Oh, What A Feeling!

Acupuncture restores sensation lost to neuropathy.

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.

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.

“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 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 in St. Petersburg. I thought, If acupuncture can help me, I’m all for it.

“A Great Relief”

Achieve Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine is the practice of Rebecca Gibbons, RN, DOM, LAc, a doctor of oriental medicine. Dr. Gibbons began her treatment by performing neurologic tests on Gerard’s feet. The results showed 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.”

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.

“Gerard received acupuncture and electroacupuncture, an 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.”

His “seven-day weekends” have improved as well.

“The Gulfport garden tour was held March 3,” Gerard 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. Photo by Jordan Pysz. js
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