Lady Gaga has spoken again about the often misunderstood and overlooked issue of chronic pain, describing the experience of opening up in a candid new Netflix documentary as “hard, but it’s liberating.”
Getting visibly emotional during a press conference ahead of the premiere of Gaga: Five Foot Two at the Toronto International Film Festival, she said she was hoping that being open about her own struggles would help fellow sufferers realise they are “not alone”.
“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.”
it is extremely frustrating and life-changing. ❤️you aren't alone, others in pain will always be listening— xoxo, Gaga (@ladygaga) September 10, 2017
The singer last year linked the pain to having been raped at the age of 19, saying it came from a “paralysing fear” she’d been suffering from in the decade since the attack. Injury or trauma can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which Gaga suffers from, and the condition has been linked with triggering chronic pain disorder fibromyalgia.
On top of that, the star suffered a hip injury while touring in 2013, resulting in her cancelling a number of concerts. The injury left her with synovitis, an inflammation of tissue, and could have ended up requiring a total hip replacement had she continued to perform. Gaga has previously revealed she uses an infrared sauna to try and help manage the pain.
Often dubbed one of the world’s ‘invisible illnesses’, chronic pain can be difficult for non-sufferers to understand or appreciate when there is often no outward sign of distress. However the constant. incurable pain can be debilitating, severely affecting a sufferer’s day-to-day life.
And in the press conference, Gaga acknowledged that some might not understand her daily pain given how she manages to perform on stage, but she wanted to inspire others with the film, which lands on Netflix 22 September.
I was so overwhelmed by the empathy, confessions & personal stories of chronic pain in response to my previous post I thought what the hell. Maybe I should just share some of my personal remedies I've acquired over the past five years. Everyone's body and condition is different U should consult w ure Dr. but what the heck here we go! When my body goes into a spasm one thing I find really helps is infrared sauna. I've invested in one. They come in a large box form as well as a low coffin-like form and even some like electric blankets! You can also look around your community for a infrared sauna parlor or homeopathic center that has one. I combine this treatment with marley silver emergency blankets (seen in the photo) that trap in the heat and are very cheap, reusable and effective for detox as well as weight loss! In order to not overheat my system and cause more inflammation i follow this with either a VERY cold bath, ice bath (if u can stand it, it's worth it) or the most environmentally savvy way is to keep many reusable cold packs in the freezer ( or frozen peas' n carrots'!) and pack them around the body in all areas of pain. Hope this helps some of you, it helps me to keep doing my passion, job and the things I love even on days when I feel like I can't get out of bed. Love you and thank you for all your positive messages.
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“There’s a degree of self-deprecation and shame that goes along with feeling in pain a lot,” she said. “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.”
She continued: “We have to stick together and I don’t have to hide it because it’s weak. It’s a part of me and I’m grateful to Chris [Moukarbel, director] for caring.”
Reviews say the star frankly discusses a number of sensitive issues, including her daily battle with depression and anxiety, the PTSD and physical pain, and her relationships.
Moukarbel, who directed and filmed the project, confirmed that it was difficult following the star as she sought treatment for her condition: “It was incredibly hard, on a basic fundamental human level, to be near someone experiencing pain like that. There's nothing you can do, beyond filming.
“I felt I needed to continue to roll. She was very aware of people struggling with similar chronic pain.”
Morning press for movie over, now time for a rest before this premiere tonight. Thank you to all the monsters wishing me such support and wishes. I have not see the documentary yet but I know that it includes very private raw moments in my life that I am ready share with all of you. I love you. I love music. And I love life. ❤️
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Gaga has also produced the documentary, which filmed in 2016 while she was working on her album Joanne.
She said she’d now be taking time out from music “for some healing”, saying, “I’m going to take a rest.”
Gaga: Five Foot Two will be released on Netflix 22 September.
Image: Rex Features