2019 in Review – Part 4: A Bit of Everything

Today we’re highlighting several big 2019 upgrades. They include the launch of our own transportation service, improving access to care with our mobile check in feature, and completing the first of several remodeling projects!

Twin Cities Transportation

We bought a van! In July, Twin Cities Transportation was launched, and it started with this beauty here:

Twin Cities Transportation Van-Twin Cities Pain Clinic

Twin Cities Transportation (TCT) is a service for patients undergoing procedures at Twin Cities Surgery Center. Many of our surgery patients require a ride home after their procedures, and TCT now allows us to give a lift to any patients who run into difficulties securing their own rides.

TCT is another great example of our dedication to breaking down barriers and offering our patients consistent and convenient access to the best possible pain care.

Mobile Pre-Check

January saw the roll out our new mobile pre-check feature! As the name suggests, mobile pre-check allows our patients to complete the appointment check-in process remotely from their smart phone or tablet prior to coming into the clinic.

This affords our patients additional flexibility in their daily schedules. They no longer have to come to the clinic as early to complete the onsite check in process.

Our front desk staff has been able to maximize their efficiency. Now they spend less time checking patients in and more time on other essential tasks.

It’s a win-win service, and just one more way we are making the experience better and more convenient for every patient.

Twin Cities Pain Clinic Headquarters Remodel

During fall of 2019, our administrative office building underwent an extensive remodel project. Now we have brand new carpet and tile, repainted walls, and a shiny new bathroom.

Twin Cities Pain Clinic-Remodeled Bathroom

The results speak for themselves, and we all love our new and improved office!

2019 In Review – Part 3: Outreach

TCPC Gives Back – 2019 Charity and Community Outreach Initiatives

The Twin Cities Pain Clinic team is a generous bunch, and that generosity was on full display in 2019. From food drives to fundraisers, and even making gifts from scratch to donate, there was no shortage of joy and good will to spread around, and we’re proud of our employees for caring so much!


Valentines Candy Grams

February 11 – 13, 2019

Employees bought candy grams and sent them to fellow employees.

$426 raised and donated to the American Heart Association


Feed My Starving Children #1

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The TCPC team packed meals that would feed hungry children in need across the globe.

4,485 meals packed, which fed 12 children for a whole year.


Second Harvest Heartland

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

We joined a team to pack “rescued” food items to feed those in need.

5,762 pounds of food packed


Feed My Starving Children #2

Feed My Starving Children-Group Photo-Twin Cities Pain Clinic Outreach

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Our team participated in the Pack at the Park event at Target Field.

442 boxes packed, which is a total of 88,992 meals.


Breast Cancer Awareness Week

Breast Cancer Awareness Week-Group Photo-Twin Cities Pain Clinic Outreach

October 14 – 18, 2019

Employees could pay $5 to wear jeans for the week, with the company matching every dollar.

$300 donated, totaling $600 with the match.


Fall Food Drive

Boxes of Food Donations-November 2019 Food Drive-Twin Cities Pain Clinic Outreach

Month of November 2019

Food and monetary donations were collected and given to Second Harvest Heartland.

$200 gifted and 238 pounds of food collected.


Holiday Blankets

Stack of Handmade Blankets-Twin Cities Pain Clinic Outreach

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Staff members made tie blankets, gift bags and holiday cards for the Little Brothers of MN.

10 fleece blankets were made along with dozens of cards and bags.


Learn more about the charities we support:







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2019 in Review – Part 2: PACT

Twin Cities Pain Clinic-logo imagePACT logo image

In July of 2019, we made a commitment to further improving the health and well-being of our patients. Twin Cities Pain Clinic partnered with the Personalized Activated Care and Training program, known as PACT for short.

We understand the impact of pain does not always end within the walls of our clinics. The effects often go beyond the physical and can be long-lasting. Successful pain treatment must provide patients with the maximum amount of relief, comfort and contentment at all times.

This is where PACT steps in to help. In a nutshell, the PACT program provides our patients with health coaching and self-care strategies to keep away the pain.

Health coach treating senior female chronic pain patientPACT allows our organization to extend the pain relief patients receive at our clinics. Along with receiving expert care from our pain professionals, our patients can now receive additional health coaching to identify their  personal risk factors and establish a plan take better care of themselves in their daily lives. The result is long-term pain relief, a healthy attitude and overall well-being.

