Pop superstar Adele is about halfway through a massive Las Vegas residency, but a health condition recently forced her to alter her performance.
“They picked my whole body up off the floor,” Adele explained to the crowd as she took a seat. “I am going to sit down and rest my sciatica.”
This wasn’t the first time the 35-year-old singer opened up about sciatica; while performing on New Year’s Eve last year, she told the audience that she has “a wobble these days because I have really bad sciatica.”
Sciatica refers to damage to the sciatic nerve, which originates in the lower back and travels down the left and right leg. According to Penn Medicine, when the nerve is impacted—which can happen after a number of different injuries, such as a pelvic fracture or a slipped disc—sciatica can manifest in the form of pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs altogether.
In Adele’s case, the culprit was a slipped disc. In a 2021 interview with The Face, the singer shared that significant weight loss had assisted in her mobility, but that her back issues were significant and go back all the way to her teenage years.
“I slipped my first disc when I was 15 from sneezing,” she said. “I was in bed and I sneezed and my fifth one flew out. In January, I slipped my sixth one, my L6. And then where I had a C‑section, my core was useless. I’ve been in pain with my back for, like, half of my life, really. It flares up, normally due to stress or from a stupid bit of posture.”
Sciatica is in itself extremely painful, but can also escalate to the point of causing permanent nerve damage, or a total loss of sensation in an affected limb.
Adele’s chronic condition wasn’t the only headline-making moment from her Las Vegas residency show this past weekend. On Saturday night, she paused her performance to defend a fan who she said was being “bothered” by a security guard.