Expert Blog


The 2017 Industrial Fee Schedule

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Interventions for Scoliosis

Scoliosis refers to the lateral curve of a spine – instead of being straight; the spine has an 'S' or 'C' shape. It is also associated with rotation, which may result in the ribs being more prominent on one side, causing one shoulder to sit higher than the other, or a hunched appearance. There are several different causes of scoliosis. It can develop in utero when only one side of the vertebrae develops, or two are fused. Osteoporosis, tumors, infection, and other conditions can weaken bony structure, resulting in one-sided vertebral collapse: this looks scoliotic but has a pathological cause. Scoliosis may be associated with arthritic change, shifting spine position (spondylolisthesis) or swelling, which can threaten the spinal cord. With bladder and bowel function at risk, surgery for spinal decompression may become urgent.

Young children with a scoliosis will often be fitted with braces in the hope that their condition does not worsen as they grow. However, despite hands-on therapies, pain medication, and exercise, severe scoliosis may eventually require surgical correction.

Surgical techniques for scoliosis have become less invasive in the last 50 years. Roughly 27,000 of these surgeries are performed each year, but no two of these will be exactly alike. Depending on the shape and location of the curves, the surgeon may go in from the front of the spine or push the back muscles aside, in order to work, on the posterior parts of the spine. Dennis Crandall, MD, the founder and Medical Director of Sonoran Spine, pioneered a surgical hardware system and technique for treating scoliosis, known as the Crandall Method, and referenced by orthopaedic surgery's highly respected manual: Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics.

Just because a spine isn't straight, doesn't mean it isn't working. Sometimes mild scoliosis develops over time that does not require surgery. As long as function is restored, pain may resolve. Equally, a spine that is not completely straight after surgery will still function markedly better, with less pain.


Posted in Expert Blog


Reducing the Cost of Spine Care: Key Thoughts From 4 Spine Surgeons Featured

Dr. Jason Datta is featured in this article from Becker's Spine Review

Treating back pain and other spinal conditions can cost more than $200 billion annually in the United States, with $90 billion in direct costs. There are several factors contributing to the ever-increasing cost of care, including hospital costs, device costs, pharmaceuticals and post-surgical care.

Read full article from Becker's Spine Review:
Reducing the cost of spine care: Key thoughts from 4 spine surgeons Featured


Posted in Expert Blog, Jason Datta MD


The Importance of Spinal Health

Spine health is one of those things that people don't notice until it's gone. We are our bodies, the core of that body is the skeleton, and the core of the skeleton is the spine. The spine has several functions and spinal problems, even subtle ones, such as the loss of the normal spinal curves, can affect any or all of these functions and the other parts of the body that depend upon them.

Support – our spine holds us up and transfers the weight of the torso to the pelvis, hips and legs. Muscles attach to it; internal organs hang from it, and the rib cage – with ribs articulating on the spine as well.

Stability – because the spine is a highly articulated structure made strong by immensely strong postural muscles, it can give stability while the limbs are active – a fixed structure may be strong in one position, but an articulated one can adapt to allow for throwing a ball or standing on one leg. Stability is also dependent on coordination and control – stretch sensors around the joints add to information from the eye and the ear, allowing our bodies to work as a coordinated whole, whatever the action of the limbs or head.

Movement – locomotion would not be possible without good spine function. Any pain or stiffness that detracts from our ability to move around will trigger anxiety on a primal level.

Shock absorption – the natural curve of the spine in adults, as well as the intervertebral discs create a spring system which allow us to walk and run without immediately damaging ourselves. As we age and lose the elasticity of the discs and if we lose our natural spinal curves through poor posture or too much sitting, or suffer degenerative disc disease we are likely to find ourselves in need of spine care.

Neurological integrity – the spinal column has a hollow arch of bone, which, with all the vertebrae stacked one on top of the other, provides a flexible but protected channel for the spinal cord and nerve roots. All the neurological signals traveling from brain to body (except the cranial nerves) are passing along this bony canal. We know that we need nerves to power our muscles – but nerves going to and from the spine also play a crucial role in the body's ability to perceive the environment and react appropriately, that includes the internal environment: how blood flows around the body, how the body senses and regulates gut activity, breathing, bladder and bowel.

Think of it this way: all the vital organs are there to provide for the musculoskeletal system. When we have pain or spasm, it's incredibly exhausting because dysfunction is less efficient and therefore makes higher demands on the body. At our clinic, we understand how something often dismissed as 'only back pain' can have a massive impact on quality of life. At Sonoran Spine, we provide expertise and excellence in conservative treatment of musculoskeletal problems specifically addressing pain issues and restoring functionality.

Posted in Expert Blog

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