Expert Blog

07Dec

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

01Dec

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

02Nov

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

29Oct

Sonoran Spine Welcomes Jelena Macanovic, FNP-C

JelenaMacanovicSonoran Spine would like to welcome Jelena Macanovic, FNP-C to our spine team. Jelena will be working with Dennis Crandall, MD and will see patients in Tempe.

Posted in Expert Blog

22Oct

Thank You To Our Medical Assistants

Happy Medical Assistants Recognition Week. We all thank you for your hard work and dedication to patient care and Sonoran Spine!

medicalassistantsweek blogThe medical assistants at Sonoran Spine are the best. They represent each provider and do so with professionalism and pride. Many of our staff have been here a long time and some have completed their RN training while with us and gone on the work as nurses, which makes us very proud. Their experience and compassion make them stand out as tops in their field. Thanks for all you do for Sonoran’s patients!

- Susan Dylo, Practice Administrator


I am honored to work with such an amazing group of medical assistants. The care and compassion I see from the MA’s to our patients is by far above and beyond any office I have been to or will ever be.

When I have the opportunity to walk the halls and hear our patients speak with my team on a first name basis and see the gratefulness in their words for everything they do for them makes every day at work a special day.
Thank you all for all you do! I am truly honored to be a part of this team!

- Laura Rawson, Back Office Manager

Posted in Expert Blog

16Oct

Sonoran Spine Welcomes Bryce Hilmo, PA-C

Sonoran Spine Welcomes Bryce Hilmo, PA-CSonoran Spine would like to welcome Bryce Hilmo, PA-C to our spine team. Bryce will be working with Jason Datta, MD and will see patients in Gilbert and Tempe.

Posted in Expert Blog

15Oct

A message from our PA-C, Amy Baumann

To my Sonoran family,

Today I make a sad farewell from Sonoran Spine. Working here over the past year has been nothing short of an amazing experience and I have learned so much. Each and every one of you made an impact on my time here and I am forever thankful. Coming to work every day was very enjoyable and I really do consider Sonoran my second family.

You will all be dearly missed.

Best wishes,
Amy Baumann, PA-C

Join us in wishing Amy the best of luck with her new adventure. We appreciate your time and dedication to Sonoran Spine and our patients!

Posted in Expert Blog

14Oct

Sonoran Spine – North Scottsdale/Thompson Peak

SonoranSpine NorthScottsdaleAnnouncementWe are proud to announce we are expanding our clinic to North Scottsdale/Thompson Peak on October 13, 2015.

Provider: Lyle Young, MD 
Services: All things Spine including workers’ compensation, personal injury, and auto injury cases

Patients should call our office directly at 480-962-0071 to schedule an appointment or visit our website and complete the request an appointment form and we will contact you shortly to schedule.

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

Posted in Expert Blog

13Oct

A Message from our PA-C, Melissa…

As it is said, there is a time and a season for everything in life and I want to inform you of a new season in my life which is both exciting and challenging. My husband has accepted a new position in Charlotte, NC and we will be relocating this fall. This will be a journey for us as we have both called Phoenix home for more than 10 years, but we are excited for this new adventure for our family.

I have had the opportunity to say goodbye to some of you at your recent appointments, and trust me the smile on my face as we parted ways was paired with tears being blinked away as I left the room. It has been a joy to have worked with you during my time here. We have grown together through my career and I want to thank you for the opportunity to become part of your lives. For me, the hardest part of leaving is not seeing where the future takes you and your families. Fortunately, I can confidently leave your healthcare in the hands of the outstanding providers at Sonoran Spine knowing you will have only the finest of care.

I wish each of you all the best and I will carry with me many memories of our time together!

Melissa Gebhardt-Tsai, PA-C

Melissa will be with Sonoran Spine part-time through the end of October. Join us in thanking her for her hard work and dedication to Sonoran Spine. We wish her all the best!

Posted in Expert Blog

13Oct

Spine Wave wins Spine Tech Award for Lexa PX Interbody device: 5 takeaways

Spine Wave, a Shelton, Conn.-based medical device manufacturer, won RRY/Orthopedics' 2015 Spine Tech Award in the minimally invasive category for its device.

Read full article from Becker's Spine Review:
Spine Wave wins Spine Tech Award for Lexa PX Interbody device: 5 takeaways

 

Posted in Dennis Crandall MD, Expert Blog

05Oct

The Truth About Lower Back Pain

Incidence

Back pain is incredibly common – but since the causes are often cumulative – each case is slightly different and to be effective, treatment plans must be tailored to the individual.

Self-care

Posture plays and important role in spine health but it's not always the case that straighter is better: the spine has natural curves but will also have some sideways variation. It's not the visual but the functional that counts. After all: no one is completely symmetrical and our spines are shaped by our activities (or inactivity) as much as they are by our build.

