, and even though it breaks my heart, it’s best that we cancel everything now until I’m really ready to be back on stage again,” Dion continued. “I want you all to know, I’m not giving up and I can’t wait to see you again!”
What is stiff person syndrome?
Stiff person syndrome is characterized by muscle rigidity and spasms, heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as sound and lights, and emotional distress that can cause muscle spasms, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Over time people with the condition can develop “hunched over postures,”.
The condition typically begins with muscle stiffness in the middle part of the body, the trunk and abdomen, before advancing to stiffness and spasms in the legs and other muscles, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
The muscle spasms can be “quite severe. These can cause falls, severe pain and significant disability,” said Dr. Emile Sami Moukheiber of the Stiff Person Syndrome Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Falls from severe spasms are very common. These spasms can be precipitated by startle, severe emotions, cold weather.”
These spasms can be strong enough to fracture bone, and any fall can lead to severe injury.
Dion said in her December Instagram video that spasms affect “every aspect” of her daily life, “sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to. It hurts me to tell you this today.”
Who is at risk of developing stiff person syndrome?
Stiff person syndrome is very rare. About 1 out of every 1 million people have the syndrome, and most general neurologists will see only one or two cases in their lifetimes, Moukheiber said.
The first case of stiff person syndrome was reported in the 1950s, according to Newsome, and the disease was historically referred to as “stiff man syndrome.”
Since then, it has been found to affect twice as many women as men, and the name was changed to stiff person syndrome to avoid confusion.
“People with SPS have elevated levels of GAD, an antibody that works against an enzyme involved in the synthesis of an important neurotransmitter in the brain,” the institute noted on its website. “A definitive diagnosis can be made with a blood test that measures the level of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies.”
Other tests include an electromyography (EMG), which measures electrical activity in the muscles, and a lumbar puncture, commonly called a spinal tap.
Because of the rarity of the disease and the ambiguity of its symptoms, people will often seek care for chronic pain before they get neurological care. The condition can be misdiagnosed as anxiety, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, psychosomatic illness or even a phobia.
Pain relievers, anti-anxiety medications and muscle relaxers can be a part of treatment for this disease. The Stiff Person Syndrome Center also uses botulinum toxin injections.
Additional benefits may come from the use of acupuncture, physical therapy, heat and water therapy, the Cleveland Clinic noted.
“If left untreated, the disease can cause severe impairment of daily living,” Moukheiber said.
Dion, who previously said she has struggled with her health for a while, said she has a great team of medical professionals and her children’s support.
“I’m working hard with my sports medicine therapist every day to build back my strength and my ability to perform again,” she said. “But I have to admit it’s been a struggle.”
For a performer like Dion, loud noises and bright lights could act as triggers of muscle spasms.
OnMyWay Is The #1 Distracted Driving Mobile App In The Nation!
OnMyWay, based in Charleston, SC, The Only Mobile App That Pays its Users Not to Text and Drive.
The #1 cause of death among young adults ages 16-27 is Car Accidents, with the majority related to Distracted Driving.
OnMyWay’s mission is to reverse this epidemic through positive rewards. Users get paid for every mile they do not text and drive and can refer their friends to get compensated for them as well.
The money earned can then be used for Cash Cards, Gift Cards, Travel Deals and Much, Much More….
The company also makes it a point to let users know that OnMyWay does NOT sell users data and only tracks them for purposes of providing a better experience while using the app.
The OnMyWay app is free to download and is currently available on both the App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Android @ OnMyWay; Drive Safe, Get Paid.
Download App Now – https://r.onmyway.com
Sponsors and advertisers can contact the company directly through their website @ www.onmyway.com