This added layer of pain management care helps our patients achieve the best possible outcomes and improved quality of life, both now and into the future.


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What is the difference between acute and chronic pain?

How is pain defined? Understanding the answer to this simple question can help you and your doctor find the best way to treat your pain. The first step is defining the common types of pain: acute pain and chronic pain.

Acute Pain

Ice pack on knee to relieve acute pain

Acute pain is pretty much any pain that lasts less than three months. Pain that is directly related to soft tissue damage such as a sprained ankle or a paper cut is also considered acute. We usually think of acute pain as sharp and severe. Acute pain does not last long and gradually resolves as the injured tissue heals. Most causes of acute pain can be remedied with basic self-care. But some issues and injuries can be more severe and may require medical treatment. Contact your doctor if you are experiencing acute pain that is causing you concern.

Chronic Pain

X ray image of human body hunched over with chronic pain

Chronic Pain refers to pain that lasts longer than three months. The pain will often grow worse and reoccur over time, outlasting the usual healing process. Most pain is generally expected to stop once the underlying condition is treated and the injured tissue heals. However, chronic pain can persist long after injuries for no apparent cause. It can cause significant psychological and emotional trauma and often limits an individual’s ability to fully function. Chronic pain will usually require medical treatment.

Pain Treatment at Twin Cities Pain Clinic

Treating pain is what we do. It’s right there in our name, and we’re pretty good at it. Whether you’re suffering from acute or chronic pain, we can help you find relief. Our friendly providers are highly trained and specialize in treating pain from head to toe. Schedule an appointment today and return to the quality of life you deserve.


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(1.) https://www.spine-health.com/glossary/chronic-pain

(2.) https://www.spine-health.com/glossary/acute-pain

2019 In Review – Part 1: Provider Growth

2019 Year in Review-Banner Image

2020 – it’s the start of a new year and a new decade. Everyone is settled back in after the holidays and ready to hit the ground running. We’re all looking ahead to the coming year and planning for how we’re going to improve over the year before.

It turns out this is going to be quite the challenge for Twin Cities Pain Clinic. If we take a step back and gaze into the recent past, 2019 was truly a banner year! Our organization launched a ridiculous number of initiatives to improve the patient experience, welcomed a ton of new team members to the TCPC family, and gave back to our community in a way that would make Bono himself weep with joy. Altogether, it’s worth one more look back.

So, without further ado, here is part one in our series highlighting all the amazing things our team accomplished together in 2019.

Provider Growth

In 2019, we offered our pain management services to more patients than ever before. More patients require more treatment options and more experts to provide them, and we were very proud to welcome FIVE new providers to our team last year. While they all come from different backgrounds, they all share a passion for providing amazing care to those suffering from pain. Let’s take a second to introduce them all one more time:

Nancy Nyongesa, DNP, FNP


Clinical Interests

  • Chronic Pain Management
  • Patient Education
  • Mental Health


  • Associate Degree in Practical Nursing – Dickinson State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – Dickinson State University
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice with Specialty in Family Practice – North Dakota State University


Power walking, running short distance races (5K, 10K), spending time with husband and kids and playing league volleyball.

Katherine Le-Banh, MS, APRN, FNP-C


Clinical Interests

  • Comprehensive pain management
  • Holistic wellness
  • Patient education
  • Board Certifications


  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Master of Science, Nursing – The Ohio State University


Traveling, hiking, rock-climbing, weightlifting, and cuddling with my two kitties

Kjerstin Durie, PA-C

Twin Cities Pain Clinic Provider-Kjerstin Durie, PA-C

Clinical Interests

  • Holistic care
  • Individualized treatment plans


  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology – Bethel University
  • Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies – Bethel University


Spending time with family, traveling and hiking

Vivian Ngongang Ogunyemi, DNP

Vivian Ngongang-Twin Cities Pain Clinic-Providers

Clinical Interests

  • Patient education
  • Interventional techniques


  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Metropolitan State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – North Dakota State University


I am a relationship coach, and I enjoy cooking, running, traveling, and spending time with family

Matt Klein Gannott, DPT

Matt Gannott, DPT-Physical Therapist-Twin Cities Pain Clinic

Clinical Interests

  • Chronic Pain Management
  • Spine Care
  • SI Joint Dysfunction
  • Manual Physical Therapy


  • B.A. in Biology and Psychology – Minnesota State University, Moorhead
  • Doctor of Physical Therapy – Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons


Spending time with family, traveling, woodworking and home improvement projects

Provider Education

Our providers did not just grow in quantity, however. Our physicians also grew their skill sets and hit some impressive milestones in 2019. First, all four of our physicians earned their certification to perform the MILD surgical procedure, allowing us to add another service to our expanding repertoire.

