Dirty Dancing

How Dancing Star Jennifer Grey Beat Chronic Pain

September 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm , by

Actress Jennifer Grey is probably best known for her dance moves. Who can forget that final triumphant performance at Kellerman’s? Johnny storms into the end-of-summer talent show, and what follows is pure movie magic: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner,” he says, grabbing her hand to lead her to the stage for the last dance of the season. It ends with Baby landing the lift, her back arched perfectly. She made it look so effortless. I still get goose bumps when I think about it. Last year, Grey returned to the dance floor to take home the top prize on Dancing with the Stars. But what you may not know is that she spent the years in between in debilitating pain.

“I just accepted it as a problem. It wasn’t until they asked me to do Dancing With The Stars that I went to my doctor. I realized I was not in control of my pain, I was at the whim of it,” she says.

Grey’s pain started when she suffered severe whiplash in a car accident in 1987, the same year Dirty Dancing came out. After the accident, things only got worse. Before she started on DWTS, she endured surgery to insert a metal plate in her neck and to remove tissue that was pressing on her spinal cord. And throughout the season she battled pain—in addition to lingering neck pain, she herniated a disk in her back and developed a neuroma on her foot. Read more