Adele health: ‘I’ve been in pain… for half of my life’ – star details chronic back pain

Adele halts Hyde Park show to help fans

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The Hyde Park concerts delivered all of the fan-favourite songs with Adele pitch perfect throughout, despite her saying it was “strange” to be in front of a crowd once more. The Someone Like You singer first commented on her health when firing numerous T-shirts and £50 notes out of cannon guns into the crowd. When one of the guns “failed to launch” the star bent to pick up the shirt yelping “Ooph my back!” whilst she did. Struggling to locate the other cannon guns she continued to say: “I am losing my sight as well. Getting old is a real…” before trailing off to describe an internet meme that joked about the realities of back pain.

Although keeping discussion of the topic light-hearted, this is not the first time the award -winning singer has spoken about her trouble with back pain. In fact, back in 2021 she revealed that she has lived with chronic back pain, including two separate slipped discs, for half of her life.

“I’ve been in pain with my back for, like, half of my life, really,” Adele said during an interview.

“It flares up, normally due to stress or from a stupid bit of posture.”

She continued to explain: “I slipped my first disc when I was 15 from sneezing. I was in bed and I sneezed and my fifth one flew out.”

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“In January, I slipped my sixth one, my L6. And then where I had a C-section, my core was useless.”

The NHS explains that a slipped disc is when a soft cushion of tissue between the bones in your spine pushes out. The condition is particularly painful if it presses on nerves but usually gets better with rest and gentle exercise.

The condition, also called a prolapsed or herniated disc, can also cause the following:

  • Lower back pain
  • Numbness or tingling in your shoulders, back, arms, hands, legs or feet
  • Neck pain
  • Problems bending or straightening your back
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pain in the buttocks, hips or legs if the disc is pressing on the sciatic nerve (sciatica).

Differing slightly, sciatica is where the sciatic nerve – which runs from the lower back to the feet – is irritated or compressed. It can affect the bottom, back of the legs and feet and toes causing not only pain but:

  • Tingling – like pins and needles
  • Numbness
  • Weakness.

Some individuals may find pain gets worse when moving, sneezing or coughing. Similarly to a slipped disc, the NHS recommends that individuals exercise regularly and continue with their normal activities as much as possible in order to help heal sciatica.

Getting into exercise is something Adele threw herself into, especially after the divorce of her husband which saw the singer lose 100lb.

Debuting her newly svelte figure on the cover of Vogue magazine last year, Adele went on to say that getting into the gym for her was never about losing weight, instead she wanted to make her body “physically strong”.

She explained: “It was never about losing weight. I thought, if I can make my body physically strong, and I can feel that and see that, then maybe one day I can make my emotions and my mind physically strong.”

Having started to focus on her lower back and stomach she said that her new-found level of fitness not only helped her chronic back pain but also her mental health.

“I’m more agile because I can now move more, because of my back. I got my core strong,” Adele continued.

“Where I got my tummy strong, down at the bottom, which I never had before, my back don’t play up as much. It means I can do more. I can run around with my kid a little bit more.

“I like feeling strong, I really do. I love it,” she said at the time of interview. “I was lifting weights this morning, and I’ve gone up from what I was doing a couple of weeks ago.

“When I feel that I have the weight of the world—of my world at least—on my shoulders, I can handle it a bit more because I’ve gone up 10 pounds with my weights.”

With Adele’s success at helping her back pain, the NHS notes that if pain is particularly bad, individuals should rest before trying to keep active. After this it is recommended that you start with gentle exercise.

Targeted exercises for sciatica caused by a lumbar herniated disc typically have the following two main goals:

  • Relieving acute, intense sciatic pain
  • Providing rehabilitation for longer-term healing.

Taking painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol can also help to relieve pain, especially if it lingers whilst exercising. Taking them regularly (up to the recommended daily amount) rather than just when the pain is particularly bad, will help individuals to keep moving.

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