Expert Blog


Suffering Chronic Lower Back Pain? Radiofrequency Ablation Could Help

If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, you may have sought various remedies for many years. But many of those treatments fail to solve the painful issues of some patients. The good news is that modern technology is constantly updating, and today you have new options using the latest techniques. 

Posted in Expert Blog


Fun fact of the day…

Fun fact of the day…
Did you know Dr. Dennis Crandall performed a successful lumbar microdisectomy on former Phoenix Suns player P.J. Tucker?

"Phoenix Suns' Tucker out 6-8 weeks for back surgery"

"Suns' P.J. Tucker out 6-8 weeks following back surgery"

Posted in Dennis Crandall MD, Expert Blog


Workers' Compensation Insurance: What You Need to Know

See if this sounds familiar: Through no fault of your own, you somehow “tweaked” your back while on the job. It’s difficult to move around, let alone come back to work.

Now What?

No matter how many years you’ve been on the job, or how careful you are, sometimes injuries are unavoidable and inevitable. That’s why workmen’s compensation laws are in place to protect employees against loss of income should they become injured on the job. AZ workmen’s compensation can cover the following:

  • Injuries
  • Accidents
  • Illness


In other words, this coverage is designed to help you financially and medically should you end up out of work through no fault of your own. Something to keep in mind is that workers compensation is not mandatory in all states, but most employers will choose to use it as it can save them significant trouble later on. Protecting your employees, after all, should be one of the utmost priorities. And when it comes to back and spine injuries, your chiropractic health is of particular priority, since working on a balky back is likely out of the question.

How Much is Covered?

Keep in mind, these benefits are only provided if the injury or accident occurred on the job. You’ll need proof or documentation of how and where the injury occurred.

Of course, this isn’t like hitting the lottery. Wage-loss benefits normally cover only about half to two-thirds of the average weekly wage. In some cases, this may not be enough to live on, so plan your finances accordingly.

Coverage and Fault

Only full employees will be covered by the workmen’s comp benefits, and that will automatically exclude 1099 independent contractors. In addition to that, fault is something that is not taken into account with workmen’s compensation. In other words, it does not matter who was at fault for the incident, all that matters is that the incident occurred.

Forfeiture of Rights

Feeling like suing the company now? Think again. Once you are approved for and begin receiving workmen’s compensation, you automatically give up the right to sue your employer for the incident that occurred. However, you still retain the right to sue third parties, such as the manufacturer of any equipment that was involved in your injury.


While you are on workmen’s compensation, it would be in your best interest to seek out pain management specialists, and of course work toward getting back on the job. Sonoran Spine in AZ knows how to address many pain related issues surrounding the spine and can get you back on track to work.

Posted in Expert Blog


Dr. Crandall Interviewed by Becker’s Spine Review

Dr. Crandall was interviewed by Becker’s Spine Review in the recent article - "7 areas of exciting spine technology development and acquisition in value-based care."

He discusses his thoughts on seven key areas of spinal innovation development and where he sees the best opportunities for future technology advancement in the value-based care environment.

Read Full Article

Posted in Dennis Crandall MD, Expert Blog


Research by Dr. Crandall Published

Congratulations Dr. Crandall on having his research published in Spine Deformity – The Official Journal of the Scoliosis Research Society.

Posted in Dennis Crandall MD, Expert Blog


Why Radiofrequency Ablation Is Great for Neck Pain

Individuals struggling with pain, especially chronic pain, often feel there is no solution. However, new technologies and tools are becoming more available to help with even the most debilitating conditions. By visiting pain management specialists in AZ, you can gain insight into treatments that may help you. Local practices offer spinal surgery treatment with options such as radiofrequency ablation.

What Is Radiofrequency Ablation?

This type of treatment focuses on using radio waves to create just a small amount of very localized heat. This is used to kill or damage the tissue in a specific area. This can be applied to the specific nerves causing the pain you are feeling. This type of treatment can offer the pain relief you need if other types of treatments have not helped. This is often an ideal choice for those seeking spinal surgery treatment in AZ, but want the least invasive option available.

