MORGAN FREEMAN, 84, has often been seen wearing a glove on his left hand. It turns out the glove isn’t a fashion statement, it is hiding the symptoms of his “excruciating” health condition, fibromyalgia.
He said: “I suffered nerve damage and it hasn’t gotten better. I can’t move it. If you don’t move your hand, it will swell up. Do you know you move your hand about a million times a day?”
He was talking about a “serious” condition called fibromyalgia, a long-term health condition that causes pain all over the body.
When the legendary actor was 71, he developed the condition after a horror car crash in his Nissan Maxima with a female companion which required both of them to be cut free by emergency workers..
Although from the outside, he seemed to come out from the crash unscathed, deep within his body, he had suffered significant damage..
Freeman tries to hide the condition, but in an Esquire interview in 2012, in which the actor was seen frequently grabbing his shoulder and wincing, the extent of his condition lay bare.
The interviewer Tom Chiarella observed: “It hurts when he walks, when he sits still, when he rises from his couch, and when he missteps in a damp meadow. More than hurts. It seems a kind of agony, though he never mentions it.
“Despite surgery to repair nerve damage, he was stuck with a useless left hand.
“It is stiffly gripped by a compression glove most of the time to ensure that blood doesn’t pool there. It is a clamp, his pain, an icy shot up a relatively useless limb..
“He doesn’t like to show it, but there are times when he cannot help but lose himself to a world-ending grimace.”
After he was questioned by Chiarella, for People, Freeman put a name to the symptoms: “It’s the fibromyalgia,” he said.
“Up and down the arm. That’s where it gets so bad. Excruciating.”
Fibromyalgia can develop when there is trauma to the body. It causes an increase in the chemicals responsible for feeling pain, creating an abnormal amount of pain signals in the brain..
The symptoms of fibromyalgia, according to the Mayo Clinic, include widespread pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties.
But it can often overlap with other conditions, such as Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, migraine, depression, and anxiety.
As there is no cure for the condition, Freeman has had to give up many hobbies and replace them with tamer activities.
“There is a point to changes like these. I have to move on to other things, to other conceptions of myself. I play golf. I still work. And I can be pretty happy just walking the land,” he said..
Treatments for the condition include physiotherapy, counseling, and relaxation but these tend to deal with pain and symptoms.
Fibromyalgia usually comes on between the ages of 30 and 50 but can also affect young children and elderly people..
A new study led by Kings College London, collaborating with the University of Liverpool, has found that the condition is likely to be an autoimmune problem.
It found that many of the symptoms are caused by antibodies increasing the activity in the pain-sensing nerves..