Expert Blog


Why You Should Avoid Cracking Your Neck

April 10, 2017

You might think there's nothing as satisfying as cracking a stiff joint. The relief isn't long lasting, but for that one instant, the release of the air pocket building up in the joint can feel satisfying. However, there are some joints and areas of the body you should never crack on your own, including the neck. Before you crack yours (or anyone else's), consider these points.

Cracking can Cause Damage

When cracking your neck, you run the risk of damaging your brain stem or spine. When twisting the spine where it connects to the skull, it increases the chances of you tearing vertebral arteries running along this area. These arteries run to the brain and, if enough damage occurs, it can potentially lead to a stroke. Though the risk is small, it is significant enough for you to think twice before cracking your neck.

Cracking Leads to More Cracking

Most people who crack their joints form a habit. We all know someone who cracks their knuckles multiple times throughout the day. If you practice cracking your neck and experience the instant gratification of a pop, you'll become inclined to do it more often, which in turn increases the chance of damage to your spine, arteries and muscles. In the long run, cracking can end up proving more detrimental than good for you.

While cracking your neck may feel great in the moment, the potential consequences are not worth the risk. If your neck is sore and stiff, talk to a specialist for a long-term solution. At Sonoran Spine, we can identify the cause of your neck pain, relieve it and prevent it from returning. 

Posted in Expert Blog


5 of The Worst Injuries to Pro Athletes

March 24, 2017

Professional athletes train hard to stay in peak physical condition because it helps prevent injuries. Unfortunately, they can still happen no matter how much you train. The following are five of the worst injuries that professional athletes can experience:

  1. Vertebrae Fracture - Vertebrae fractures occur most often in football due to tackling. It's a potentially career-ending injury that can also cause paralysis depending on the severity.
  2. ACL Tear - The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is responsible for 90% of the leg's stability, which means that tearing it basically leaves you immobile. The injury occurs more often in football players as a result of quick changes in direction while on the run. It generally takes eight to 12 months to recover.
  3. UCL Tear - The UCL (Ulnar Collateral Ligament) is a part of the body more prone to injury for baseball pitchers. At one point, experiencing a UCL tear signified the end of your career. Now, players can receive surgery, but won't return to the field for at least 12 to 18 months.
  4. Severe Concussion - Concussions in general are considered much more serious than they once were. Severe concussions can cause a loss of vision, memory problems, motor function problems plus long-term effects, such as CTE. Severe concussions have been known to force players into early retirement.
  5. Broken Leg - Broken legs happen in almost all sports, from soccer to basketball. Wherever the leg breaks, it usually takes at least a year to recover.

These are five of the worst injuries that pro athletes can experience. Although they can be career-ending, many athletes do return following an intensive recovery period.

Posted in Expert Blog


Join Michael S. Chang, MD, for an Educational Seminar and earn CME credit

March 10, 2017

Are you a healthcare provider interested in the evaluation and treatment of the growing spine? Join Michael S. Chang, MD, a pediatric and adult complex spine surgeon, for an educational seminar and earn CME credit.

Posted in Expert Blog, Michael Chang MD


Spinal Cord Injuries Should Not Be Ignored

February 07, 2017

The spinal cord is one of the most important organs. Without it, there would be no information from the brain to other parts of the body and vice-versa. In fact, the spinal cord and our brain make up the central nervous system. So it stands to reason that you shouldn't ignore a spinal cord injury or myelopathy.

What happens after a spinal cord injury?

A spinal injury can lead to the loss of physical sensation, which can affect mobility. Loss of feeling or sensation and movement below the injury can be complete or incomplete.

Some causes of spinal cord injuries:

Traumatic injury to back, face, neck, head or chest

Forceful twisting of the middle part of the body


Spinal cord diseases such as polio

Symptoms of Spinal Injuries or Complications

Tingling feelings


Loss of consciousness or shock

Unusual placement or positioning of the head

Spine Injury Emergencies

Never move anyone you suspect of suffering a spinal injury. Keep the person still and calm until help arrives. You should leave the person’s head and neck in the position where you found them, because unnecessary movement may cause more complications and may dislocate a vertebrae.

