US celebrities with back pain problems
When we see out favorite celebrities on TV, magazines, or on the Internet, they always appear smiling, happy, like the entire world is theirs. They never show any sign of pain and discomfort, although they are humans as well and do have to manage problems just like any of us. For someone that suffers from back pain problems, he or she may believe that such a painful issue is reserved for those with an ordinary life. Celebrities, on the other hand, seem to be blessed with an ideal life, a life where pain and sufferance do not exist. But is it really so? The truth is that they do have to face pain and discomfort because they do have health problems, only that they don't choose to show it publicly. Back pain problems are not that rare among celebrities, many of them struggling with conditions that generate back pain, as you are about to find out.
Usain Bolt is probably one of the world's greatest athletes and the last you would think about when it comes to back pain problems. It is hard to believe that the fastest man on earth had any issue of this kind, but it is real. Bolt was born with a curved spine, which created problems in this adult life, like back pain and problems with his hamstrings. His back issue, summed up with an injury, made him skip the track season back in 2010. He had to go through surgery meant to fix the condition of his spine and regular physiotherapy sessions, to correct the spinal imbalances created by his scoliosis.
George Clooney, who was voted the most handsome man on earth at one point and was one of the most desirable bachelors on the planet until he got married, also suffers from a back condition that is giving him some hard time. While shooting a rather daring scene for a movie back in 2005, Clooney suffered a severe back injury. The injury was so bad that it tore the dura mater, which is a thick, fibrous, and very resistant membrane that protects the spinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord. The damaged allow the fluid to leak, provoking the charming actor severe and hard to endure headaches. He went through numerous spinal surgeries, screws, and rods being used to support his spine fusion. Clooney is still not having a pain-free like, his back problem still giving him headaches, although they are less intense and more manageable now.
Rene Russo, a beautiful and talented actress, model, and producer, was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was in middle school. Still, she did not allow her condition keeping her dreams from coming true and she did everything she could to keep the condition under control. Rene wore back braces for years, which prevented the issue from becoming even worse and saved her from undergoing painful and invasive back surgery. At the moment, she is doing great and still continues alternative therapy to keep her scoliosis from creating troubles, using the help provided by acupuncture and chiropractic care.
Tony Romo, by his full name Antonio Ramiro Romo, is the quarterback of the American football team Dallas Cowboys. During his activity, Romo suffered from a herniated disc in his lower back, which led to severe pain in one of his legs due to the fact that the herniated disc managed to pinch a nerve. It was believed that a bad hit Tony got during one of his football games led to the injury. Also, the problem was initially diagnosed as a hamstring injury, due to his leg pain. In 2013, he suffered a micro discectomy, which is a minimally invasive surgery to his back, with the purpose of removing a part of the herniated disc so that the pressure in the nerve root is relieved. The surgery turned out to be a success, allowing him to get back to the team's off-season workouts and to participate in the pre-season games.
Jennifer Grey, the actress that become famous after playing the lead female role in Dirty Dancing when she was younger, suffered a devastating car crash that severely injured her back. Grey was the only survivor of the car crash, as the rest of the occupants of the vehicle died in the horrible accident. But the ligaments at the back of her neck were ripped off by the impact. She was treated in a timely manner, but the pain in the neck and shoulders tormented the actress for 20 years. While undergoing auditions for the Dancing with The Stars show the doctors that were assessing the health status of each participant advised her to go through surgery as soon as possible, because she may risk becoming paralyzed for the rest of her life. She respected the recommendation of the doctor and had a spinal fusion surgery. After recovering at a rehabilitation clinic, Jennifer was completely healed and ready to continue her career.
Harrison Ford is another beloved actor that suffered from a herniated disc while filming for the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The injury made him stop his shooting and sent him back to Los Angeles for treatment. He had to go through a major back surgery to solve the herniated disc issue. The surgery went well and the actor was able to resume his career. But, another back injury during the shooting of Star Wars: Episode VII, made the actor go through rehab for a period of 6 months, to fix his back problem. Rumors say that the herniated disc he got earlier in his life made him more susceptible to back injuries and pain.