Second, Dr. Travis O’Brien and Dr. Anne Kokayeff both became certified to perform DRG stimulator implant surgeries. This earned both of them a spot in a very exclusive group and gave TCPC the distinction of having ALL our providers certified to perform DRG implants.


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Blankets and Bags 2019-Twin Cities Pain Clinic Outreach

Holiday Blankets, Cards and Bags

A bunch of super cool members of the Twin Cities Pain Clinic team showed their charitable side last week. With the holidays just around the bend, these gallant givers made the season a bit warmer and more cheerful for those in need.

The team made some very comfy tie blankets, beautiful gift bags and thoughtful cards. Everything was then donated (with love) to the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly organization.

Stack of Handmade Blankets-Twin Cities Pain Clinic Outreach  Team making cards-Twin Cities Pain Clinic Charitable Giving Team making blankets-Twin Cities Pain Clinic Charitable Giving

2019 TCPC Fall Food Drive

This November, Twin Cities Pain Clinic hosted a food drive in support of Second Harvest Heartland. Non perishable food items and monetary gifts were collected and donated to help people in need.

TCPC Outreach-November 2019 Food Drive-Boxes of DonationsOur team really stepped up and showed their generosity!

238 pounds of food donated

$200 in monetary gifts given

For every $1 donated, Second Harvest Heartland can provide $7 worth of food products. Altogether, Twin Cities Pain Clinic’s contributions resulted in:

1,638 pounds of food

Awesome work, team! We’re proud to have such a charitable group representing our organization.


Twin Cities Pain Clinic Welcomes A New Provider

Twin Cities Pain Clinic is pleased to welcome Vivian Ngongang Ogunyemi, DNP! Vivian is a Doctor of Nursing Practice and will see patients at our clinic in Edina.

Get to know Vivian!

Vivian Ngongang-DNP-Twin Cities Pain Clinic-Providers

Vivian Ngongang Ogunyemi, DNP

Clinical Interests

  • Patient education
  • Interventional techniques

Board Certifications

  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)


  • Metropolitan State University – Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • North Dakota State University – Bachelor of Science in Nursing


  • I am a relationship coach, and I enjoy cooking, running, traveling, and spending time with family


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Sciatica in a Nutshell

Sciatica Word Cloud Image

Sciatica is one of the most common causes of pain, with as many as 40% of people experiencing it at some point. It can range from a short-lived annoyance to a severe, debilitating disruption of everyday life.

The good news is that there are care and treatment options that can relieve and sometimes even prevent sciatica from becoming an issue.

Before we get to all that, let’s take a moment to learn a little bit more about sciatica. After all, knowledge is the first step to prevention!

What is Sciatica?

Sciatic Nerve X Ray ImageThe term “sciatica” has its roots in ancient Greece, where it was first used to describe pain in the hips or thighs. Since then, we have learned that this condition can in fact cause pain throughout most of the lower half of the body.

Specifically, sciatica refers to pain that affects the sciatic nerves, which run from the lower back, through the buttocks, down the back of the legs and to the feet.

FACT: The sciatic nerves are the largest nerves in the body, about the width of a pinkie finger.

The pain is caused by the sciatic nerve becoming pinched, usually by a herniated disc, bones spurs, or on rare occasion, by the formation of tumors.

What are Symptoms of Sciatica?

When sciatica crashes the party, it can announce itself with a variety of painful symptoms. You may experience just one symptom or several at a time:

  • Throbbing pain in the lower back, hip or buttocks
  • Leg or buttock pain made worse by long periods of sitting down
  • Burning or tingling sensation in the leg
  • Weakness or numbness in the affected leg or foot
  • Shooting pain in the lower body, like an electric shock

Almost all symptoms of sciatica occur on or near the path of the sciatic nerves, and usually only effect one side of the body.

