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Success Stories

Nonsurgical Patient Success Stories | Surgical Patient Success Stories

Spencer - Alaska’s premier fishing guide pain free after spine surgery

Spencer is an avid golfer, outdoorsman and retired professional fishing guide. He played football in college while studying to become an educator. It was not long after finishing college that Spencer first started having some mild back pain.

spencer back to life after spine surgery in kenai alaskaFor many years, he chalked up the pain to aging and the wear and tear on his body from playing sports. Unfortunately, Spencer’s back pain worsened, especially on his right side. In addition to his back pain symptoms, Spencer also struggled with hip pain and eventually had a total hip replacement surgery to relieve his hip pain symptoms.

As the years went by, Spencer went to many different doctors for his back pain, he even traveled to the Mayo Clinic to seek relief. The doctors cautioned Spencer that spine surgery would likely be needed to treat his condition. He was not ready for spine surgery though. Spencer’s back pain was manageable for many years through non-surgical spine care, including anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and injection therapy.

In 2010, Spencer’s back pain was becoming unbearable. The injection therapy that at first offered some temporary relief was no longer helping at all. Walking was now becoming impossible for Spencer without a walker. And in the back of his mind was the thought that he may eventually require a wheelchair for mobility.

In 2011, Spencer was referred to Dr. Craig Humphreys, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon at Kenai Spine. Spencer called the office to make an appointment. Dr. Humphreys - after learning of Spencer’s symptoms - got him into the office quickly.

Dr. Humphreys examined him and ordered diagnostics, including an MRI.After viewing the results of the diagnostics, Dr. Humphreys discussed with Spencer the treatment options for his spine condition. Dr. Humphreys explained to Spencer in detail the surgery that was necessary to relieve his back pain. The surgeon also talked with Spencer about non-surgical options to relieve his pain, including trying another injection for pain relief.

Spencer liked the demeanor of Dr. Humphreys and was impressed that he also talked about non-surgical options for his condition. After much consideration, Spencer decided to move forward with the spine surgery. He was eager for relief from his back pain and ready to return to activity.

Dr. Humphreys completed the spine surgery in August of 2011. Spencer was out of bed and walking within 12 hours. He felt immediate relief from the back pain that had become a way of life for many years.

Today, Spencer is back to an active lifestyle. He no longer needs assistance to walk and is able to once again enjoy life with his wife of 50 years. He is looking forward to a pheasant hunting trip in South Dakota this fall. Spencer exclaims, “I feel better now than I have in years. Dr. Humphreys helped me get my life back.”

Click here to download a pdf of Spencer's success story after spine surgery performed by Dr. Humphreys at Kenai Spine.



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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