WellBatavia offers health screenings, vendor services

Attendees test new shockwave therapy to treat pain

Chiropractor Nathan Conroy demonstrates shockwave therapy on Jackie Wright's lower back at the WellBatavia Festival Saturday at Batavia City Hall. Conroy, owner of Genesis Integrative Medicine, uses the therapy to treat pain in a non-invasive way.

Jackie Wright sat backward in a chair, leaning forward as chiropractor Nathan Conroy pressed a device that looked like a cross between a curling iron and a glue gun into her lower back.

Wright was getting a free sample of shockwave therapy at the WellBatavia Festival on June 8. Conroy was one of the vendors offering health-related services outside Batavia City Hall while physical therapy students and the Kane County Health Department offered free health screenings inside.

“It felt great,” Wright said. “I suffer from lower back pain. As he started to put the shock in, all the intensive pain started to shift, shift and then fade away.”

Wright said her pain is from her job in customer service, sitting behind a desk.

“I’ve been doing it for 20-some years,” Wright, of Aurora, said.

Conroy said shockwave therapy is a new medical treatment recently approved by the FDA as a noninvasive way to treat pain.

“People love it,” said Conroy, who owns Genesis Integrative Medicine, 1881 S. Randall Road, Geneva. “Usually after one session, they feel a lot of improvement. We use this as an alternative to pharmaceutical medication, surgeries and other types of pain management.”

Conroy said the practice bought the device to treat pain from neuropathy, but then discovered its value in treating other areas, such as joint pain.

Another festival attendee Joseph Brasfield of Batavia said he had shockwave therapy on his right knee, which clicks after walking all day. He was there with his three children.

“We were at the farmers market and we saw the tents,” Brasfield said of the WellBatavia vendors.

Sarah Greenhagen, a clinical professor of the doctoral physical therapy program at Northern Illinois University, along with Fifth Ward Alderperson Abby Beck, created the first event in 2017.

NIU physical therapy student Josh Starner demonstrates a blood pressure check on fellow student Aidan Brown Saturday at the WellBatavia Festival. Several students conducted health screenings, such as speech and language, speech and Batavia's downtown accessibility.

Several of Greenhagen’s physical therapy students were inside City Hall for the screenings, including Trevor Laffin and Cassidy Gagalski. They were logging information from attendees about Batavia’s accessibility.

“The majority of individuals living in Batavia right now say that there’s a good amount of active resources for them to walk downtown and walk downtown in a timely manner and in a safe manner,” Laffin said.

However, construction that causes backed-up traffic results in complications for getting downtown, he said.

“A lot of some of the complaints were that there’s uneven sidewalks,” Gagalski said. “And due to construction, some of the sidewalks are inaccessible as is. ... And the sidewalks just didn’t connect. That was another complaint is that people would have to cross the street or walk in the street temporarily because there weren’t sidewalks.”

For those using wheelchairs, inaccessible sidewalks makes it difficult for them to get downtown from where they live, Laffin said.

The students’ information will be passed on to city officials.

Josh Starner, another physical therapy student, was screening blood pressure.

“I’ve seen ranges from slightly under normal to almost double what’s supposed to be normal,” he said.

The one person with high blood pressure was aware of her condition, he said.

“I’m not a doctor, so technically I can’t give medical advice and this is just a health fair,” Starner said. “But she did ask and I said to make sure she was exercising, eat as healthy as possible and stay active and [consume] fiber – fiber is good for your heart. The main thing I said was you need to follow up with your doctor because her pressure was dangerously high.”