Innovative ‘dry needling’ treatment is bringing relief to Parkinson’s patients



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PEORIA HEIGHTS (WEEK) – A month long trial has wrapped up in a local gym. The experiment was meant to alleviate muscle pain and tightness in Parkinson’s Disease patients.

Heidi Bauer works with Parkinson’s patients by leading them trhough boxing drills and physical therapy at the “Rock Steady Boxing” program at 309 CrossFit.

When some of the Parkinson’s patients in the program showed severe muscle rigidity, Dr. Jaci Lawfer at Peoria Spine and Sport suggested acupuncture as a way to alleviate the tightness.

They worked together to offer the treatment for “Rock Steady Boxing” patients for free for a month.

“There are not many studies that have been done with just Parkinson’s patients. So that was kind of our objective with this is to see how can we improve their quality of life and function and help them enjoy life a little bit more,” explained Lawfer.

And they say it’s worked to varying degrees.

“If it’s going to help me with some of the pain I’m excited. The more treatments she gives me, the longer it lasts,” added Russ Van Dran, a trial participant.

The process called “dry needling” penetrates the muscle with a needle. Dr. Lawfer said it can be uncomfortable for some patients, but others don’t feel it at all. She said some patients have had success feeling “looser” after treatment and others have seen an increase in ability to walk and move.

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