Jackie Chan is a very versatile and ambitious person, a great actor, known for the fact that he prefers doing the stunts for his movies on his own. Unfortunately, the variety of activities during his career led to numerous back injuries. While filming Police Story, he fell through a glass roof after jumping on an electric light stand, which made him damage his back severely by breaking his 7th and 8th vertebrae. His cervical spine was seriously damaged in 1983 as well when he fell off a 25-meter clock tower while making Project A. The accident he had during the making of Policy Story could have paralyzed Chan if he would not have received treatment in a timely manner. He went through surgery that fixed his spine, but Jackie Chan continued hurting his back while shooting various scenes for his movies. His activity is highly appreciated and he is one of the most popular actors in Hollywood, but his numerous back injuries are a constant concern. Chan should really be more considerate about the condition of his back to avoid unwanted complications in the future.
Charlize Theron, seen as one of the most beautiful and talented actresses of the moment, also has back problems. During her scenes shooting for the movie Aeon Flux, she accidentally slipped and landed right on her neck. Because the entire weight of her body put pressure on the neck during the impact, she got a herniated disc between the 3rd and 4th vertebrae. The injury was extremely severe, entirely numbing the right side of Theron's body. Hospitalized in Berlin for 5 days, Charlize had surgery in order to correct the condition of her spine. Six weeks after the surgery she was back on the filming stage, performing stunts once again after the third week. She also went through physiotherapy sessions to manage the pain generated by her back surgery.
Although not very many people know about it, George W. Bush also had a back pain problem that was swiftly hidden from the eyes of the media. He had a persistent disc problem that constantly triggered pain and discomfort in his back. In 2013, the 43rd President of the United States decided that it was time to have surgery to get rid of the pain. The event was kept as discreet as possible, to avoid the spread of any unwanted rumors. After surgery, George W. Bush spent time recovering in Florida during one month with his wife and former First Lady, Laura. His recovery was rather fast and he was back to his usual activities in no time. Still, his doctors recommended him to give up golf, but he did not listen too much, making some time to sneak in some golf sessions now and then.
Mick Mars, the guitarist of the Motley Crue band, was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis at the age of 17. The illness made his vertebrae fuse together, which led to the hardening of his spinal cord and making him 3 inches shorter, due to the fact that the spine was constantly pressing forward and down. The pain was also extremely hard to bear as time passed by, so Mars decided to go through a hip replacement surgery in 2004. The affected hip joint was replaced by an artificial one, which would stop making him feel the intense pressure caused by his spine's condition. Currently, the band plays no longer and Mars continues to take care of his health to avoid pain caused by his illness.
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If your back pain does not require medical attention, i.e. if you feel you over exerted the muscles you can perform a few actions at home to, perhaps relieve your pain. The common treatments include bed rest, pain remedies, cold or hot pads, massage, relax, and so on.
Sometimes when we pull the muscles pain relievers can help reduce the pain. Common over-the-counter meds include ibuprofen, aspirin, or meds with acetaminophen included. You should avoid taking ibuprofen and aspirin combined to treat common back pain. In addition, if you have asthma, allergies, or polyps, leave ibuprofen and aspirin alone.
Cold packs work well, yet if you have conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or related symptoms you should avoid using cold packs. Cold packs can reduce back pain otherwise if you allow the packs to remain on your back long enough to reduce muscle spasms, pain, or inflammation. Leave the cold pack on the area where your pain is for at least twenty minutes.
Later you can apply hot packs to the area. Avoid placing hot packs over areas where scar tissue is present. In addition, if you have poor circulation, avoid placing hot packs in this area as well. Leave the hot packs on your back for at least twenty minutes as well. Do not use heating pads, since experts believe that the pads are unsafe. You can take a hot, steamy bath or shower, or purchase hydrocollators and place it on the area. You can find hydrocollators at pharmacy, or areas where medical equipment, meds, etc., are sold.
