Patrick Swayze: Actors on 'tension' with Jennifer Grey
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Grey continued dancing years after the filming of Dirty Dancing. She even went on to win Dancing with the Stars season 11 in 2010. But when the finale of the dance show came around she was in “terrible pain” so intense she thought she wouldn’t complete the dance show.
“She called me in the morning on the day of the finals and was in tears. She was in terrible pain,” recounted her neck surgeon Doctor Robert Bray on Good Morning America around the time.
The star had already suffered chronic pain since 1987 when she was caught up in a serious car accident and suffered a neck injury.
But the fresh, intense pain before her finale came after she slipped a disc the night before.
“I did not think I was going to be able to dance,” Grey also told Good Morning America after the competition.
A slipped disc, also known as a herniated or ruptured disc is when the tissue around your spine pushes against the nerves.
It was only around the time of the show that she discovered the severity of her ailments, which she found out also included a worrying thyroid cancer she had been suffering with for years.
Jennifer told USA Today: “From that [dancing] experience, I found I had cancer and that I had had it for four and a half years, but the doctor who looked at my spine said not only should you not be in a car, you’re lucky you’re not paralyzed, your head is hanging off your spine and this is why you’ve been in pain for 20 years.”
Bray confirmed on Good Morning America: “Her head was falling off forward. She had a 30-degree angulation of her neck.”
Luckily for the star, she was able to push on through the final with the help of steroid injections to ameliorate the pain from the slipped disc.
After inspection, she was considered able to do the final dance the next day because the dances were quite short.
All-in-all 2010 was a memorable time. In that year, the star underwent four different surgeries on her neck.
The first included putting a plate inside her neck while another saw her thyroid removed to cure her cancer.
What are the symptoms of a slipped disc?
The NHS explains that a slipped disc can cause lower back pain, numbness or tingling in the shoulders, and back pain.
It might also lead to problems straightening your back, muscle weakness, and pain in the buttocks, hips, or legs if the disc presses against the sciatic nerve.
The health body also offers some tips about how to ease the pain of a slipped disc.
It suggests taking painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, although the latter alone is unlikely to be enough on its own for back pain.
They also recommend keeping active.
“If the pain is very bad, you may need to rest at first. But start gentle exercise as soon as you can – it’ll help you get better faster,” the NHS states.
“The type of exercise is not important, just gradually increase your activity level.”
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