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Finding relief from radiating nerve pain.

The answer? Geisinger’s Medication Therapy Disease Management program.

For years, Naomi Johnson, 75, of Lewistown had radiating nerve pain caused by a degenerated disc. She was taking an opioid pain reliever, but it only helped so much.

“I was getting up every night crying, walking the floor in pain,” says Ms. Johnson.

Concerned about long-term use of the opioid, her doctor took her off the drug and referred Ms. Johnson to Geisinger’s Medication Therapy Disease Management program. Clinical pharmacist Eva Gerhart worked closely with her to manage her pain using gabapentin, a non-narcotic nerve pain medication.

Managing chronic nerve pain — without opioids

Adjusting the dosages to effectively control Ms. Johnson’s pain took time, but it was worth it.

“We finally got the perfect regimen for her after one year,” says Ms. Gerhart. “She was a fantastic patient. She accepted the education, and we worked together to reach the goal.”

Back to helping others, and doing it pain-free

Despite her years of chronic pain, Ms. Johnson volunteers by delivering meals for the Lewistown Senior Center. And now that she and Ms. Gerhart have found the right medication level, driving about 70 miles twice a week, getting in and out of the car and climbing steps are no longer challenging for her.

“The people I bring meals to have become my family,” says Ms. Johnson. “But back when I was in pain, I couldn’t stoop to put food in the bags or get in and out of the car easily.”

Now, all that’s behind her. And Ms. Johnson says she’s so thankful for Ms. Gerhart.

“Eva is such a sweet person,” she says. “Anytime I called, she was there to answer questions and help me though the pain crisis.

“Geisinger gave me back my life — gave me back my happiness.”

Next steps:

Read and watch more stories
Learn about pain medicine
Learn about pharmacy services at Geisinger

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