How has fibromyalgia affected one of the best-selling musical artists of the 21st century?
Between clips of rehearsals, performances, and candid commentary about her work and personal life, Gaga allows the audience to see glimpses of her pain.
In one scene, she lies on a couch crying, describing the muscle spasms that wrack her body.
“Who gets their makeup done while they’re getting a major body treatment?” she asks.
For Gaga and others, that kind of multitasking may be critical to their ability to pursue their ambitions while coping with the pain that fibromyalgia causes.
Chronic Widespread Pain
“For some individuals, the pain feels debilitating,” Dr. Kevin Hackshaw, an associate professor in the Division of Rheumatology and Immunology at The Ohio State University, told Healthline.
It can also cause a variety of other symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, mental confusion, and headaches.
Physical and psychological stressors are common triggers of flares.
“If I get depressed, my body can spasm,” Gaga says in the opening scenes of the film.
In October 2018, Vogue released an issue that dove into the the 32-year-old pop star’s struggle with fibromyalgia.
“I get so irritated with people who don’t believe fibromyalgia is real,” the singer said. “For me, and I think for many others, it’s really a cyclone of anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and panic disorder, all of which sends the nervous system into overdrive, and then you have nerve pain as a result.”
“People need to be more compassionate. Chronic pain is no joke. And it’s every day waking up not knowing how you’re going to feel.”
By showcasing her experiences, the singer hopes to help raise awareness of fibromyalgia and connect people who are facing similar challenges.
While fibromyalgia can occur at any age, it’s more common among older adults.
It’s also more prevalent among women than men.
The exact cause of the condition is unknown.