The vertebrae of the low back are larger than the others and their bodies are solid chunks of bone. This is because they carry the weight of the body above. The more weight they carry, the more stress is placed on the muscles, ligaments and discs around them.

Regular exercise is vital for keeping low back pain (/patient-care/frequently-asked-questions) at bay – the Sunday overdo is more risky for your low back than no exercise at all. However, the best predictor of all for spine health is the isometric strength of the spine muscles themselves. Core stability training can be logical intervention and can make a difference with back health.

While an acute injury may require some rest, complete bed rest is not the answer. The spine thrives on movement – that's how it heals itself. Low back muscles play an important role in supporting the spine – too much time sitting or lying down and they will lose their strength. Patterned movements such as walking are more helpful than bed rest in the short and long-term. If the pain is very bad, then walking in a swimming pool will help, as well as feel safe.

Effective treatment of low back pain

There is a dizzying array of treatments for low back pain. Some are proven as effective while others are touted as "cures" but may not be at all.

Sonoran Spine only advises treatment that has established clinical worth.

The key to effective treatment is accurate diagnosis, which provides a specific range of treatments for low back pain:

  • Physical therapy – stretching, massage and deep tissue work
  • Isometric strength training of the spine muscles themselves
  • Work on back health related to lifestyle – too much sitting and poor lifting techniques
  • Appropriate medication
  • Interventional therapy - specific local injections into inflamed joints
  • Surgery

Posted in Expert Blog

14Sep

Treatment Options for Sciatica

Sciatica is a pain in the bum! And sometimes the back, foot, toes and calf. Sciatica is a symptom, not a diagnosis. It can be awful – the severity of the symptoms differs from patient to patient and depends on the root cause. Finding effective treatment could significantly improve your quality of life.

What 'sciatica' means is a pain along the sciatic nerve. Essentially it is neurological – so the range of sensation can go from tingling, aching, burning, sharp, lancinating (a nice word from old medical text books, which means piercing, cutting or stabbing), or evening 'lightning' shooting down the leg. A reduced blood supply to the nerve sheath is enough to provoke symptoms in some people and sometimes an arthritic 'sharpening' of the edges of the bony column will create a bony tooth, or osteophyte, which literally bites the nerve in certain positions. Disc bulges can also cause nerve root irritation, and when examined, the patient may experience sciatic pain when their doctor raises the affected leg. The nerve can also be compressed if it runs through a muscle in the bottom called piriformis.

The "perfect" sciatica treatment solution for a patient will largely depend on what is causing the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Patients may respond to particular exercises for sciatica or stretches that work on freedom of movement around the nerve sheath. A physician skilled in interventional pain management therapy will have a great deal to offer some cases, while an anti-inflammatory medication will work like a charm for others. There can be dramatic relief following surgery, when whatever was pressing on the nerve, is removed.

The key factor in determining the effective resolution of sciatic pain and pain management overall is a correct diagnosis, and for that, a team of highly skilled professionals, like those at Sonoran Spine, is required: imaging technicians as well as spine surgeons, interventional pain management, and physical therapists are all involved.

Diseases of the bowel or uterus may also mimic some sciatic symptoms, so diagnostic testing is essential. Once various avenues have been considered, surgery may be the best solution – the problem should be viewed from every angle.

Posted in Expert Blog

31Aug

Dr. Mosallaie Interviewed in Phoenix Magazine

Farhad Mosallaie, DO was interviewed for a special Pain Management piece in the September issue of Phoenix Magazine.

For many, chronic and acute pain threatens well-being and interferes with daily living. recent advances in pain management have given millions of people hope for the future. From physical therapy to spinal surgery, valley medical practitioners offer diverse ways to tackle pain.

Pain defes defnition, yet it affects the lives of an estimated 100 million Americans, according to a recent study conducted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. While hard to defne and describe, pain is associated with a wide variety of injuries, diseases and chronic conditions, including headaches, lower back pain, cancer, arthritis and various neurological disorders.

Posted in Expert Blog

20Aug

Congratulations Lyle Young, MD

lyleyoung-abos

Congratulations Lyle Young, MD for successfully passing the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery exam this past July!

Click here (https://www.abos.org/certification/what-is-board-certification.aspx) to find out what it means to be board certified.

 

 

Posted in Expert Blog, Lyle Young, MD

30Jul

Fun Research at Sonoran Spine

Dennis Crandall, MD tests the strength of the LEVA Interbody Device made by Spine Wave by running over it with his truck. Did it pass the test?

Posted in Dennis Crandall MD, Expert Blog

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