Nurses Enjoy Watching Patients Find Relief

By: Melody Spurney

The Riordan Clinic’s nursing staff in Hays sees rewards almost daily as they watch patients find relief from chronic pain that, in some cases, has limited them for years.

Debbie Augustine, LPN; Jennifer Tutak, RN; and Sarah Rudman, RN, BSN; have assisted Dr. Dustin Moffitt, ND, with care for hundreds of individuals suffering from chronic pain at the Riordan Clinic in Hays. All three said they have seen dramatic results from Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT), which is also available at the other two Riordan Clinic locations.

They said that many patients are fairly well educated about the Riordan Clinic and the injection therapy approach to treating pain. Jennifer said that patients tend to find Riordan Clinic because they know what they are looking for and have often been referred to the clinic by a friend or family member. When they have questions, Sarah said that patients ask if the treatments will work. Debbie added that another common question is how many times a patient will need to return.

Debbie said in her experience, more than 80% of the patients who seek pain relief at the clinic get results. She said sometimes the pain isn’t completely eliminated, but patients still find relief. She added that some who don’t find relief sometimes give up too soon.

Sarah said that at the initial appointment, patients receive a thorough visit with Dr. Moffitt, including a discussion of patient history and symptoms, followed by the initial therapy agreed upon by Dr. Moffitt and the patient.

Jennifer has undergone injection therapy herself, having had prolotherapy on her knee following an injury. She said it can help some patients when they learn she has experienced the therapy and can share her personal experience and her own outcome.

She said that when she was injured, she limped so badly that she could barely make it around the office. However, her pain improved dramatically after even the first treatment. Jennifer was treated a second time on her injured leg and once on her opposite leg, which she had been using to overcompensate through the initial injury.

“It’s an incredible feeling to go from being in pain every day to nothing. No pill can do that,” she said.

The nurses said the Riordan Clinic is often the last hope for a patient to avoid surgery. Sarah, who came to the clinic from a long-term care facility, said the pain treatments offered by the Riordan Clinic yield faster results and are much less invasive than surgery. 

“Many patients see this as their last hope to avoid surgery,” Sarah said.

Other times, patients will seek relief from the Riordan Clinic following a surgery from which they did not heal well.

Because RIT involves needles, some patients experience temporary discomfort caused by the therapy itself. However, that is short-lived, and the inflammation created by the treatments is key to encouraging the body’s healing process.

“Most people are very excited. They know it will hurt, but they are glad to come back,” Debbie said, adding that the importance of inflammation to the healing process is why patients are told not to take anti-inflammatory medications during treatment. She also said that listening to Dr. Moffitt’s instructions and following an exercise routine are things she wishes patients would do.

The nurses said that the most rewarding thing about their job is seeing the patients’ transformation. Jennifer said they see a lot of change in patients. When they are at their worst, sometimes they cannot even walk into the clinic on their own – despite taking heavy doses of narcotics to get any relief. However, many find the relief they seek without additional medication in a relatively short time.

“When you see someone so broken and helpless to start out, and after treatments, they are almost unrecognizable. They have their life back and don’t have to take a pill. It’s so rewarding to see people come off opiates and live a normal life, pain-free, and do things they didn’t think they could,” Jennifer said.