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Success Stories

Nonsurgical Patient Success Stories | Surgical Patient Success Stories


Retail vendor back to work after artificial disc surgery to relieve a painful neck

brenda successful recovery from spine surgery to relieve a herniated discAs a successful product vendor, Brenda thrives on a busy lifestyle. One day she began having neck pain that radiated into her left shoulder, arm and fingers. The symptoms came on so sudden that at first she thought, “heart attack”. Even though the pain went away, Brenda did not hesitate to make an appointment with her general practitioner. The doctor examined Brenda and took X-rays. He encouraged her to try conservative treatment options first for her neck pain, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) and physical therapy

Brenda tried the conservative care and the pain relievers did help some. But the relief was only temporary and her radicular pain would return. In fact, instead of going away, her pain was getting worse and she began having numbness and tingling into her fingers. Simple things, like carrying a purse on her shoulder or picking up merchandise at a store, were becoming impossible. She also had difficulty moving her neck from side to side. Her condition was now interfering with normal function.

Brenda returned to her doctor and he then referred her to fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon Dr. Craig Humphreys, because of his expertise in the field of spine. Dr. Humphreys examined Brenda and ordered an MRI of her cervical spine. The diagnostic results showed a herniated disc in her neck.

The spine surgeon talked with Brenda about her treatment options. He explained to her that typically, patients with herniated discs in the neck area would need a surgery that would involve removing the damaged shock absorbing disc that resides between the neck vertebrae and replacing it with a bone graft that would fuse and lock the neck vertebrae together. This “cervical fusion” surgery, however, limits neck rotation, and in some cases, causes more stress on other discs in the neck.

Dr. Humphreys next talked to her about a clinical trial study he was involved with that would replace the damaged disc with an artificial disc implant that preserves motion and relieves pressure from the pinched nerves. He discussed with her the disc replacement surgery option and how it could retain spinal motion.

While Brenda was unsure about spine surgery she also knew she could not continue to live and work with the pain symptoms. “Dr. Humphreys was very calming and gave me the peace of mind I needed to move forward with the new cervical artificial disc surgery. He made sure I knew what to expect before and after the procedure,” Brenda remembers.

She enrolled in the study and Dr. Humphreys performed the artificial disc replacement surgery. Though recovery from the spine surgery was not easy, the surgery was successful. Brenda was careful to follow the post surgery care instructions. She was very relieved to find that her neck and shoulder pain was gone. She could also move her neck from side to side once again.

Today, she is not limited in her activity level. Brenda has returned to work full time and is happy to report no more neck or shoulder pain.

Click here to download a PDF of Brenda's successful recovery from spine surgery to relieve a herniated disc.






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Educational Resources
Medical Animations

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

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View medical illustrations that help you understand pain symptoms.

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Learn about special exercises and stretches that can relieve pain and help rehab muscles and joints.

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Learn about minimally invasive surgery techniques that enable patients to go home the same day.

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