Posted in Expert Blog


The 2017 Industrial Fee Schedule

January 24, 2017

The state of Arizona's Industrial Fee Schedule is released around midyear with the schedule covering October through the end of September the following year. The current fee schedules are available through September 2017.

Code Breakdowns

All medical services are given individual codes. This makes it easier for those in the billing department to type in short codes for longer procedures. Most branches within the medical community have individual codes and guidelines. Sections that fall under the physician's fee schedule include:

  • Pharmaceutical
  • Anesthesia
  • Surgery
  • Radiology
  • Pathology and Laboratory
  • Medicine
  • Physical medicine
  • Special services
  • Evaluation and Management
  • Category III

Interested in Individual Codes?

When patients receive bills, they are almost always itemized. It is very important for patients to look over this information carefully to verify they received the services and are not being charged incorrectly. If your bill is difficult to understand, you can look up individual codes from a billing sheet in order to see where it appears in the billing schedule.

When working within the medical industry or making payments on current medical expenses, it is important to understand the industrial fee schedule. The schedule is based on the fiscal year and not the standard January through December calendar. This is why the effective fee dates run October through September. Additional dates for October, 2017 through September, 2018, will be released in the upcoming months.

Posted in Expert Blog


Are you living with back pain?

January 13, 2017

Join Michael Chang, MD for a free seminar to get the facts and understand your options.

Tuesday, January 24th
5:30 – 7:00 pm
Scottsdale Shea Medical Center
9003 E. Shea Blvd., Brady Conference Center, Scottadale

Posted in Expert Blog, Michael Chang MD


The Graston Technique

January 04, 2017

The Graston Technique is an effective chiropractic treatment method designed to relieve pain and increase range of motion. The treatment is especially helpful in releasing scar tissue, which can make tissues within your body adhere to one another, often painfully. For patients who prefer alternatives to side-effect laden prescription medication, chiropractic care using the Graston Technique is an excellent option.

What Occurs During Graston Technique Sessions?

The Graston Technique is a form of manual chiropractic therapy known as instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization (IASTM). The method can be compared to massage, using specialized stainless steel instruments to better reach and target soft tissue problems. You may be asked to warm up before treatment and stretch afterward.

After a careful examination, discussion of your medical history, and x-rays or imaging as needed, your chiropractor may recommend the Graston Technique. As part of a holistic treatment plan, created around your specific health needs and goals, Graston works with other natural chiropractic methods to achieve overall wellness.

Graston Technique: Treatment Goals

The goals of Graston therapy include:

  • Decrease pain and reduce/eliminate need for medication.
  • Break down scar tissue, easing movement restrictions that come with soft tissue injury (strained muscles or pulled tendons near the lower back, spine or other areas).
  • Stretch connective tissues and reposition soft tissue structure to restore proper function.
  • Speed the body’s natural healing process to repair injury.

If adhesions from past sports injuries, surgeries or workplace stress or mishaps are affecting your quality of life, Graston typically offers quick improvement in your symptoms and gradual progress toward a pain-free lifestyle. Our expert chiropractors and pain management providers have years of experience in the Graston Technique. At all our eight locations, we're dedicated to helping you achieve natural, holistic health and wellness. Contact Sonoran Spine at 480-962-0071 today.

Posted in Expert Blog


Types of Spine Injuries

December 27, 2016

Spinal cord injuries are divided into two types: incomplete and complete. An incomplete spinal cord injury is one in which the injured party still has functioning body parts located below the affected body part. A complete spinal cord injury is one in which the injured cannot move anything below the body part that was affected.

