In the last few years, as Chronic pain has become more widely known and accepted, actors, athletes and musicians have begun to come forward and share their own battles with chronic pain. Below is a list of them, in no particular order, and a short synopsis of the type of chronic pain they experience. Links to the sources of this information are on the sources page under resources.
These are not here as gossip, or chastisement, but as examples of how much we can achieve despite our conditions – and how ‘normal’ we can seem on the surface, no matter what is going on underneath.
Marcia Cross – best known for her work on Desperate Housewives, Cross has suffered chronic migraines since she was 14. The migraines have multiple triggers, but she has good management techniques in place which allow her to continue her acting career.
Paula Abdul – has had Complex Regional Pain Syndrome since a neck injury cheerleading when she was 17. she has undergone multiple surgeries and pain medications, and managed to keep her condition secret despite an active dance and recording career.
Tobey Maguire – Developed chronic back pain over the course of shooting Seabiscuit, which almost prevented him filming Spiderman 2. Working with a chiropractor, he was able to complete all the stunts required for the job.
George Clooney – Suffered chronic pain after a head injury during the filming of Syriana. He ripped his dura, the membrane that wraps around and protects the spinal cord – though continued to act through the pain until symptoms increased to the point they could no longer be ignored.
Melanie Griffith – chronic neck and hip pain from a car accident when she was 23.
Elizabeth Taylor – has suffered chronic scoliosis since her teens
Brett Favre – Quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, suffers ongoing chronic pain from bone spurs growing in his ankle
Bo Derek – herniated disc from years for horseriding, which causes chronic lower back pain
Jo Theisman – a Washington Redskins quarterback, sho sufferes from chronic joint pain as a result of years in the NFL
Allan Houston – A Basketball player whose career is plagued with chronic knee pain, an ailment common to basketballers
Serena Williams – Suffers from agonizing monthly headaches tied into her menstrual cycle
Montel Williams – was misdiagnosed for 10 years before being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a degenerative disease that affects signalling in the brain and spinal cord, coming with extreme neuralgia pain.
Jerry Lewis – the sidekick and fall man who worked alongside Dean Martin for much of his career suffered chronic pain so intense he eventually had a nerve stimulator implanted in his spine. He pushes a button, and the stimulator relieves the pain
Ben Affleck – the star of Daredevil suffers migraine headaches, occasionally severe enough to merit hospital treatment
Sylvester Stallone – Sly has been moving at a slower pace since persistent knee pain has been limiting his movement.
JFK – Kennedy’s multiple ailments weren’t discovered until after his death. Recent reports disclose he was on up to eight medications daily, and suffered intense back and stomach pain caused by spinal fractures and IBS
Marilyn Monroe – Suffered Endometriosis her whole life, which involves monthly excruciating cramps and pelvic pain which get worse with time.
Kathleen Turner – the star of Body Heat is currently in remission, thanks to new treatments for her Rheumatoid Arthritis, which stalled her career in the 90’s and at its worst has left her unable to walk or turn her head.
Nicole Eggert – an Ex-Baywatch babe, she broke three vertebrae in a skiing accident and still experiences back pain 13 years later.
Laura Innes – Actress, most famous for her work portraying a disabled doctor on ER. Unfortunately the years she spent mimicking a disabled person have left her misaligned, with muscle pain and swelling in her joints.