Doing A Happy Dance

Aggressive approach sticks it to leg weakness, foot pain.

Connecticut native Neil Orkney has been collecting decorative items since he was 12 years old. Today, Neil owns three galleries in Florida where he buys and sells antiques and fine art. The 69-year-old antiquarian is also a competitive dancer. 

Neil Orkney

Neil experienced excellent results from his treatment at Achieve Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine. After one month, he was able to walk more than a mile with his dog.

“I’ve been dancing for 10 years,” Neil discloses. “I perform all types of dance, from modern to ballroom, and I do my own choreography. I attend competitions across the country. I’ve been to Las Vegas three times, Orlando, Atlanta and other places.

“Three years ago, I was in Las Vegas for a national competition when all of a sudden my legs collapsed from underneath me. I had no control over my legs and never finished the competition. After that, I couldn’t walk far or stay on my legs for long. They collapsed about once a week. I felt excruciating pain in my feet as well.”

Seeking an answer, Neil visited a neurologist, who tested for multiple disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. Ultimately, x-rays revealed that Neil had spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the bony openings within the spinal column. The stenosis was pinching the nerves supplying Neil’s legs, causing the symptoms he was experiencing.

To ease those symptoms, Neil tried weekly acupuncture treatments but received minimal relief. Earlier this year, after he discovered Achieve Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine in St. Petersburg, the practice of Rebecca Gibbons, RN, DOM, LAc, a doctor of oriental medicine, things finally began to turn around.

“Prior to seeing Dr. Gibbons, the relief from my weekly acupuncture treatments only lasted three days,” Neil elaborates. “But Dr. Gibbons treated me three times a week. For me, it was the best approach for lasting results.” 

Aggressive Approach

“We were pretty aggressive with Neil,” Dr. Gibbons explains. “We treated him with acupuncture and electroacupuncture and a third modality, ozone regenerative therapy.”

Acupuncture is performed using hair-thin needles inserted through the skin at specified points on the body. The points are unique to each patient and are identified during the initial consultation.

“The acupuncture points are determined by the patient’s symptoms and how long the patient has been dealing with them,” Dr. Gibbons elaborates. “These points generally change throughout treatment based on the patient’s response to treatment and any variations in the symptoms.

“During electroacupuncture, we add a small amount of electrical current. It dilates the blood vessels to bring more blood and oxygen to the nerves and muscles in Neil’s legs. Ozone regenerative therapy is a three- to five-minute treatment that applies ozone gas through the ears. It helps with brain fog and balance issues.” 

Neil experienced excellent results from his treatment at Achieve Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine. After one month, he was able to walk more than a mile with his dog. Before therapy, he could only walk about a quarter-mile. He experienced a 50 to 70 percent improvement in his legs and returned to dancing. 

“I don’t really have any pain now,” Neil reveals. “Sometimes, I have a little discomfort, but I can still dance. All dancers have discomfort. I can deal with that. I just can’t deal with excruciating pain. I have my bad days, but they don’t inhibit me from doing my activities. That’s what Dr. Gibbons’ acupuncture did for me.”

Halted Holidays

Gerard O’Regan views his retirement as a series of endless “seven-day weekends.”

Until a year ago, the former clinical social worker stayed extremely busy during those nonstop “holidays.” Then he lost sensation in his feet. Suddenly, his activity level plummeted.

Gerard O’Regan

Dr. Rebecca Gibbons at Achieve Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine in St. Petersburg treated Gerard O’Regan for neuropathy in his feet using acupuncture.

“There was no feeling in the soles of my feet, from my toes past the balls of my feet, essentially the entire front part of my feet,” describes Gerald, 82. “It wasn’t painful. Instead of pain, my feet were just numb.” Concerned, Gerard visited a neurologist who tested his feet and declared, “You have neuropathy, and it’s progressive.” 

Neuropathy results from damage to the peripheral nerves running from the central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord – to the rest of the body. Common symptoms include pain, numbness and tingling, most commonly in the hands and feet

As the neurologist predicted, Gerard’s neuropathy worsened to a point where he began experiencing problems with his balance. He couldn’t stand for long without support. He soon became so fearful of uneven surfaces that he was afraid to walk his dog on grass.

“If neuropathy progresses, it can become quite crippling, but no one had a proactive therapy,” Gerard bemoans. “Then I found an article about the efficacy of acupuncture for neuropathy and discovered Achieve Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine. I thought, If acupuncture can help me, I’m all for it.

Blood Flow Restored

At Achieve Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine, Gerard met with Dr. Gibbons, who began her treatment by performing neurologic tests on his feet. The results showed that Gerard had a 60 percent sensory loss in his feet from the neuropathy.

“Neuropathy is commonly caused by a lack of blood flow to the nerves in the feet or hands,” Dr. Gibbons explains. “Acupuncture stimulates the blood vessels to help restore blood flow to those nerves. The increased blood flow provides the nerves with the proper nutrients to repair.

“Gerard received acupuncture and electroacupuncture, the add-on treatment that promotes nerve conduction, two to three times a week for three months. At the end of his treatment course, the sensation loss in his feet measured 15 percent, down from 60 percent, so he improved tremendously.”

Return to Form

Gerard’s “seven-day weekends” have improved as well.

“The Gulfport garden tour was held March 3,” he relates. “I attended and stood from 11 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. I could not have done that in January. And I recently visited my podiatrist, who tested the feeling in my feet. I scored 17 out of 20, so my improvement is verifiable.

“Today, I can walk longer than my dog can. She just will not do her business on cement; it’s got to be grass. But that’s OK, because I’m totally comfortable walking her on grass now, It’s a great relief.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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