If your muscles are tight, you may benefit from a massage. If someone you know is willing to give you a massage, ask him or her to rub the area gently. Otherwise, you may find local massage therapists in your area, which offer affordable treatment. If the massage increases your pain, ask the person to stop. You may need medical treatment. You should avoid massages if you have fallen and injured your back, or if you were recently in an accident. Seek medical help first.
You can also relax the back if your muscles are tense. Relaxation promotes wellness, since the muscles can rest from over-exertion.
To avoid complicating common back pains you should move around at least 20 minutes each day. Throughout the day, we sit, lie on the back, stand, walk, etc. which all applies gravity pressure to the spine. We can learn proper sitting strategies to avoid complicating common back pain.
A back brace can also be used to ease back pain. The Zero Compression Back Brace is designed to provide gentle support all day. It is ultralight, comfortable, and can be worn discreetly under clothing so you can drive, sit, swim, or exercise. Zero Compression Back Braces prevent the spine and nerves from being compressed.
When sitting, you can roll a towel up and situate it at the lower back and on your chair. This will provide the lumbar support. If you have, certain conditions however avoid using such support. Conditions such as spine stenosis or spondylolisthesis can become irritated if you use back supports in such a way.
To minimize back pain, you should avoid sitting for long hours. Walk around in intervals if you have a job that requires you to sit for long hours. Sit and try to position your knees so that they are somewhat above the hips.
Common back stress can be reduced, yet if you try remedies at home or at work and the remedies fail, you may need to seek medical advice.
Best places for back surgery
Spinal surgery is that type of treatment that should be accepted only when nothing else helps in improving your condition. Because it is one of the most important parts of our body, the one that ensures our mobility, posture, and even reflexes, the spine should be treated with extreme care. So, it is only natural to want to be treated by the best doctors in the best hospitals, to make sure that the surgery will be a success and that your recovery will not encounter any difficulties. The doctor that will perform the intervention is indeed very important; this is why you should opt for reputable spine surgeons, which have an extensive experience in the field. And since the best doctors are found in top notch hospitals, you can be sure that the equipment and conditions in the medical facility will be excellent as well. To help you in making the right choice in this matter, here is a list with the best spine surgeons and hospitals in the US. Also, you will learn what to do before and after the surgery to speed up the healing process and avoid pain.
• Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Dr. Kevin Grill
By simply looking up information about Dr. Kevin Grill, you will find out that he is regarded as being one of the best spine surgeons in the world in present days, due to the fact that he always used top notch materials and techniques for his surgeries. Some of the surgeries performed by this doctor that are worth mentioning are the ones in which he implanted artificial discs in the backbone to improve mobility and get rid of back pain. He can be found performing at the Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where the latest technologies are used, to minimize the time needed for surgery and help a patient get back on his feet as soon as possible.
• NYU Hospital and Dr. Jeffrey A. Goldstein
The New York Magazine named Dr. Jeffrey A. Goldstein as one of the top surgeons in the country and one of the experts in the spinal surgery domain for six years in a row. He is known for doing his best in finding surgical techniques that are invasive in the least way possible for all of his patients, whenever a person’s conditions allows him to do so. His area of expertise consists in replacing cervical and lumbar disks, just like Dr. Grill, using his knowledge and experience to allow a fast recovery for his patients. You can find this great surgeon at the NYU Hospital, where you will enjoy the best conditions and medical attention.
• Rush Hospital
Located in Chicago the Rush University and Medical Center, also known as the Rush Hospital, is one of the best medical centers in the world when it comes to spinal health. Some of the best doctors work here and it is hard to name one that is above the rest, because the entire team of doctors here is exceptional. They are famous for being able to formulate precise diagnosis when it comes to the various types and causes of back pain, known for the difficulty of being diagnosed in the medical world. Still, even if the doctors here are reliable and their diagnosis is most often accurate, when it comes to having back surgery it is always good to search for a second opinion.
