Having chronic pain can wreck havoc on your life. Constantly taking medication to keep the pain away and having it stop you from doing your favorite things can take a toll on your life. These celebrities learned how to live with their pain, whether it was from accidents or diseases. Check out how these Hollywood stars, their chronic pain, and how they manage it.
Kathleen Turner has rheumatoid arthritis. She was diagnosed in 1992 with this chronic condition that causes inflammation in various parts of the body. It is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks it’s own tissue. This can happen in the skin, lungs, heart, and joints. All of this inflammation causes damage and pain. What does she do to deal with the pain?
Coping With Pain
After she was diagnosed, she abused alcohol to deal with the pain she was in every day. Eventually she got sober and now raises awareness and speaks about the disease. She says “It is important to me that people know they have options so they can get some relief from this debilitating disease.”
In 2003, Sinead O’Connor stepped out of the spotlight due to the pain she experienced from Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes lots of pain, tiredness, and mood issues. It amplifies the pain signals your brain receives. It can appear over time or by a traumatic event. So what does she do?
Of her condition, Sinead says “Fibromyalgia is not curable. But it’s manageable. You get to know your patterns and limits, so you can work and plan around it.” She does say she has a higher pain threshold and manages it on a daily basis as best as she can.
In 1999, Montel Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). This disease causes damage to healthy nerves and effects the brain and spinal cord. Basically the immune system attacks itself. So what exactly causes MS? Viruses, environmental factors, and genetics do play an influence in this disease.
In an interview, Montel said “I still suffer from odd symptoms. I can get extreme neuralgia pain in my feet and lower extremities. It can be excruciating, and go on 24 hours a day, for months.” He says medical marijuana helps with the pain and he is a strong advocate for it.
This news anchor was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1977. Crohn’s is when the gastrointestinal tract becomes chronically inflamed. Some of the symptoms include diarrhea, bleeding, abdominal pain, and constipation. The actual cause of the disease is not known, but it can be aggravated by diet and stress. So how does she deal with it?
Putting A Name On It
Over the years she would use humor and dig her nails into her skin to distract her from the pain. In 1979, she had 15 feet of her intestines removed. She calls her disease George and says “I decided a long time ago, I wasn’t going to live my life around George.”
In 1987, Jennifer Grey was in a car accident that caused a neck injury. She mostly managed her pain with ice packs and Advil. She took a break from her career to focus on being a wife and mother. Later, she had surgery to put a plate in her neck to prevent damage and help with the pain. That wasn’t the end though.
Once the plate was put in, doctors found a tumor that was cancerous on her thyroid. Her thyroid was completely removed. Jennifer was on the 11th season of “Dancing with the Stars” because she wanted to push herself. The night before the big finale of the show, she ruptured a disc in her lower back. She had surgery again and said she is “pain free.”
Marcia Cross is best known for her roll on “Desperate Housewives.” Since she was 14 years old, she has had horrible migraines. In an interview, she said “I was knocked out and writhing in pain, and it was horrible excruciating.” So how does she handle this pain?
Marcia was a spokesperson for the drug company GlaxoSmithKline. She says “I know when it’s coming on, I take my medication, and in a number of hours, I’m back on my feet again.” Pretty much anything can trigger a migraine, it just depends on the person and how their body reacts to certain things, such as food, light, or smells.
Jillian Michaels is known for being a personal trainer on the hit show “The Biggest Loser.” You would never guess by the healthy lifestyle she lives and how she portrays herself that she lives with chronic pain every day. So what is her condition and how does she manage to keep that body even with the chronic pain?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Jillian has Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). It is caused by an elevated male hormone in women. Some of the symptoms include irregular periods, heavy periods, acne, excessive body hair, pelvic pain, and a hard time getting pregnant. Jillian has adopted instead of getting pregnant because of this disease. Her healthy lifestyle helps with the symptoms.
While filming the movie Syriana, George Clooney experienced a severe head injury, basically cracking his head open. The doctors were unsure what happened at first, but then he went to see Lisa Kudrow’s brother, a neurologist, who found fluid coming from his spinal cord. Once they found the fluid, the condition became much more serious.
George was on pain medication during this time and doctors performed a procedure where they injected blood into his spinal cord. They did this 15 times in 15 days. It was all done while he was awake. He has gotten better over the years, but still suffers from bad headaches.
Tobey Maguire suffers from chronic back pain. In fact, it almost cost him Spiderman 2. He has had the pain for many years and it comes and goes. He said his back pain got worse after filming the movie Seabiscuit, in which he had to ride a horse throughout the film. So what happened with Spiderman 2?
Almost Lost A Movie Role
Tobey told the insurance company, studio, and filmmakers of Spiderman 2 about his back pain. They were concerned and briefly considered Jake Gyllenhaal for the role. Luckily, Tobey’s back was okay to film the movie, do the stunts, and ended up being one of the biggest movies to come out.
Brett Favre played for the Green Bay Packers and even won a Super Bowl with them. Even while he was playing football, Brett had bone spurs growing on his left ankle. Bone spurs can cause joint damage and extreme pain. He had surgery in 1995 and 2007. So did it make the pain go away?
No Medication For Brett
Brett says he is in constant pain but doesn’t take any medication for it. The biggest thing that causes bone spurs is osteoarthritis. The cartilage in the body breaks down. When this happens, the body tries to repair this by creating bone spurs in the area that is damaged. Unfortunately, surgery is usually the only option to remove the spurs.
