Dr Oz: RSD or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy: Paula Abdul’s Struggle


Dr Oz: Paula Abdul’s Shocking Health Confession

Paula Abdul has been a familiar face in pop culture for years, and she’s been keeping a huge health secret since age 17. She finally revealed to Dr Oz that she suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). As her star was rising, she suffered some setbacks on the road to success.

Paula Abdul broke her leg during a dance rehearsal in 1991, the same year she saw massive record sales success. Two years later, in 1993, she suffered partial paralysis after a plane crash. Multiple surgeries and other treatments failed to help her manage the pain.


Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy: Paula Abdul

TV personality Paula Abdul opened up about her struggles with Reflex Sympathetic Disorder to Dr Oz. (Image Credit: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com)

Ultimately she was diagnosed with Chronic Pain. Her symptoms began to manifest themselves in the public eye, during interviews when many speculated that she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She reached a breaking point and has finally decided, at age 50, to take control of her health.

Dr Oz: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Paula Abdul said she was excited to talk with Dr Oz and open up to the audience. Dr Oz didn’t back away from the tough questions, asking her directly whether she was abusing drugs. Paula said she has never been addicted to drugs. That’s an answer that’s open to interpretation, but Dr Oz moved on.


She called the erratic interview footage heartbreaking, saying now that she was suffering Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy symptoms, but was hiding her condition, which she now feels was the wrong thing to have done.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Symptoms

Paula Abdul explained her RSD symptoms, which she said often starts on the right side of her neck. The pain shoots through her shoulder and down her arm, eventually causing her fingers to tense up. She also reported a feeling of pins and needles, as well as feeling like her body is on fire. Though she accepted the symptoms at one time, she eventually realized they are not normal. But she has learned to adapt to her condition.

Dr Oz: Paula Abdul Vs Simon Cowell RSD

Dr Oz reported that RSD is a condition affecting about one million people. Normally, traumatic pain caused by inflammation eventually tapers off on its own. RSD causes pain and inflammation, which radiates throughout the body instead of being localized, causing whole body aches.

Paula said it was confusing to experience the symptoms before learning about the disease. She thought surgery would help her pain, but the symptoms lingered long afterward. Pain medication didn’t help her sleep. The pain kept her away, which led to sleep deprivation. Her busy schedule also contributed to her sleeping problems.

At the height of her popularity as a judge on American Idol, she was struggling with this condition. She said her colleague Simon Cowell was aware of her situation, but she didn’t think he cared about what she was going through. He once saw her on a gurney and made a snide remark, suggesting that he truly didn’t understand her plight.

Paula Abdul: RSD Treatments

Paula took the initiative to learn more about her debilitating condition. An Internet search helped her realize she wasn’t alone, and connected her to other patients who shared tips and strategies for coping with the problems.

She relied heavily on ice to help her manage the inflammation. Another area that she had to work on was her diet, and she learned about how to compensate for nutritional deficiencies that could be aggravating her symptoms.

She found that she was low in alkaline, and learned that a plant based diet may help her reduce inflammation. She also admitted having trouble giving up caffeine and eliminating artificial sweeteners from her diet.

Dr Oz: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Treatments

Here are some of the ways sufferers can manage or control their RSD pain.

  • Add Omega 3 supplements to your diet
  • Stop drinking alcohol
  • Quit smoking and avoid nicotine
  • Stop relying on caffeine
  • Switch to a plant-based diet
  • Avoid sugar substitutes
  • Take Vitamin B12
  • Reduce or limit stress

Paula Abdul admitted that her recent firing from the Fox reality series The X Factor added more stress to her life. She also said that Simon Cowell didn’t have much to say about her termination, despite the fact that he’d brought her on as his ally and partner from their American Idol days.

She admits that Simon has never been great about expressing true emotion, but she said she learned a lot about strength from years spent working alongside him.

Dr Oz: Paula Abdul Turns 50

Paula Abdul sees her 50th birthday as an exciting time. She said she feels better than ever, and that her life is on a positive track, especially compared to recent years. Paula sees the new chapter in her life as a fresh start, and she wants everyone to know that taking care of your body can help you undo any damage.


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