Celebrities Suffer From Pain, Too

Williams may discuss painful topics with guests on his talk show, but the Emmy winner has struggled with pain in his personal life, as well.

In 1999, after being misdiagnosed for about 10 years, according to CNN, Williams, 51, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease that affects signaling in the brain and spinal cord.



"I still suffer from odd symptoms," Williams said in an interview with USA Today. "I can get extreme neuralgia pain in my feet and lower extremities. It can be excruciating, and go on 24 hours a day, for months."

To cope with the pain and the slow muscle degeneration, Williams follows a strict diet, and an exercise regime that includes running, lifting weights and martial arts.

"The only thing that has helped me stay alive is working out every day," Williams said.

Williams is also a strong advocate for using medical marijuana to manage pain, saying it helps him get through the day without having to think about pain.

Williams now heads the Montel Williams MS Foundation to raise money for the disease that affects 300,000 people in the United States, and more than 1 million people around the world, according to data from the Mayo Clinic.

In a 1999 interview with CNN, Williams remained positive about winning his battle with MS.

"I want to inspire people, and show them that they can live and prosper with MS."



Jerry Lewis

Lewis, the iconic entertainer, whose comedy antics with Dean Martin dominated television and radio in the 1940s and early 1950s, suffered from chronic back pain for more than 30 years.

His slapstick physical style was the foil to Martin's straight-edge wit. But eventually, Lewis really took the fall, chipping off a piece of his spine during a routine.



"From 1936 on, I have taken more falls than any other 20 comedians put together," Lewis said in an interview with USA Today. "You do that, and you're gonna have problems. I had pain during the last eight films; I've had pain in 37 straight telethons. I've never had a day without pain, since March 20, 1965."

Lewis was addicted to pain medication for a period of time, and he said he considered suicide as an alternative to suffering from chronic pain.

Kaniecki said, however, that even someone in as dire a situation as Lewis' can often experience relief from medical intervention.

"Painful disorders often have a significant disability impact on day-to-day life," he said. "When they finally do get the right treatments, it changes their life."

Lewis had surgery to implant a nerve stimulator in his spine several years ago and has been able to manage his chronic pain successfully, ever since.

"So, I press this one button here," Lewis said. "Little ping, and I'm stimulating, and I don't have any pain."

Ever the comedian, Lewis had the last laugh.

"It also opens my garage door! God bless America!"



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