‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Star Kaitlin Olson Once Broke Her Back — How She Worked Through It

Kaitlin Olson has suffered for her art on the TV comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. One episode landed her in the hospital in 2013. Another time, she broke her back during a hiatus. The fourth season of the show had to adapt to Olson’s limited mobility.

Kaitlin Olsen wears a neck brace with the rest of the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia gang
L-R: Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, Danny DeVito, Rob McElhenney as Mac | Patrick McElhenney/FXX

Olson and co-stars Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney welcomed reporters to the set during season 4 when they were filming “The Nightman Cometh.” In between takes, Olson spoke about her injury and how it changed her role in the season a little. 

‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ star Kaitlin Olson broke her back on the 4th of July 

Olson described the incident at a 4th of July picnic. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia wasn’t filming at the time, but she was still recovering when season 4 begann.

“Well, it was the 4th of July,” Olson said. “My neighbor decided to pick me up. I was just sitting there drinking beer and probably minding my own business. Here’s how I broke it. He picked me up way over his head and then he dropped me on the cement on my hip and it broke my lower back. It sucked.”

‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ had safety measures for Kaitlin Olson

When Olson returned to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the show took extra precautions around her. Olson said she had to learn her own limits, too.

“There’s a lot of people standing by with wheelchairs and pads for different seats and golf carts,” Olson said. “The first week back was a little rough. I kinda overdid it a few times but I think this is the end of week two back and I feel good. I’m just happy I didn’t ruin the whole show.”

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia gang stares to the right
L-R: Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson, Danny DeVito | Patrick McElhenney/FXX

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Olson held off on some of Dee’s trademark pratfalls in season 4. The season featured episodes dealing with cannibalism, kidnapping a restaurant critic, the stage musical and Dee having a heart attack, but none of those required her to perform extreme stunts.

“We did have to push an episode to next year where I fall down the stairs because I wasn’t going to try that,” Olson said. “It didn’t seem smart.”

Kaitlin Olson didn’t want painkillers for her back injury

Olson said she refused painkillers after the 4th of July incident. It made filming It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia more challenging, but Olson had a bad history with painkillers.

Kaitlin Olson with Danny DeVito and Glenn Howerton in Paddy's Pub
L-R: Danny DeVito, Kaitlin Olson and Glenn Howerton | Patrick McElhenney/FXX

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“I wish I could make painkiller jokes but I cannot take them,” Olson said. “They make me sick and terrified. I’m terrified of myself. I just want it to go away so I just took extra strength Advil. It’s not that exciting. I just laid on the couch and watched Tori and Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.”