Discectomy Pain

7 Famous People With Bad Backs

So…in a moment of self-pity, you googled ‘famous people with bad backs’ and this blog-post popped up.  It’s completely understandable. Many of us want to feel like we’re not the only ones going through this –  and in some strange way, knowing that President John F Kennedy had a horrible spine condition helps us realize that perhaps we can also accomplish great things despite days when we’re hunched over like Quasimodo.

George Clooney:  While on the set of Syriana, Clooney suffered a serious back injury for which he underwent a spinal fusion.  While performing his own stunts, he suffered a severe spine injury, which caused a tear in the dura mater, the sheath encasing protective cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) around the nerves of the spinal cord and brain.  This CSF leak led to debilitating headaches, which were so severe he contemplated suicide. He received an injection of his own blood into to the leak location, so that a clot would form to stop the flow.  “I was at a point where I thought, I can’t exist like this. I can’t actually live.” Clooney told Rolling Stone magazine,

Amy Schumer: The actor/comedian has suffered from various back issues from herniated discs to labral tears, but hasn’t undergone any type of surgery as of yet.  This article outlines her struggles with backpain especially during her recent pregnancy..

Harrison Ford:  During the filming of Temple of Doom, the iconic American actor (Star Wars, Indiana Jones) suffered a severe herniated disc and returned to the US for proper treatment.  Years later, on the set of  Star Wars: The Force Awakens which resulted in Harrison Ford injuring his ankle J.J Abrams hurt his back attempting to lift the door off a fallen Ford, and instead ended up literally breaking his back.

Jackie Chan:  Is anyone really surprised that Jackie Chan has a bad back?  We’re talking about an actor that consistently puts his health at risk during intense, action packed, high-flying film shoots.  During the filming of Police Story, he fell on a glass roof and damaged his spinal cord and broke his 7th and 8th vertebrae. While shooting Project A he fell from a 25 meter clock tower and damaged his cervical spine.

John F Kennedy:  The former American president underwent 4 spine surgeries including a discectomy, an instrumentation and fusion, and 2 relatively minor surgeries that failed to alleviate chronic back pain.  Kennedy’s back problems were so pervasive that years later, researchers are still studying the effects his condition may have had on his presidency.  The authors of this paper in the Journal of Neurosurgery examined the nature and etiology of JFK’s back pain and performed a detailed investigation into the former president’s numerous medical evaluations and treatment modalities.

Charlize Theron:   On the set of the film of Aeon Flux, Theron accidentally slipped and landed on her neck and herniated the disc between the 3rd and 4th vertebrae.  After years of nagging pain, in 2013 Theron finally underwent cervical spine surgery to alleviate the pain.

George W. Bush:  The former U.S president had a chronic disc problems in his spine and four years after he left the Oval Office, he underwent corrective surgery.  Not much else has been reported regarding his procedure.

Kevin Hart: On September 1, 2019, the Hollywood star suffered major spine injuries in a car accident.  It was reported that Kevin had multiple fractures and had a 3-level spine fusion.

Jerry Lewis:  Jerry Lewis sustained a spine injury while performing a pratfall from a piano during a performance at Sands hotel on his Las Vegas trip on March 20, 1965.  Lewis was seriously injured in the incident which could have left him paralyzed.  The legendary entertainer underwent four back surgeries and also took narcotics and steroids tor relieve pain. Read more about his ordeal in this People article from 1978.


Ozzy Osbourne:  Ozzy underwent spine surgery in June,2022 after years of debilitating back pain after a quad bike accident at home in 2003. Another fall in 2019 aggravated his spine and as the Independent reports ” the doctor gave him some concerning news. “I was told, ‘You’ve got a good chance of being paralysed for the rest of your life.’

Carson Daly:  Even though he had tried a number of treatments, the host of the Today Show continued to have severe lower back pain.  Eventually he decided for the surgical option – an Anterior Lumbar Fusion.  Read more about it here.


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