ST. LOUIS ( -- A new center at BJC West County is helping patients achieve their health and wellness goals.

The Washington University Living Well Center at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital will officially open this spring, but a temporary location is already up and running - and patients are seeing results.

One of those is Sara Seger, a St. Louis-area mother of two. When she found the Living Well Center, she was being treated for joint pain in her lower back but wasn’t having any relief.

“I literally was not even able to get out of bed whenever I would have flair ups,” Seger told News 4. “Which is devastating as a parent because you want to be active and engaged in your childrens’ lives.”

Seger thought surgery was her only option.

“Quite frankly, it scared me with having two younger kids,” she said.

That’s until she found the Living Well Center, a program that includes treatment for things like weight loss, stopping smoking and lowering blood pressure.

One of the founders said the idea came out of frustration with the current health care system. She said she was seeing patients who needed to have surgery, but couldn’t because they were overweight or had some other health issue.

“We tell the patient that and we say go fix those things but we don’t enable them to fix those things,” Dr. Heidi Prather explained.

At the Living Well Center, a patient might see a physical therapist, dietitian and someone who does medical massage. All of those health care providers meet every two weeks to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Since joining the program, Sara has reduced her pain significantly and chose not to have surgery. She told News 4 the center has been “life changing.”

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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