Melanie Griffith started having neck pain in 1988. It all started when she got hit by a car in 1980, which started her difficulties with neck pain. Later in her life, she became an alcoholic and was addicted to pain killers. She eventually went to rehab until she had another setback in 2007.
Skiing Accident Setback
While skiing in 2007, she was in an accident when she needed surgery. She was put back on pain killers and went through three knee operations. Melanie became addicted to narcotics again. Antonio Banderas, her husband at the time, talked about her addicted and supported her through rehab. Today, she is clean after her rehab visit.
When Paula Abdul was 17 years old she had a cheerleading accident. Later, in 1987, she was in a car accident that gave her head and neck pain. If that wasn’t enough, she was in a plane crash that made her pain worse. After all of these accidents, she was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD), which is also called regional pain syndrome.
RSD causes swelling, pain, and can also cause changes in the skin. Some of the more common symptoms include throbbing, burning, grinding, or stabbing pain. Muscle spasms and sensitivity may also be present. Paula lives with this chronic pain but has also admitted to being addicted to pain killers. She works on finding non-addictive pain coping strategies.
Frances Winfield Bremer
Frances Winfield Bremer is the wife of an Ambassador. She has Fibromyalgia for most of her life as an adult. She was diagnosed in her early 20s and started to receive treatment. She still takes many different medications for the symptoms. So what exactly are the symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
Chronic, widespread pain is the biggest symptoms of Fibromyalgia. People also experience fatigue, have a hard time focusing, headaches, and depression. Frances is now a spokesperson for the National Fibromyalgia Association to raise awareness about the disease and inform others about how it affects those who suffer from it.
Janeane Garofalo is another celebrity who suffers from Fibromyalgia. Along with this painful condition, she also suffers from a few other disorders that include anxiety, depression, and intimacy issues with other people. Humor is part of her release as it helps her cope with the issues and pain she faces on a daily basis.
Fibromyalgia And Depression
Janeane Garofalo talks about her Fibromyalgia and depression in many of her stand up acts. She uses medication to help with the pain and manage her other issues as well. She also works to keep her stress levels low, which also reduces the pain. Being a comedian also helps release this stress in a positive way.
In 2008, Morgan Freeman was in a horrible car accident that left him with shoulder damage, a broken elbow, and a broken arm. He was operated on for four hours after the incident to repair nerve damage. His left hand is almost completely useless and he still experiences pain from the accident. But that isn’t all.
Morgan Freeman also suffers from fibromyalgia in his entire arm. He believes this was caused by his car accident. Because of this, he cannot participate in a lot of his favorite hobbies such as flying planes, sailing, or riding horses. He still plays golf by using only his right hand to swing the club.
As the lead singer of U2, Bono has led a pretty crazy life. He has had several accidents on stage and still experiences pain from these accidents. In 2010, he had back surgery and several concerts were cancelled while he recovered. In 2014, he experience a horrific bike accident.
While cycling in Central Park, Bono tried to avoid another rider which resulted in an accident. He fractured his left eye socket, fractured his left upper arm, fractured his left shoulder blade, and shattered bones as well. He healed up just in time for U2’s 2015 World Tour.
This “Modern Family” star has a disease called Kidney Dysplasia. In people who have this, cysts form in place of normal tissue. It normally happens in one kidney and is usually present at birth. Most of the time people can live normal lives, but it does come with some complications.
A Host Of Problems
Kidney Dysplasia can cause pain, high blood pressure, and urinary problems. Sarah managed this during the first few seasons of the show by having her character leaning against a wall or sitting down often. In 2012, her father gave her one of kidneys and her pain has gotten better.
With his song “Happy,” you wouldn’t think Pharrell Williams live with a medical condition that causes chronic migraines and headaches. He has been diagnosed with Synesthesia. It is a neurological condition that causes people to see letters or numbers as colors. Unfortunately, it also gives the person experiencing this lots of pain. So what causes the pain?
Normally sensory overload causes the pain. The intense colors and sensory processing can be too much for the brain to handle, which can cause migraines. With that pain though, seem to come at least one major benefit for the musician: he can see sound. Talking to Psychology Today Pharrell explained his experience of the condition: ”There are seven basic colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. And those also correspond with musical notes…White, believe it or not, which gives you an octave is the blending of all the colors.” This unique ability could be what’s lead Pharrell to such a prolific career in the musical world.
Halle Berry is a Type 1 diabetic. With this disease comes lots of pain and dangerous health complications. Berry revealed she had even been in a diabetic coma before, saying: “I thought I could tough it out, but I couldn’t have been more wrong…One day, I simply passed out, and I didn’t wake up for seven days, which is obviously very serious.” She experienced a lot of fatigue and the doctor explained the condition to her. She changed her diet but stirred up some controversy in 2007.
In 2007, Halle claimed she “cured herself” of Type 1 diabetes. This type of diabetes is life-long, and people who have it need insulin for their body to work properly. Halle claims to has weaned herself off of insulin. Doctors say that if this is true, she may be a type 2 diabetic and was misdiagnosed, with one doctor explaining “When someone really has Type 1, it means their immune system has destroyed the insulin producing part of pancreas…In that case, there is no way to wean yourself off insulin.”
Charlize Theron was injured while she was filming Aeon Flux. She was performing a back flip when she herniated a disc in her spine. Luckily the disc did not damage the spinal cord, but it was close. It happened pretty early on in filming, within the first ten days. How did she get better?
Once she was injured, Charlize was hospitalized for five days. The right side of her body was numb from some nerve damage. Six weeks later, after healing, Charlize continued with the stunts very slowly. She was doing physical therapy five hours a day while slowly getting back into her role.