Incomplete Spine Injury

Incomplete spinal cord injuries are more common than complete injuries. Over 60% of all injuries to the spinal cord are incomplete. This is because medical professionals know the proper ways to respond to this type of injury in order to avoid complicating it. There are three common types of incomplete spinal injuries:

  • Anterior Cord Syndrome
  • Central Cord Syndrome
  • Brown-Sequard Syndrome

An anterior injury is found at the spinal cord's front. In this type of injury the sensory pathways and motor are damaged. A central injury is found at the cord's center and involves nerve damage. A Brown-Sequard injury occurs when one side of the spinal cord has been injured.

Complete Spine Injury

Complete spinal cord injuries are less common but more severe. There are three types of complete spinal cord injuries:

  • Tetraplegia
  • Paraplegia
  • Triplegia

The most severe type of complete spinal cord injury is Tetraplegia. This causes paralysis and can affect every limb. Its location on the cervical spine dictates exactly how severe this injury is. Paraplegia involves the injured losing complete movement and sensation of body parts. Triplegia typically results from complications arising in a spinal cord injury classified as incomplete.

Posted in Expert Blog


You Have The Right To Choose Your Doctor For Workmans Compensation

December 04, 2016

In the event of worker's compensation, insurance companies and employers may not provide all available information regarding your potential avenues of treatment. You should know that in the state of Arizona, an individual who has been injured while on the job has the right to choose his or her own doctor. Here are your rights as an injured employee in Arizona:

Interaction With The Company's Medical Staff

In the event of an accident at work, most companies will try to force its own medical services on you as the injured party. However, state law indicates you only need to submit to one examination performed by the company's doctor. After this, you are free to go with your personal doctor or another doctor altogether. While you do need to comply with the initial examination, you don't need to return for a second exam or check-up, no matter what your company says.

A Doctor On Your Side

One reason it's important to use your own doctor is they will typically be on your side. As an unbiased party, they will at the very least provide you with the most accurate information. A doctor employed by a large company is more likely to provide less than beneficial reports for you simply because the company usually offers incentives to reduce worker's compensation and medical benefits on your behalf.

If your place of work is denying you the right to choose your physician, it may be time to seek out legal representation.

Posted in Expert Blog


Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) Stimulation

September 09, 2016

A new minimally invasive treatment option is available for those who suffer from chronic pain due to complex regional pain syndrome in their groin, hip, knee or foot. This unique FDA approved approach to pain is dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation. Neurostimulation stimulates the DRG – a cluster of nerve cells in the spine – that directly targets the area of the body where the pain occurs. DRG modifies the pain signals being sent to the brain which results in a reduction of pain. Similar to a spinal cord stimulator, the DRG neurostimulator also has a temporary device for a trial period to determine its effectiveness.

Farhad Mosallaie, DO is one of a select few interventional pain management providers in Arizona to be trained on this new procedure. Watch the video below to learn more. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Mosallaie to see if you are a candidate for this procedure. Get back to living your life – you deserve it!

Posted in Expert Blog, Farhad Mosallaie, DO


Sonoran Spine Expands to Phoenix October 2016

August 29, 2016

Sonoran Spine is expanding to Phoenix to offer a convenient clinic location for the southwest valley. In October 2016, Robert Waldrop, MD and Bridget Barron, PA-C will begin seeing patients at:

9305 W. Thomas Rd., Suite 555
Phoenix, AZ 85037

We will be sharing space Arizona Spine Care. To schedule an appointment call 480-962-0071 or request an appointment.

Click here for a map and directions to our new office.

Posted in Expert Blog


Mountain View grad overcomes scoliosis, wins scholarship

July 11, 2016

The Groves Report ran an article on one of the Sonoran Spine Research and Education Foundation scholarship recipients in the July issues. Read more about Taylor Hall overcoming scoliosis and find out why she was selected to receive financial support to attend University of Arizona this fall.