• DISC and Dr. Anthony T. Yeung
The Desert Institute for Spinal Care or DISC is located in Phoenix, Arizona, being one of the best medical centers for back care in the country. Here, you will find Dr. Anthony T. Yeung, named several times on the lists containing the top spinal surgeons in the US, due to his activity in the domain. He specialized in handling back pain cases that are caused by degenerative conditions, so if you have this problem as well, it would be worth looking for Dr. Yeung. Bulging and herniated discs are among the specialties of the doctor, using imaging as his favorite method to precisely locate the area that is causing back pain for each patient. Dr. Yeung is the first spinal surgeon that ever used endoscopically guided lasers and developed the well-known Yeung Endoscopic Spine System, which is FDA approved.
How to get prepared for a back surgery
Preparation before getting into surgery is very important, not only from a physical point of view, but also from a psychological point of view. You need to be mentally prepared to cope with the situation, if you want to have the best results. Usually, people that are not prepared from a mental point of view end up worsening their status, so do everything needed to be ready for what is going to come up next. For instance, there are people that would like to know as much as possible about what their surgery involves. So if this helps you to be better prepared, talk with your doctor about all those aspects that interest or concern you about your surgery and even do some in-depth research if you need to know more. Also, do have in mind that if you don’t feel capable of getting yourself mentally ready to cope with the surgery, ask a nurse or even a psychologist to guide you through this process.
Still, there are people that prefer to avoid knowing too many details about their surgery, because this is how they manage to cope better. They are called “blunters” and are usually avoiding the information connected to their surgery or try to find distractions that won’t allow them to think about it too much. For this category of people, too much info can actually trigger a higher level of stress prior to the operation, so it would be best to be avoided. If you feel like the info provided by your doctor is too much and is causing stress levels to increase, ask the doctor not to get into details because it is causing you too much discomfort. You’ll probably want to know that you’re in good hands and that the surgery will unroll with minimum of risks. So, besides doing what it is strictly necessary in the preparation period before the surgery, do the rest of your activities like you’re supposed to, like nothing will ever change your life.
But, besides preparing your mind, you should also prepare your house as well, because you won’t be able to do some things like you used to for a while, and you will definitely not be able to lift weights or to bend over. So, here is how you get things ready.
• Get a toilet riser, because you may experience difficulties in sitting and getting up when using the toilet. Such a device will fit any toilet seat and can be found in rehab supply stores;
• Put the items you use the most in your reach, so you won’t have to bend to get them. Paper cups and plates are usually helpful in this case, because you won’t have to bend to get them or use the dishwasher;
• Use slip on shoes, for avoiding bending as well;
• Have your food prepared, because you won’t be able to spend too much time sitting up to cook. Either stock your fridge with food that is already prepared or shop at the grocery stores for foods that can be prepared very easily;
• Make sure to have a “reacher” or “grabber” around you. This is a device that can be found both in rehab supply stores and in department stores or pharmacies, being much preferred by people with a reduced mobility, because it helps them reach and grab items without moving too much or bending.
What to do after back surgery
Knowing what to do after back surgery will allow you to recover faster, by avoiding pain and supporting the area that was operated to heal faster. Besides the advice and prescription pills that will be recommended by the doctor, which will help you keep the pain at bay, here is what you need to know to continue recovering safely at home as well.