Why Choose Radiofrequency Ablation?

There are a variety of treatment options available today, but radiofrequency ablation works well for hard to treat pain, including neck pain. Because surgeons can control the very specific area of treatment, it can create very targeted results. Many people who cannot find relief through other procedures or those who wish to avoid the complications from a more aggressive spinal surgery will find radiofrequency ablation is an ideal choice. It is one of the most advanced solutions for treating complex cases of pain in the neck and the surrounding areas. It offers a fast recovery time and limited downtime overall.

When it comes to finding the pain management specialists in AZ you need, call Sonoran Spine. Our team is happy to offer you the most advanced solutions for pain management and relief. Call us for an appointment today.

Posted in Expert Blog


Congratulations Robert A. Waldrop, MD

We are pleased to announce Robert A. Waldrop, MD has successfully passed the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery exam. Congratulations on your board certification, Dr. Waldrop!

Posted in Expert Blog


5 Things You May Not Have Known About Spinal Surgery Recovery

Facing spinal surgery? Here are five facts you may not have known about recovery, so you can plan yours properly.

Sleep Will Be Difficult

Because you need to allow your spine to heal properly for the weeks following your spinal surgery, consider investing in the kind of accessories you will need to sleep comfortably without disturbing your spinal alignment. This may involve additional pillows, inserts for your bed, or other items that help you remain still during sleep. While it may be uncomfortable or inconvenient, it will prevent a lifetime of damage that could be caused by improper healing.

NSAID Drugs May Be Off Limits

Depending on the type of spinal surgery you have, NSAID drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin may be something you need to avoid during your recovery. While reaching for over-the-counter pain relief may make sense, NSAID drugs inhibit the ability of the spine to form the tissue needed to complete a fusion or to heal properly from certain procedures. Your spine surgeon will have to prescribe other medications for pain management.

Ice and Heat Can Help

Since you can’t rely on some types of pain medication to help you cope with discomfort during your recovery, you’ll undoubtedly be wondering what other options you have. Ice packs and heating pads can help, but be sure to ask your surgeon or primary care provider to see which is best for you.

Rehab Isn’t Optional

When you’re recovering from your spinal surgery, you may not feel like doing much of anything – including participating in rehab exercises. However, these exercises exist to help your body recover and relearn the basics of movement that will be necessary to rebuild your strength and coordination. Don’t skip rehab if you want to recover fully.

You’ll Need to Ask for Help Sometimes

After any surgery, you will likely need to ask for help from family or friends in managing your everyday tasks while you recover. This is especially true after spinal surgery. Reach out for the help you need to prevent injury or loss of control of tasks like housework and paying bills.

Likewise, talk to the staff at your AZ spinal surgery treatment center about upping your pain relief medication, changing up your rehab schedule, or whatever else you may feel that you need. The experts at Sonoran Spine can help you navigate your recovery process and get back on your feet quicker than you ever imagined.

Posted in Expert Blog


Is Your Computer Causing Back Problems?

Back pain is the most common work-related disability, and experts reveal that office computers have much to do with this. Here’s how your computer usage correlated to back problems and what you can do to prevent it.

Causes of Back Pain

Computer-related back pain is normally caused by three problems: uncomfortable chairs, poor posture, and inactivity.

Uncomfortable Chairs

Office chairs that don’t support your body properly and have poor body alignment can create pressure on various areas of your spine. They can contribute to pain in your back, neck, shoulders, and even arms.

Poor Posture

Your spines neutral position is upright, shoulder back, and a slight curvature at the spine. Leaning too far forward, bending your head too low, or dangling your feet to high can all case spine issues.


Sitting in any position for more than twenty minutes contributes to back pain by reducing the flexibility of your tendons and ligaments. It's estimated that 40 percent of people with back pain have spent long hours at their computer each day.

