Chronic pain reportedly affects 1.5 billion people globally.
It is the silent epidemic that stretches the globe…
Pain doesn’t care about fame, fortune or power – so it is not surprising that there are many celebrities with chronic pain…
And some of the more famous faces might surprise you.
The physical demands of their work – those crazy stunts we all love to watch on the big screen – means a large number of Hollywood stars live with chronic pain.
Some of the highest profile stars have battled chronic diseases like scoliosis (a curvature of the spine), fibromyalgia or complex regional pain syndrome since childhood.
Although most have battled with inner demons…
These spirited stars refuse to let pain define them or stand in the way of their hopes & dreams.
A-list celebs may have the money & power to access the very best care on the planet but effectively managing chronic pain needs more than that….
It needs a holistic approach to body, mind & social wellbeing which takes determination, resilience & inner strength. If you would like more advice on how to live with chronic pain click here.
So we would like to take you through our favourite quotes from Hollywood on living with chronic pain.
For more on a proven holistic approach click here.
7 Celebrities with Chronic Pain
Morgan Freeman – Fibromyalgia
The Oscar-winning actor suffered multiple broken bones & lost full use of his left hand as a result.
The accident left the actor unable to enjoy some of his favourite past times such as sailing or flying a plane – yet rather than grieve for his losses Morgan Freeman found pleasure in different pursuits.
“There is a point to changes like these. I have to move on to other things, to other conceptions of myself. I play golf. I still work. And I can be pretty happy just walking the land.”
George Clooney – Chronic Back Pain
The Oscar-winning actor suffered a spinal injury in 2005 leaving him with chronic pain. The accident was so severe it tore the outer layer of the spinal cord, which resulted in spinal fluid leaking out of his nose.
In an attempt to manage the pain the actor turned to serious pain medication – which left him with nasty side effects such as stomach pain & anxiety. The Hollywood icon has admitted that the pain was so excruciating…
he even contemplated suicide.
After seeing a pain management specialist, Clooney realised that the only way to beat the pain was to harness his inner strength & change his perspective on life with pain.
Having come to terms with his chronic pain, Clooney found new rewarding challenges to give his life meaning.
He is now a happily married father of two and an active campaigner against human rights injustices.
“I thought I was going to die [but] I’ve gone from where I can’t function, where ‘I just can’t live like this’ to ‘I’ve got a bad headache.”
“It’s been a long recovery […] you can’t mourn for how you used to feel […] you have to come to terms with it.”
Elizabeth Taylor – Scoliosis
Often described as the most beautiful woman in the world, Elizabeth Taylor spent a lifetime battling a wide variety of health conditions.
The actress was born with scoliosis (curvature of the spine), which left her with a lifetime of chronic pain
The Hollywood legend also overcame an incredible amount of health issues…
From almost turning blind at 21, to 3 separate cases of near-fatal pneumonia, to cancer of the brain & skin.
Elizabeth Taylor was not just a glamorous starlet but also a battle-hardened warrior with a steely determination
“ You just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other, and God damn it; you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about your business of living. That’s how I have done it. There’s no other way.”
Jennifer Grey – Chronic Neck Pain
Dirty Dancing actress, Jennifer Grey, has suffered 30 years of chronic & debilitating neck pain after a horror car crash in Ireland.
The actress noticed that her neck was the weak link in her health & the pain increased after giving birth.
Grey began to have really bad headaches & the pain began to impact on many areas of her life.
She stopped doing many of the things she enjoyed.
Grey explained that the pain made her feel…
“vulnerable […] chronic pain can be very lonely. It can have a shame-based quality.”
The starlet gained insight & realised that it was time to stop allowing the pain to control her life now, “I’m managing the pain”. Grey attributes this shift in perspective to how
“I got my life back.”
The actress uses various strategies to manage the pain including exercise, mindfulness & mental pictures to break the pattern of pain.
Now in control of her own pain, the actress is a passionate advocate for other people living with chronic pain.
“I will always have pain. But I exercise as much as I can, and I find that makes a huge difference. And if my body does seize up, I have a pain plan in place. I go back to my doctor.”
Jackie Chan – Back Pain
The martial arts hero is famed for doing his own stunts – so it is no surprise that he sustained a serious injury or 10!
From damaging his spine to dislocating his pelvis & damaging his superciliary bone (eyebrow bone!)
Over the decades the kung-Fu master suffered serious injuries…
Literally from head to toe!
Despite living with chronic pain…
Jackie Chan has not let his pain take control of his life or stand in the way of his ambitious dreams…
By accepting that pain is a fact of life…
Chan has been able to focus on activities that bring his life meaning such as acting, directing, charitable work & even a singing career!
“Pain is my daily routine. As long as I don’t go to the hospital, it’s nothing for me.”
Lady Gaga – Fibromyalgia
Lady Gaga has hit the headlines with the recent release of her Netflix documentary “GAGA: FIVE FOOT TWO”.
Unlike other pop princesses, Gaga doesn’t share only her triumphs but…
Gives a brutally honest insight into her battle with fibromyalgia & chronic pain.
The creative singer has decided to try & turn her personal pain into a force for good.
By sharing her own struggles & successes she hopes to inspire others to do the same.
“There is an element and a very strong piece of me that believes pain is a microphone. My pain does me no good unless I transform it into something that is [good]. […] I hope that people watching it that do struggle with chronic pain know that they are not alone, […] I want people that watch it that think there’s no way I live that way because they see me dance and sing, to know I struggle with things like them and that I work through it and that it can be done.”
If you would like advice on how to explain pain you might like to check out this.
Paula Abdul – CRPS
Grammy Award-winning singer & TV star, Paula Abdul has lived with chronic pain since a cheerleading accident at 17, which resulted in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS or RSD).
Although the singer had access to the best medical treatment money can buy…
It was not until 2004 that she was actually diagnosed with CRPS.
The American Idol judge underwent multiple unsuccessful surgeries & treatments and has also struggled with addiction to pain medication.
After adopting a holistic approach to manage her pain – which includes yoga, diet & activities to promote neuroplasticity…
Abdul is feeling 96 percent better.
The singer is now a passionate advocate to raise awareness of the devastating effects of RSD or CRPS.
“The body does not give up on us, so we can’t give up on it. My goal is always to work with my body, not against it so that it can function efficiently. […] I also try to remember that there have been pain-free days — which means that this difficult time will be over and give way to a better time. […] That’s where gratitude is so important. Writing gratitude lists to remember all the wonderful things I’ve experienced has also been really helpful for me.”
Chronic pain is indiscriminate & affects an alarming number of people all across the world.
There are many celebrities with chronic pain & even with access to the best treatment that money, fame & power can buy…
There is no silver bullet…but there is still hope!
A holistic approach to chronic pain has proven most effective & is now accepted by Hollywood as the best way to manage pain…
A holistic approach AND a whole lot of determination, resilience & inner strength!
There is no one size fits all solution to pain but…
By adopting proven strategies for body, mind & social well-being – anyone can break free of chronic pain & live a fulfilling & rewarding life.
To find out more about proven strategies for chronic pain click here.