• Ask help if you are experiencing pain, because there isn’t a particular recipe of relieving pain that will work for everybody. Pain also includes constipation, which is usually caused by the medications you take within the first two weeks. No matter what is causing the pain, you should ask for help, because your treatment may be adjusted or you may use alternative methods of dealing with pain, like ice packs;
• Make sure to get sufficient sleep, because our body heals best at night, when we rest. So, whatever you do, after back surgery, make sure you enjoy a comfortable sleep at night. Do not lose sleep because it may affect your body’s rate of healing;
• Do not miss your post-operatory rehabilitation program. Performing stretching and appropriate exercises indicated by a therapist is a must if you want to recover fast and enjoy the best results after surgery. Plus exercising won’t just help your spine, but also your mood, by stimulating the body to produce endorphins;
• See if you can get help from back braces, which can aid you throughout your recovery period and not only. Back braces will provide support to your spine, avoiding too much strain on it and letting it to heal properly. It would be recommended to ask your doctor about the type of back brace you should wear, if and when needed.
A Zero Compression Back Brace has proven to alleviate back pain by putting spine in a proper posture.
Professions known for causing back pain problems among peopleEvery job has its advantages and downsides and this is obvious, although there are some jobs that can trigger or aggravate back pain. Usually these professions involved carrying heavy weights most of the time, sitting with your spine bent, or sitting down at a desk for most of the time. Also, in the case of people that suffered from back or neck injuries, things can get even worse, as the risks associated with developing chronic back pain at their job is significantly higher. The Bureau for Labor Statistics discovered a staggering number of non-fatal occupational injuries, from which a considerable number were related to juries causing back pain. But, even if you don’t suffer an injury that can cause back pain, you can develop this problem in time, if you maintain your profession. Here are the professions considered most responsible for causing back pain.
• Construction workers
The top of the list is occupied by, obviously, construction workers, because they subject their back to many stressing movements. They pull, tug, carry, and lift heavy weights most of their time, while also working in a bend position quite often. Because such damaging movements are not rare and occasional, having a more permanent occurrence in a construction field, there is an overuse of injuries in most cases, making back pain in this profession category an often problem. Periodically, approximately 30% of the workers in this domain miss work because of back pain issues, according to statistics. Not to mention that because scaffolds are used, many people expose themselves to the risk of falling and suffering from severe back injuries, which can lead to physical disabilities and even death, in the worst case scenario.
• Nurses and workers in nursing homesThese professions are on the second place when it comes to the incidence of back pain. Because the population is growing older by the year, many nursing homes for senior citizen emerged in recent times, giving people the opportunity to get employed in this domain. But this is also why the number of people suffering from back pain increased, because nurses and employees in nursing homes also face a great risk of developing back problems. The same Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered that approximately 80% of the injuries to the back and shoulders of the people working in this domain is caused by moving of the patients. They have to be placed in their bed, in a wheelchair, to have a bath, to be supported when walking, and so on, so the body has to withstand additional weight almost all the time.
• Warehouse workersIt is only normal for warehouse workers to be added to the group of people exposed to developing back pain, since they often have to carry and handle heavy weights and work with their spine bent. But overworking their spine is not the only reason that may warehouse workers so in danger of hurting their spine. Because they have to operate and drive various industrial vehicles, which subject the body to constant vibrations, they also can develop soreness in most of their muscles, neck, and back areas.
• Surgeons and dentists
These two professions subject the spine to continuous tension, because the surgeon and the dentist have to work while standing up and bending their back in all sorts of positions. Also, even if they are doctors and know the importance of having a correct posture for their back, their work may take their attention from this aspect, which will make them disregard this aspect. Thus, they often end up in back postures for their body which lead to back pain and discomfort.
• Gardeners and landscapersAccording to the American Chiropractic Association, the landscaper profession is included on the list of jobs that are very likely to cause back pain. When working constantly in a garden, a person risks developing back problems due to overuse of the back. Bending, stooping, reaching, pruning, and various other gardening operations make a person adopt an inadequate position for their back. The risk does not come from the fact that they unroll gardening activities, as much as it comes from the fact that they have to repeat actions that can damage their spine.
