Most of us like to believe that famous people are immune to the challenges that plague the rest of us, but the truth is that many celebrities must endure many of the same health issues as regular people including chronic pain. In fact, it is truly inspiring how many of our most beloved heroes have had to overcome chronic pain to achieve their most famous accomplishments.
Among the most encouraging celebrity stories is that of our 35th President John F. Kennedy who suffered from a host of painful health conditions including chronic back pain, digestive issues and Addison’s disease, yet still guided our nation safely through some of the most harrowing episodes of the Cold War. Although not publicly disclosed at the time, President Kennedy suffered so much pain from three fractured vertebrae caused by osteoporosis that he could not clothe himself. His back pain is thought to have arisen from multiple physiological conditions and was exacerbated by injuries suffered during his wartime service. Despite multiple surgeries and constant treatment, Kennedy had to endure his chronic pain up until his death.
In 1976, Dorothy Hamill earned the gold medal in figure skating at the Innsbruck Winter Olympics. Her incredible performance captured the attention of the world and earned her the title of “America’s sweetheart.” Years later she would continue her glorious skating routine but in an effort to combat her osteoarthritis. Currently in her 50’s, Hamill says that her osteoarthritis has stiffened her neck, hips and knees, but that her skating has helped slow the progression of the disease. In addition to regular skating sessions, Hamill also uses yoga and a healthy diet to keep her as flexible and pain-free as possible.
As one of Hollywood’s most beautiful and talented actresses, Elizabeth Taylor enjoyed a life of luxury, but she also had to contend with many health conditions in her long life. In one of her early movies, Taylor was thrown from a horse and broke her back. The searing back pain prompted five major surgeries over her lifetime and eventually relegated her to a wheelchair in her later years. Her back problems were accompanied by intense neck pain and osteoporosis, but failed to keep her from starring in some of Hollywood’s most storied masterpieces and earning two Academy Awards.
Another movie star that has attained the heights of fame while contending with a painful back condition is George Clooney. While filming his 2005 movie Syriana, Clooney injured the dura, or soft tissue, around his spine, leaving him in such agony that he contemplated suicide. It took some time for physicians to realize that Clooney had not only injured his head and neck, but that the injury had created a sizable tear in his spinal column that was allowing spinal fluid to leak out. The injury forced multiple hospitalizations and several bouts of surgery and treatments. Although his condition has improved, Clooney admits that he has had to struggle with pain on a daily basis.
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
M.D. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal views of Robert Moghim, M.D. and do not necessarily represent and are not intended to represent the views of the company or its employees.