Prevention Methods

To avoid computer-related back issues, you should:
  • Use an adjustable computer desk
  • Have the computer monitor at eye level
  • Have your keyboard at a height that allows your elbows to rest at your sides. Forearms should be level with the keyboard and parallel with the floor
  • Adjust your chair so your feet are flat against the floor
  • Use an ergonomic chair designed to hold your spine’s natural curve
  • Use an ergonomic keyboard that supports a natural hand-wrist position
  • Take short breaks
  • Do stretching exercises at your desk
  • Stand as much as possible

Seek Help

If you’re suffering from back pain, seek the help of spine specialist immediately. At Sonoran Spine, our expert team will provide you with conservative and effective methods to relieve your pain. Request an appointment today.

Posted in Expert Blog


Scoliosis and Sports: Staying Active

A scoliosis diagnosis doesn’t mean kissing sports goodbye. In fact, it’s recommended that individuals with scoliosis stay active. Here’s how.

Benefits of Sports

Sports and specific exercise have proven to stop scoliosis progression and reduce curvature by retraining the brain to correct the spine’s posture.


  • Strengthen core muscles that support the spine
  • Keep the body nimble
  • Prevent stiffness
  • Support overall health
  • Boost self-esteem

Sports that Help

Sports that require using both sides of the body, are low impact, and utilize burst training, are extremely beneficial for those with scoliosis.


Swimming is recommended because it uses the body’s muscles in a balanced and symmetrical fashion.


Soccer strengthens the core muscles of the thoracic spine, which is why it’s helpful for individuals with curvature in the mid-back.

Cross-Country Skiing

Skiing minimizes shock o the vertebra and works both sides of the body, which supports a strong and balanced spine.

Strength Training

Individuals with spinal problems shouldn’t avoid strength training. Stronger muscles help the spine. It’s important, however, to increase weight very slowly during strength training to avoid adding stress to the spine.


Regular stretching relieves tension, restores range of motion, and counteracts the spine’s curvature. Individuals need to be sure they don’t hyperextend or severely rotate the spine, though.

What to Avoid

Compressing the Spine

  • High-impact activities
  • Squatting
  • Lifting weight over the head
  • Hard landings
    • Cheerleading
    • Gymnastics
  • Long-distance running
    • More than 400 meters
  • Hyperextend the Mid-Back

  • Repeatedly extending the thoracic spine
  • Back bends
    • Ballet
    • Gymnastics
    • Yoga
  • Unevenly Work the Spine

  • Sports that work one side of the body more than the other
  • Figure skating
    • Tennis
    • Skiing
    • Javelin throwing
  • Your spine is important, and you need expert doctors who understand both conservative and surgical treatments. If you need spine care, contact Sonoran Spine.

Posted in Expert Blog


Diagnosing Spine Problems

There are three main problems that can occur within your spine: cervical spine issues, thoracic spine issues, and lumbar spine issues. Here are the differences between these problems and how you can diagnose them.

Cervical Spine

What is it?

The cervical spine is in your neck region and houses the spinal cord that sends messages from the brain to control all aspects of the body. It consists of seven bones which are separated by one another by intervertebral disks. These disks act as shock absorbers.

Common Problems

Overtime, intervertebral disks become worn and can begin to degenerate. This process is known as cervical degenerative disk disease, and research finds that approximately 25% of people under 40 and 60% of people over 40 have some degree of degenerative disk disease.


Neck pain and a stick neck are symptoms of cervical degenerative disk disease.

Thoracic Spine

What is it?

The thoracic spine runs from the base of the neck down to the abdomen. It protects the spinal cord and anchors the rib cage. The thoracic spine consists of twelve vertebrae.

Common Problems

Two major issues that tend to happen in the thoracic spine are muscular problems and joint dysfunction. Muscular problems are usually felt in the upper back and shoulder muscles. Joint dysfunction can happen when cartilage tears and degeneration develops in the fact joints.


There are lots of symptoms of thoracic spine issues including: stiffness, limited range of motion, muscle spasms, nerve pain, muscle weakness, and stooped posture.

Lumbar Spine

What is it?