• Store checkout personnelRetail stores and grocery stores have personnel waiting at checkout to inspect purchased products. These people will work by standing up all the time and lifting bags or groceries and other heavy items all the time. More than 50% of this type of workers complain of neck and back pain, caused by their job.
• Truck driversThis profession assumes sitting down on the chair of a truck for extended hours. Spinal compression and tightening of the lower back muscles are causing back pain in this case. Also, when having to drive for very long distances, their back is subjected to constant vibrations as well, which only make things worse. Because many of these drivers have to work against the clock, they don’t have sufficient time to take proper breaks, ending up with back problems.
• Police officersPolice officers also have to sit in their cars for very many hours in most cases, which will lead to the compression of their spine and pain in the lower part of their back. Also, the fact that they have to carry specific equipment, like their equipment belts, with them all the time affects their normal body movement. For instance, when they have to capture a suspect or get in alert their body will be subjected to extra tension due to the present of additional weight.
People that work in the fire department can have a hard time due to back pain because they have to lift heavy objects, like hoses filled with water and axes, when needed to break into an entrance. They also have to carry equipment that is rather heavy, like oxygen tubes and protection gear. All this extra weight mixed with the fact that they have to move fast puts strain on the joints and back.
• MechanicsMechanics don’t always have to deal with lifting heavy weighted items, but they do have to take all sorts of awkward positions to achieve their task. Working for extended periods in an abnormal posture for your spine will result in triggering back pain in time and reduced mobility.
Retained Electricity Intensifies Pain
There have been numerous studies on the effect of the retained electricity and its effects on the painful body areas. Dating back to 17th century and the work of a famous Dr. Galvani known as a founder of electro medicine this area of medicine has attracted lots of attention of medical researchers over the years
Another investigation that has direct relevance to pain treatment today is Dr. Galvani’s work showing that damaged nerves emit an electric current. One of Dr. Galvani’s students, Dr. Carlo Matteucci, carried on extensive studies of the emission of electricity from damaged nerves after Dr. Galvani’s death in 1798. The importance of these early findings is that an injury to nerves, as found in the typical pain patient, emits an electric current that leaks into and pools in the tissue around the damaged nerves. It is this “free” or “pooled” electricity that may produce pain and inflammation.
According to current experts in the field such as Dr. Forrest Tennant and others the trapped electricity from painful are of the body where nerves have been injured must be removed because a dysfunctional nerve traps the electricity that your nerves constantly generate. Retained electricity may cause pain flares, burning, itching, redness, jerking and twitching, insomnia, headache, and loss of appetite. The excess electricity should be removed daily since nerves constantly make it.
Chronic pain is partly due to damaged nerves that constantly produce and retain or "trap" electricity. A build up of too much electricity causes a pain flare, inflammation, and additional damage to the body. The prevention and reduction of retained electricity is very important daily practice to adequately control pain. Copper, brass, magnesium, and magnets act as a "lightning rod" and attract trapped electricity. The tissues of the body are negatively charged while metals like copper and magnesium are positive and attract or "pull out" retained or trapped electricity. The word "grounding" is related to the fact that electricity is neutralized or dissipated when it reaches the ground.
Some of the common practices recommended by doctors specializing in this field such as Dr. Tennant are simple and take several minutes to do but every individual needs to consult their own health expert on suitability for their specific condition and time duration prior to starting any of following practices. They include among others
1. Walking barefoot on sand or grass
2. Taking a hot bath with Epson Salts which are magnesium sulfate
3. Wearing a copper or magnetic bracelet (They can make pain worse if worn too long.)
4. Rubbing your painful sites with a copper object - time is 1 to 3 minutes
5. Applying magnets to your painful site
1. Green RM. A Translation of Luigi Galvani’s De Viribus Electricitatis in Moto Musculari Commentarius. Baltimore, MD: Waverly Press; 1953.
2. Articles by Dr Forest Tennant MD, DrPH