Employee Spotlight: Annushka

Meet Annushka, Intake & Eligibility Peer Trainer at Twin Cities Pain Clinic! Annushka was nominated by her fellow staff members for her continued dedication to her job and helping new employees learn in the best way for them. She is a great team player and helps out anyone whenever they need it! Thank you for all you do Annushka!

What is your position / What are your daily responsibilities?

I am the Intake & Eligibility Peer Trainer. The I & E department schedules all new patient appointments, verifies that new and existing patients' insurances are active for their appointments. We input all of the patient information into the system and serve as the first point of contact for new patients and referring clinics. I like to think that we are the gate keepers for TCPC :). As the Peer Trainer I train new employees on the processes of the I & E department.

How long have you been with TCPC?

I have been with Twin Cities Pain Clinic for two years. When I started the I & E department was called Referrals and it was part of the front desk rotation. I became the Peer Trainer four months ago!

What are some of your hobbies?

I love to travel!!! My husband is an awesome travel buddy to explore with. I also do a lot of mother/daughter trips. We recently went on a trip to the Caribbean! I like to cook and try new recipes/dishes from different cultures. I love spending time with my nieces and nephews being the "fun aunty." I get to sugar them up and send them back home.

What is your favorite thing about working at TCPC?

My I & E team! They are the best group of people that I have worked with. Within the two years that I have been here the clinic has evolved so much and I like how the company strives to be the best for pain management.



Twin Cities Pain Clinic has been named a Top Workplace by the Star Tribune. This great award wouldn't be possible without our amazing staff members. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.

When to Use Ice or Heat on an Injury

Ice or heat?

There is a lot of confusion around the topic of when to use ice on an injury or heat.  Using ice or heat is a cheap, easy, and safe treatment option to help with many common issues. The question is, when do you use heat and when do you use ice.

Ice is for injuries.

Using ice helps calm down damaged superficial tissues that are inflamed, red, hot and swollen. Inflammation is a healthy, normal, and natural process, but it can also be painful. Icing is a mild way of dulling the pain or inflammation and taking the swelling down a bit. If an injury is brand new, using ice can help “calm down” the new injury and bring some relief to the area.

Heat is for muscles, chronic pain, and stress.

Heat takes the edge off symptoms like muscle aching and stiffness. Chronic pain, especially back pain, often involves lots of tension, tightness, anxiety, and sensitization. Comfortable heat can help soothe the nervous system and calm the mind.

As much as using ice and heat can help injuries, it can also harm some injuries if used in the wrong aspect. Heat can make inflammation significantly worse and ice can aggravate symptoms of tightness and stiffness. Both can also just make any pain worse when it’s unwanted. Icing when you are already shivering or applying heat when you are already sweating can be mistaken by the body as a threat, which can actually make the pain worse. To most, ice seems to feel more threatening.

When using ice, you want to be careful when it comes to muscle pain. Sometimes you may think an area is injured, but it may just be muscle pain. You can occasionally have trigger points, painfully sensitive spots, which can be intense and easily mistaken for an injury or inflammation that can be iced. But, if you end up icing a trigger point, it can burn and ache even more. The most common areas people tend to make this mistake is with neck or low back pain.

Heat with inflammation is another area you have to be cautious of. If you add heat to a fresh injury, it is going to get worse. If you heat a freshly injured area that is already swollen and inflamed, it is only going to swell up more and become more painful.

Both heat and ice can be effective when used correctly and on the right type of injury. The most important thing to remember is to use whichever method feels best to you. If you are already warm and the thought of adding more heat to an area of the body doesn’t sound pleasing, don’t do it. Or if you are already chill and adding ice doesn’t sound ideal, you don’t have to do that either. You can always start using one method and if you don’t like it, switch to the other.

The main thing is to always listen to your body!

What Exactly is Degenerative Disc Disease?

First, let’s understand your spine. Your spine is made up of 24 bones, called vertebrae. Muscles and ligaments connect these bones to the spinal column. The many muscles that connect to the spinal column help support the upright posture of the spine and move the spine. The spinal column is what gives the body form and function. The spinal column holds and protects the spinal cord, which is a bundle of nerves that send signals to other parts of the body.

In between each vertebra is a soft, gel-like cushion called an intervertebral disc. The discs act as shock absorbers from everyday movements by helping to absorb pressure. Pressure on the body comes from anything such as sitting, walking, bending, and normal day-to-day activities. The discs also prevent the bones from rubbing against each other.

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of low back and neck pain. Degenerative disc disease is not a disease, despite the name, but rather more of a condition in which natural, age-related wear and tear on a disc causes pain, instability, and other symptoms. It is normally the result of aging on your spine, however, younger people can have symptoms as well. Spinal injuries can also start the degenerative process of your discs at an earlier time.

Loss of fluid also contributes to the degenerative process of discs. In a healthy, young adult, the discs consist of up to 90 percent fluid. As a person ages, the fluid content decreases, making the discs thinner and they start to become stiff. Because the discs become thin and stiff, they become less effective as a shock absorber and this can create pain and problems.

Common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include:

  • Pain that is worse when sitting. While seated, the discs of the lower back have three times more load on them than when standing.
  • Pain that gets worse when bending, lifting or twisting.
  • Feeling better while walking or even running than when sitting or standing for long periods of time.
  • Feeling better changing positions or lying down.
  • Periods of severe pain that come and go. These can last a few days to a few months before getting better. They can range from nagging pain to disabling pain. Pain can affect the low back, buttocks, thighs or the neck, depending on where the affected disc is, radiating to the arms and hands.
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities.
  • Weakness in the leg muscles or foot drop, a possible sign of damage to the nerve root.

Risk Factors:

  • An acute or sudden injury, such as a fall
  • Obesity
  • Strenuous physical work
  • Tobacco smoking

If you are experiencing any sort of back or neck pain it doesn’t hurt to reach out to a professional to get it checked out. Normal wear and tear is bound to happen, but, over time can get worse or lead to other issues if not treated correctly or if risk factors are not addressed.

Employee Spotlight: Pa Ta

Meet Pa Ta, Medical Assistant at Twin Cities Pain Clinic. Pa Ta was nominated by her fellow staff members for her continued willingness to help and always having a great attitude. Pa Ta is always willing to help others to make sure the day runs smoothly. Thank you for all you do Pa Ta!

What is your position / What are your daily responsibilities?

I am a Medical Assistant for Twin Cities Pain Clinic. My responsibilities include rooming patients, completing vitals, and lab work.

How long have you been with TCPC?

I have been with Twin Cities Pain Clinic for three awesome months!

What are some of your hobbies?

In my free time I enjoy playing volleyball, spending time with my dog Nala, and cooking. I am a Packers fan, so I love watching them play as well. You can also find me bullet journaling and obsessing over my stationary!

What is your favorite thing about working at TCPC?

I really enjoy working with the staff at TCPC! They have all been very welcoming and helpful with my transition to TCPC.



Twin Cities Pain Clinic has been named a Top Workplace by the Star Tribune. This great award wouldn't be possible without our amazing staff members. Your hard work does not go unnoticed.