Read Article (PDF)

Posted in Expert Blog


Sonoran Spine Congratulates Daniela Pal, PA-C

June 29, 2016

Congratulations Daniela Pal, PA-C on completing her Fracture Liaison Service Certificate through the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Daniela is our osteoporosis expert at The Bone Health Center at Sonoran Spine. To learn more or schedule an appointment with her visit:


Posted in Expert Blog


Arizona Students Receive Scholarships from Sonoran Spine Research and Education Foundation

June 22, 2016

Taylor Hall
Mirela Ananieva

In honor of National Scoliosis Awareness Month in June, the physicians at Sonoran Spine and the Sonoran Spine Research and Education Foundation are honoring two young ladies with college scholarships.

Mirela Ananieva from Phoenix and Taylor Hall of Mesa received this year’s SSREF scholarships. Both recipients have dealt with spine problems since they were young. Diagnosed prior to middle school, Ananieva has learned to deal with her spinal curvature challenges through an active lifestyle. Mirela has successfully overcome her obstacles from scoliosis. She is an accomplished competitive figure skater and attends Arizona State University Barrett Honors College pursing her undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition. Her dream is to become a surgeon and use her skills to make a difference in people’s lives.

Hall underwent a spinal fusion in 2015 under the direction of Sonoran’s Michael Chang, MD to correct idiopathic scoliosis. Six months post-surgery and two inches taller, Taylor feels stronger than she has ever been. Her outlook on the future is positive. She is eager to begin her freshman year of college at University of Arizona and major in creative writing. She states, “my imagination never left as I grew older and I now have the opportunity to make what has only been in my mind and in my writing, a reality.” In addition to writing, Taylor has dreamed about becoming a pilot, another dream she is going to make a reality.

The 2016-17 scholarship recipients were chosen based on several different criteria including; the way their lives had been impacted by a spinal deformity, how they were able to live a productive and functional life in spite of their physical challenges, the student’s overall grade point average and their ability to impact the community through volunteer services.

“Our interest in patients with spinal disorders and spinal deformity doesn’t end with successful treatment,” said Dr. Dennis Crandall, Sonoran Spine founder. “Our goal is to help assure our patients have full and functional lives. That is why the SSREF established this scholarship fund. We want to assist students who are Arizona residents, have undergone surgery for, or overcome a spinal deformity and who want to go to college at one of our top state universities.”

Posted in Expert Blog


Tips to Keep Your Spine Healthy

March 02, 2016

A healthy spine is essential to a healthy life.. Approximately 80% of the population experiences spinal pain at some point in their lives. People who are overweight or obese, people who smoke and/or lift heavy objects and people who have suffered injuries to their spine are more likely to experience back pain that requires medical attention.

Our spine specialists will help to keep your spine healthy. By following simple routines associated with posture, lifting, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle you can help keep yourself and your back in good shape.

Below are seven suggestions for protecting your spine when undertaking everyday tasks:

  1. Diet and Exercise. Extra weight puts strain on the spine. For every 10 pounds you lose, it relieves 40 pounds of pressure from your spine. It also can slow the degenerative process so you have a healthier spine as you age
  2. Lifting. When lifting something, use your leg muscles, not back or upper body muscles. If the item is heavy, push it rather than pull it or get someone to help you. Also, avoid twisting movements while lifting.
  3. Reaching / Bending. When reaching for an object above shoulder level, stand on a stool. Never bend over at the waist to pick up items from the floor or other surface. Instead, bend at the knee, lifting with your leg muscles or kneel down on one knee and lift with the other foot flat on the floor.
  4. Sitting. Keep your knees slightly higher than your hips and your head straight up and back. Avoid slouching while maintaining the natural curve of your spine.
  5. Standing. When standing, keep one foot slightly in front of the other and bend your knees slightly, taking pressure off your lower back.
  6. Carrying. When carrying heavy objects, keep them close to your body and use your arm and leg muscles rather than your spine and back.
  7. Sleeping. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to help reduce the pressure placed on the back. Never sleep in a position that stresses your spine.

Posted in Expert Blog

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