After living in pain for years, Bonnie Traugh is off pain medications and feeling better than ever thanks to an innovative pain management program
“My first back surgery was in 1977,” says Bonnie Traugh of Bloomsburg. “Since then, I’ve had seven additional spine surgeries. I’ve always had some degree of back pain.”
When Bonnie was just 14 years old, she had a Harrington rod implanted to treat her scoliosis. A Harrington rod is a stainless-steel device that’s implanted along the spinal column to correct a curvature of the spine.
But after eight years, it failed, and she had it removed. In 2005, she injured her back. Then she had a sledding accident that made it worse.
“I was to the point where I couldn’t even stand up straight. Then I had a spinal osteotomy.”
In an osteotomy, part of a bone is removed and realigned. In Bonnie’s case, pieces of her spine were repositioned to be in the proper position.
“My spine was worn out. It needed to be straightened so I could walk straight, but then, it was all pain medication after that. I had fentanyl patches and was taking oxycodone.”
Bonnie thought she’d need to be on pain medication for the rest of her life. Then she learned about Geisinger’s multidisciplinary pain management program.
The multidisciplinary pain management program brings new hope
The multidisciplinary pain management program educates people about alternative treatments for chronic pain. Various therapies, such as physical therapy, mindfulness and meditation, yoga, diet and nutrition are used to help reduce pain – and dependence on opioid pain medications.
“At first, when they said, ‘You need to get out there and exercise,’ I was thinking, exercise? It hurts to walk to the mailbox! But they help you find a way to get your mind off the pain.”
Once Bonnie got off the pain medication, she realized she had more energy to get out and do things.
Staying active and feeling better than ever
Now at 56 years old, Bonnie goes to the gym with her husband after work every day. She’s lost weight, gained muscle and has much less pain.
“When I started going to the gym, I walked a mere 0.18 miles on the treadmill in 28 minutes. Now, in 28 minutes, I can walk a mile and a half! I credit this program. They gave me the tools to cope with pain and helped me get out of the rut and do what I need to do. I feel better now than I did when I was in my 30s.”