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Celine Dion Says Singing With Stiff Person Syndrome Is Like ‘Somebody’s Strangling You,’ Reveals She Has Broken Ribs From Spasms

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Ellise Shafer Celine Dion opened up about the difficulties of performing with Stiff Person Syndrome on “Today,” telling Hoda Kotb that singing is “like somebody’s strangling you.” In the new interview, the full version of which will air June 11 at 10 p.m.

ET on NBC, Dion demonstrated to Kotb the physical effects of Stiff Person Syndrome. Pressing inward on her throat with her fingers, Dion said “it’s like somebody’s pushing your larynx, pharynx, this way.” Dion proceeded to speak in a breathy, restrained tone, saying: “It’s like you’re talking like that, and you cannot go higher or lower.” Stiff Person Syndrome, which Dion was diagnosed with in December 2022, is a rare neurological disorder that causes progressive muscular stiffness.

Part of this, Dion explained, is spasms that can be “abdominal, can be in the spine, can be in the ribs.” “It feels like if I point my feet, it will stay in [that position],” Dion said. “Or, if I cook — because I love to cook — my fingers, my hands will get in position.

It’s cramping, but it’s like in a position of like, you cannot unlock them.” Dion revealed she had even “broken ribs at one point.” “Sometimes, when it’s very severe, it can break some ribs,” the singer said.

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