The lumbar spine is in the lower back, where the spine curves inwards toward the abdomen. It’s built for power and flexibility—lifting, twisting, and bending. The lumbar spine has two vertebrae and provides protection from jarring movements.

Common Problems

Lower back pain is normally caused by the following: muscular problems, degenerated disks, and lumbar disk herniation. Out of these issues, lumbar disk herniation is the most common problem. A herniated disk happens due to injury or heavy lifting.


Interestingly, leg pain (sciatica) is the most common symptom of a herniated disk.

If you believe you are suffering from one of these problems, it’s important to have a spine doctor diagnose you. Contact Sonoran Spine today to speak to our experts. about spine issues and management methods.

Posted in Expert Blog


Exercises for Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. Lower back pain, specifically, affects 31 million Americans. Many who suffer from back pain need to seek methods from a trained specialist. Some can manage this pain with exercise. Here’s how.

Upper Back Pain

These exercises work best for upper back and pain right behind your shoulders.

Rear Deltoid Pulls

This exercise involves a cable tower and rope handle. Making sure the rope handle sits high above you, use both hands to pull it towards you, past your shoulders, until your fists are at your face.

Lateral Raises

This simple exercise only involves two dumbbells. Using your preferred weight, raise your arms away from your body until they’re aligned with your shoulders, like giant wings. Repeat.

Back Pain

These exercises work best for mid back pain.

Row Machines

  • A seated row allows you to straddle the machine and press your chest against a padded cushion. Keeping your back as straight as possible, pull the handles on the machine towards you.
  • A cable row is a similar concept, but without the pad, meaning your body is completely dependent on you sitting as straight as possible. Use both hands to pull one handle from the cables.

Dumbbell Rows

Another option is a dumbbell row. Place your right knee and right hand on a bench in front of you. Then, use your left hand to lift a dumbbell towards your body. As usual, your back must stay at straight as possible. Switch hands and knees, and repeat.

Lower Back Pain

This exercise works best for lower back pain.

Lower Back Extension

With a lower back extension machine, you’ll be sitting upright with your feet placed on cushion under you. Lean back against the machine as far as possible and repeat.

If you’ve been suffering from unrelenting back pain, it’s time to see a spine specialist. Our expert team can diagnose your issue and use conservative methods to find you relief.

Posted in Expert Blog


3 Tips for Choosing a Physical Therapy Plan

Many entering the world of pain management feel overwhelmed by their options. After all, no two methods are alike. Here are the factors you need to keep in mind when choosing your physical therapy plan.

Referrals and Experience

Even if you aren’t required to receive a referral from your primary care doctor, ask your doctor to recommend a physical therapist or facility for your specific issue. Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for recommendations as well. The internet is also a great place to find reviews.

As you begin to visit different offices, be sure to ask many questions about the physical therapist’s experience with your condition. It’s important to verify that your physical therapist is licensed and has advanced certifications or credentialing.

What Does it Include?

One very important question to ask is what your insurance will be able to cover. Check your health plan to determine details of your coverage, and find out how much out-of-pocket expenses you’ll have to pay. See if your physical therapist’s office accepts your plan.

Investigating what your insurance covers will help you decide exactly what you need and/or have access to. There are several types of rehabilitation methods, from cardiovascular training to taping. Ask what the facility offers and if certain locations offer different programs that may meet your needs better.

Convenience and Comfort

Don’t let a long drive keep you from working on your health. Choose a facility that’s close by or has several locations, especially if you experience discomfort driving. If you choose an office that’s far away, you’ll soon be missing appointments.

Lastly, make sure you’re comfortable with your therapist. You should look forward to your appointments, not dread them.

Are you suffering from chronic back pain? Find your solution at Sonoran Spine, offering services from physical therapy to surgery. Contact us to request an appointment today.

Posted in Expert Blog


Conservative Treatment for Musculoskeletal Pain

One in two Americans have a musculoskeletal condition. These conditions vary from arthritis, back and neck pain, and osteoporosis. If you’re suffering from musculoskeletal pain, you can find pain relief beyond pain killers and operations. Here’s what you need to know.

