Lorna Ohlhauser participates in pain management boot camp
Ever have those days where you don’t know where your energy has gone? Well, Lorna Ohlhauser, formerly of Hazelton, suffered from extreme fatigue on a daily basis for years, unable to find the cause or a cure.
After doctors in Bismarck failed to diagnose the problem, she was referred to a hematologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The specialist at Mayo was able to determine that the cause of her pain was Fibromyalgia.
After attending an eighthour class that provided information about dealing with the pain, Lorna decided to participate in a 17-day rehabilitation program in August.
Comprehensive Pain Rehabilitation Center at Mayo, which has been running for over 35 years, helps people with chronic pain. Eightyseven percent of patients go home with a decrease in pain interference in daily life. Only 400 patients are accepted per year, and ages range from early twenties to mid-eighties.
During the three weeks, patients are taught about medication management and chemical health education. A somewhat controversial matter, this program does not believe in any sort of drugs or medicine. Going off any pain medication is the first step upon arriving. Not even aspirin is allowed.
Stress management, relaxation, physical therapy, occupational and recreational therapy, sleep hygiene and lifestyle management are also “courses” that are stressed throughout the 17 days.
Each patient is required to set a goal for each day and meet that goal, however simple it may be. Lorna’s goal for the first day was to take deep breaths and relax.
People are there because they want to get well and, because of that, patients were willing to put in the work to get the positive results.
The first few days were really hard, she said. She wanted to quit, but encouragement from her counselor and positive feedback from the group discussions convinced her to stay.
Lorna referred to the program as “boot camp”—training and workouts were from eight in the morning to five o’clock at night. The weekends she was able to stay at a family member’s house, but she was still encouraged to stay consistent with her goals set throughout the week.
After returning from the program, Lorna, who is 79, said she “learned to deal with the pain which causes less fatigue.” By using the tools she was taught, she now has more energy and is able to do more things.
Even though it was a tough few weeks that took a lot of hard work and dedication, she said she was glad that she went because the payoff was worthwhile.