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Paula Abdul Is ‘Straight Up’ Not Letting Osteoarthritis Pain Stop Her From Dancing


Paula Abdul is known for her catchy tunes and captivating dance moves that first grabbed our attention back in the ’80s. Now, she’s sharing how she is able to stay active despite developing joint pain over the years. 

The “Straight Up” singer spoke to us about her struggle with osteoarthritis, which is one of the most common forms of joint pain, also known as “wear and tear” arthritis. “I put my body through so much,” Abdul (58) explains. “Being a choreographer and trying to stay innovative and doing movement that your body normally shouldn’t.”  

At one point, she realized she was experiencing more than the “normal physical pain” that comes with dancing all the time. “I knew when I tweaked my knees here, when I rolled my ankles… But then I noticed sharper pain in my joints.” After getting checked out by her doctor and receiving the osteoarthritis diagnosis, he prescribed a topical gel called Voltaren. “I immediately put it on and it worked the first time,” she says, clearly still in awe of how it seemed to make her discomfort disappear.

Which is exactly why she’s so excited to share that anyone looking to soothe their arthritis aches can get their hands on the product without a prescription. “I swear by Voltaren and now I can get the word out that it’s the first and only prescription-strength, anti-inflammatory, non-steroidal way to deal with this pain — which is now available over-the-counter,” she told us. You can find the gel at your local drug stores or online ($9.99, Walgreens).

Take a look below to see how well the gel helped Abdul recreate some of the fancy footwork from her “Forever Your Girl” video 30 years later:

Abdul really can’t stop praising the product for allowing her to keep dancing and improving her life overall. “I carry it in my purse with me,” she says. “I don’t care what time of day it is, I put it on my fingers because I’ve been texting and typing on the computer. You know, it helps my wrist, it helps my elbows.”  

Aside from using the product, Abdul wants people suffering from any form of arthritis to “not be intimidated” about continuing to move their bodies. “Nothing is easy,” Abdul admits. “But if you get in the habit of moving, it becomes contagious. It’s something that you can count on that makes you feel good — and when the body feels good, your mental space, your spiritual space, everything feels better.” She especially hopes younger people will follow her advice and listen to their bodies more to avoid arthritis and similar chronic pain as much as possible.  

She also tells us she’s been using her time in quarantine to master new cooking skills — something she never really did until now. “People are teasing me because it’s like, ‘Oh my God, she should change her last name to Deen instead of Abdul,’” she explains with a laugh. “I’ve been Paula Deen-ing it up — it’s been fun!”  

Cooking has also given her an even better understanding of how to fuel her body in a way that eases her osteoarthritis symptoms. “What I’ve learned is that you want to try to lower the alkaline level in your body,” she explains. “So learning recipes that I thought would be boring and not fun that are plant-based meals — and knowing I can make them taste good — it inspires me now. I’m like, man, this feels good to my body!” 

And, like many of us waiting out the pandemic, Abdul has doing her best to surround herself with positive things that make her smile. “Because it is a heavy time, why bombard yourself on top of everything else?” She’s been vocal on social media about her love of the series Schitt’s Creek, so we had to ask if there were any other shows she’s been enjoying in quarantine.

“First off, there will never be another Schitt’s Creek,” she gushes. “Unless they decide to come back and do a movie. I mean, I fell in love with them — all of the characters. And they’re amazing people. Just the nicest, most grounded people. I love ‘em all.”

Apart from the Canadian series, Abdul says catching up on the second season of The Politician on Netflix really made her smile and “I always recommend to people, if they’ve never watched Mozart in the Jungle, there’s four delicious seasons of it on Amazon.”

Abdul has definitely inspired us to keep moving, stay healthy, and find enjoyment no matter how much life might try to hold us back! 

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