What is Musculoskeletal Pain?

Musculoskeletal pain affects the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones.


Musculoskeletal pain can be caused from:
  • Wear and tear of daily activities
  • Jerking movements
  • Auto accidents
  • Falls
  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Direct blows
  • Postural strain
  • Repetitive movements
  • Overuse
  • Prolonged immobilization
  • Poor body mechanics


The symptoms of musculoskeletal pain vary from person to person. They include:
  • Entire body aches
  • The feeling of pulled or overworked muscles
  • Twitching
  • Burning
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances

Conservative Treatments

Medication is often used to treat inflammation or pain. More and more people are rightfully seeking drug-free treatments. Nearly 500,000 people are admitted to emergency rooms every year due to overdose, and lowering dosage can often cause withdrawal symptoms, even when addiction isn’t present. Non-medicated pain solutions include:
  • Bracing
  • Dorsal Root Ganglion Therapy
  • Electromyography and/or Nerve Conduction Studies
  • Epidural Injections
  • Facet Joint Injections
  • Joint/Tendon Injections
  • Medical Branch Blocks
  • Physical Therapy/Home Exercises
  • Radiofrequency Ablation
  • Sacral Iliac Injections
  • Spinal Cord Stimulator

Facts About Surgery

Experts say that tens of thousands of times each year, patients undergo surgery that is not necessary. In fact, studies find 10-20% of all operations are unnecessary. These operations include cesarean sections, hysterectomies, knee replacements, and yes, spinal surgeries. It’s important for spine professionals to seek options for their patients outside of surgery. Its equally as important for those suffering from musculoskeletal pain to find doctors that practice both surgical and conservative methods.

What to Do

The experts at Sonoran Spine are dedicated to creating individual plans for our patients, seeking out every option possible, and approaching surgery conservatively. To find a solution for your pain, request an appointment today.

Posted in Expert Blog


Child Scoliosis

Discovering your child’s been diagnosed with scoliosis can be terrifying. A million thoughts run through a parents’ head. It’s important to take a breath and find some answers.

Does My Child Need Surgery?

Your child may likely not need surgery if their spinal curve is less than 26 degrees or if they are almost fully grown.

Instead, it’s recommended that the curve is simply monitored to ensure it does not worsen. This may involve checks ups every four months and x-rays.

What is Bracing?

A brace will not straighten your child’s spine, but it will prevent it from getting worse. Bracing is recommended when the spinal curve is between 26-40 degrees and the child is still growing. Braces often decrease the need for future operations.

How Safe is Spinal Fusion Surgery?

If your child’s spinal curve is greater than 45 degrees, surgery may be recommended. This surgery is called spinal fusion. Spinal fusions straighten the spinal curve and then fuse the vertebrae together into one bone.

How it Works

  1. The surgeon makes an incision in your child’s neck, back, side, abdomen, or throat to access the spine.
  2. Bone graft (small pieces of bone) are either taken from a bone bank or the child’s body, usually the pelvis.
  3. Bone graft is inserted in spaces between the vertebrae and fused. Metal rods, attached by hooks, screws, and/or wires, hold the bones in place during fusion

The description of the surgery is often worry-inducing, but spinal fusion is a safe procedure. Keep in mind that if your child’s scoliosis is left untreated, it can affect lung function

Life After Spinal Fusion

As we’ve covered, there are a lot of myths and facts about scoliosis. There are common misconceptions about spinal fusion, as well.

Metal placed in the spine won’t always set metal detectors off, and when it does, security is usually understanding. Contact sport is advised against, but remaining active and healthy is recommended. Spinal fusion doesn’t affect fertility or childbearing either.

What it will do is straighten your child’s spine and impact their health positively.

If your child has been diagnosed with scoliosis, speak with one of the experts at Sonoran Spine. We’re dedicated to finding both surgical and non-surgical solutions for our patients. Contact us today.

Posted in Expert Blog

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