5 Famous Musicians You Didn’t Know Were Suffering from Chronic Pain

Flea Performing at Oxegen Festival 2006
Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Oxygen Festival in 2006. Image Credit: Leon Wilson http://chop.com.au/ License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

As someone who suffers from an autoimmune disease, I know living with chronic pain is not easy. It can be both physically and emotionally painful, but it’s not uncommon. A lot of people are in pain on a daily basis and this includes musicians. Performing, touring and dealing with the press can put a strain on anyone, let alone musicians dealing with chronic pain.

Here are 5 musicians that suffer from chronic pain and how their conditions affect them.

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez on the Red Carpet in 2009
Photo by © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

The 25-year-old American singer and Actress officially revealed she had Lupus in 2015. Lupus or more specifically in this case SLE is an autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the body. Some effects include organ damage, skin lesions and joint pain.

In an interview with Billboard, Gomez revealed having to go through chemotherapy to treat her illness. “That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke.” In 2016 The singer had to take a break while on your due to the effects of the illness.

Gomez has also spoken about how the disease affects her mentally. “I’ve discovered that anxiety, panic attacks and depression can be side effects of Lupus which can present their own challenges.


Avril Lavigne

Avril Lavigne at Wango Tango concert 2013
Photo by © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en
Lyme Disease

The singer/songwriter revealed in 2013 that she is battling Lyme Disease. The illness left her with bed ridden for five months with night sweats and “flu-like” symptoms’. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by infected ticks. It can cause a range of symptoms including joint pain, heart problems, and issues with the nervous system.

In an interview with Good Morning America, Lavigne also discussed getting a diagnosis. “They would pull up their computer and be like, ‘Chronic fatigue syndrome.’ Or, ‘Why don’t you try to get out of bed, Avril, and just go play the piano?’ It’s like, ‘Are you depressed?’”

There is still a lot of controversy on whether “Chronic Lyme disease” actually exists. Some experts believe people longer term symptoms are due to other illnesses.

Michael “Flea” Balzary

Flea Performing at Oxegen Festival in 2006
Photo by Leon Wilson of http://chop.com.au/ License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The Red Hot Chilli Pepper bassist was diagnosed with ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1993. ME is a neurological condition that effects different parts of body including the immune and nervous system. One of the more common symptoms is persistent fatigue.

The condition forced the band to end their tour early to allow Flea to recover from the illness. After having to rest for a year, the bassist now leads a healthier lifestyle to manage his illness

Fans of Flea started the “Chilli ME Challenge” to bring more awareness and funds to the illness.

Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins

Tionne Watkins performing at 93.5 Throwback Bash with TLC
Photo by The Come Up Show at https://www.thecomeupshow.com/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
Sickle-Cell Anemia

The singer from the popular 90s group TLC, was diagnosed with Sickle-Cell Anemia as a child. Sickle-Cell is a group of conditions that affect the red blood cells. Sickle-Anemia more specifically, is the most serious type. The illness causes red blood cells to have an unusual shape and get stuck in the blood vessels. Common issues include strokes, lung problems and delayed growth.

T-Boz actively raises awareness for the condition and is a spokesperson for the Sickle-Cell Disease Association of America.

Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton press photo from 2015
Photo by Umusic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus)

Braxton first revealed she had Lupus in 2010. After collapsing while performing in Las Vegas, she was diagnosed with Lupus in 2008.

In an interview with HuffPost Live, Braxton spoke about the difficulties of balancing work with her illness. “Pretty much when you have lupus you feel like you have the flu every day. But some days you get through it.”

9 out of 10 people diagnosed with the condition are women. The disease is also more likely to affect people with African ancestry than any other group.