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Success Stories

Nonsurgical Patient Success Stories | Surgical Patient Success Stories

dr humphreys patient success story alaska spine physician

Curtis - School administrator recovers from back pain without surgery

Curtis began experiencing right lower back pain early in 2011. The pain started out gradual at first, but it didn’t take long before his symptoms began to limit activity. The pain was radiating from his waist area down into his knee. Curtis found some relief from the pain when sitting and laying down. He went to an orthopedic doctor, who examined Curtis and ordered an MRI. The MRI results showed a ruptured disc at L2/L3. The doctor told Curtis he would need spinal fusion surgery to treat his condition.

Curtis was hesitant to have spine surgery without getting a second opinion first. He also knew he could not continue to live with the pain he was experiencing and wanted to get back to his normal activity level. The pain was so severe, Curtis was not able stand or walk for long periods of time, which meant he was not able to work.

Curtis’s wife knew Dr. Craig Humphreys, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, and Curtis made an appointment to see Dr. Humphreys. Dr. Humphreys examined Curtis and viewed his diagnostics. He next talked with Curtis about his treatment options, both surgical and nonsurgical. Curtis was in so much pain that he was ready to move forward with surgery. He also knew if surgery was necessary, he wanted it performed by Dr. Humphreys.

While surgery was an option to treat Curtis’ condition, Dr. Humphreys also talked with him about trying conservative treatment first. He explained to Curtis that many times, the pain and inflammation originating from damaged discs can be treated nonsurgically by reducing the inflammation surrounding the damaged disc and strengthening the spine to give it more support. Movement can work like a vacuum to suck the center of the disc back into place, helping release pressure on the nerve.

Curtis and his wife were relieved to hear that surgery may not be necessary and he decided to try the non-surgical approach. Curtis was prescribed some pain medication to help temporarily relieve his symptoms and reduce the inflammation. Soon, he was relieved to find that his pain symptoms were improving and he was able to gradually increase his activity level. He was able to return to work as a school administrator. While the pain was not completely gone, it was becoming much less intense.

A couple weeks went by and Curtis again visited Dr. Humphreys. Since his pain symptoms were improving, they decided to continue the conservative approach. Curtis also began to incorporate some special stretching exercises into his routine. His pain symptoms continued to improve and he no longer needed the pain medicine. A few more weeks passed and Curtis visited Dr. Humphreys for a follow-up, he was happy to report he no longer had the low back pain or leg pain.

Today, Curtis is back to his normal lifestyle, which includes using the elliptical and doing core exercises to help keep his back strong. “I’m grateful to Dr. Humphreys for suggesting the non-surgical treatment options, especially considering I was ready to have spine surgery,” says Curtis. “So far, so good. Today I’m pain free and I avoided a surgery.”

Click here to read more of Curtis' successful non-surgical spine recovery with Dr. Humphreys.









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Educational Resources
Medical Animations

Watch various medical animations to learn about conditions and treatment options.

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Where to find us

Kenai Spine is proud to announce that we have moved into our new spine center at 240 Hospital Place, Suite 103, in Soldotna, Alaska. Over the past few years, Kenai Spine has become a referral center for those with back and neck pain with patients coming from as far away as Anchorage, Fairbanks and Seward. Click here for driving directions.

Physician Bios
Medical Animations

S. Craig Humphreys, MD
Fellowship-trained spine surgeon
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon

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Mark Simonson, MD
Board Certified in PM&R
Board Certified in Pain Medicine