The severity of pain differs from person to person, but even mild cases run the risk of becoming worse, so it is a good idea to check with your doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms of sciatica.

Sciatica Risk Factors

When it comes to how and why sciatica occurs, let’s just say, “it’s complicated.” Due to the large size of the sciatic nerve and the many ways the condition presents itself, a lot of factors are thought to increase the risk of developing sciatica.


The primary causes of sciatica – herniated discs and bone spurs – become more common with increasing age. As a result, the likelihood of developing sciatica increases as well.


Added pressure on the spine from excess weight commonly causes herniated discs and can result in the onset of sciatica.

Excessive Sitting

Regularly sitting for long periods of time puts extra pressure on the sciatic nerve, increasing the risk of pinching it and causing sciatica. This risk is increased if your body is off balance due to poor posture or carrying items like a wallet in your back pocket.

Injury or Trauma

Severe injuries that result in slipped or ruptured discs can compress the sciatic nerve and lead to sciatica.


This is one of the less understood risk factors. Research has suggested that smoking may contribute to developing sciatica, while quitting smoking was shown to reduce the risk.

Treating Sciatica

Luckily, for as many risk factors as there are for sciatica, there are also plenty of ways to treat it.

Many are simple, nonsurgical options designed to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.

  • A few days of bed rest and relaxation can do the trick
  • Physical Therapy
  • Stretches that focus on the lower back
  • Mild exercise
  • Applying a cold compress for a few days, then switching to hot
  • Over-the-counter pain meds like aspirin or ibuprofen

Sometimes, surgery may be required to treat sciatica when more conservative options fail. They can include:

  • Diskectomy – The removal of discs or bone spurs pinching the sciatic nerve.
  • Laminectomy – The removal of spinal tissue that may be compressing the sciatic nerve.
  • Foraminotomy – Enlarging the opening where the sciatic nerve exits the spinal column to relieve pressure.
  • Facetectomy – Trimming or removing facet joints that are pinching the sciatic nerve.
  • Radiofrequency Neurotomy – Destroying the nerve endings with heat, stopping the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain.

Tips to Help Prevent Sciatica

There is no magic formula or miracle cure that guarantees you won’t get sciatica. But there are several strategies that can help you keep it at arm’s length.

  • Regular Exercise – Focus particularly on strengthening your core.
  • Lift with your legs – Keep your back straight and hold whatever you’re lifting close to your body.
  • Maintain good sitting posture – Sit up straight while keeping your knees and hips level.
  • Don’t sit for too long – Get up and move around throughout the day.
  • Avoid or quit smoking – Smoking can accelerate disc degeneration.

Sciatica is a persistent nuisance, but don’t let it get the better of you. Know the facts, make the right moves, and leave sciatica in the dust!

Get Sciatica Relief at Twin Cities Pain Clinic

If you are experiencing any of the sciatica symptoms mentioned above, schedule an appointment with the experts at Twin Cities Pain Clinic today.

Schedule Online

Call: 952-800-3840

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Dr. Anne Kokayeff is DRG Certified!

Twin-Cities-Pain-Clinic-Doctor-Anne-Kokayeff-MDTwin Cities Pain Clinic is proud to announce that Dr. Anne Kokayeff is now certified to perform Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) stimulator implant surgeries.

To illustrate why this is a huge deal, here’s a quick crash course:

The DRG is a bundle of nerves located in between the vertebrae that extend outward from the spinal column. They are essentially the branches of the spinal tree. Whereas the spinal cord itself transmits signals to the back, neck and head, the DRG transmits signals to more distant appendages, including the feet, elbows, knees and abdomen.

DRG stimulation involves laying tiny leads next to the DRG, with the other end of the leads connected to a small, implantable battery. The battery produces a mild electrical pulse, which is delivered by the leads to the DRG. The electrical pulses “stimulate” the DRG and block pain signals to the brain.

DRG stimulator implant surgeries are complex, precise procedures, and as such, the list of certified physicians is very short. Now that Dr. Kokayeff has achieved her certification, all four Twin Cities Pain Clinic physicians are members of this elite group.

Congratulations Dr. K! We could not be prouder of your amazing accomplishment.

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