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About Kenai Spine

A regional spine center of excellence

Big city spine care expertise for Alaska

Kenai Spine is a multidisciplinary center of excellence for the treatment of back and neck problems. Kenai Spine believes the best quality healthcare is a byproduct of a well-informed healthcare consumer.  Consequently, it has invested heavily in this online encyclopedia that has symptoms charts on when a person needs to see the doctor for back pain or neck pain; information on minimally invasive spine surgery that reduces the length of the incision to reduce blood loss and the need for donated blood; advances in spine surgery like the artificial disc; and non-surgical treatment options for back and neck pain. As a community service, Kenai Spine distributes a 36-page Home Remedy Book that features many home remedies for back pain and neck pain.

Kenai Spine is the only spine center in the State of Alaska to be credentialed by, the only national listing of credentialed spine centers. To be included, a spine center must have board-certi ed spine surgeons and non-surgical specialists; spine therapists; and an emphasis on non-surgical treatment options.

Today, Kenai Spine combines the expertise of fellowship-trained spine surgeons; a Mayo Clinic-trained MD who specializes in non-surgical spine care; and a team of affiliated spine therapists.  Kenai Spine has three offices for the convenience of the person with back pain or neck pain. Two offices are in Anchorage and the main office is based on the Kenai Peninsula in Soldotna. 

spine center alaska, dr craig humphreys treatment for back pain neck pain kenai alaskaThe multi-disciplinary spine center includes two fellowship-trained spine surgeons — Craig Humphreys, MD and John Andreshak, MD. For non-surgical spine care, Kenai Spine includes the expertise of Mark Simonson, MD, a Mayo Clinic-trained spine specialist who provides non-surgical treatment options including spinal injections. The spine center combines X-ray, MRI and spine therapists all under one roof so patients no longer have to drive around to multiple locations for diagnostics and treatment.

Kenai Spine was founded in 2011 by Dr. Craig Humphreys, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship-trained in spine, the highest level of medical training available in the United States. Dr. Humphreys has performed more than 5,000 successful spine surgeries over a 25 year career. 

At age 48, Dr. Craig Humphreys, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, left a busy spine practice in Tennessee to return home to where he grew up — Alaska. He and his family are back in Kenai and he is eager to use his skills in spine care to help the Kenai community. 

spine center alaska, dr craig humphreys treatment for back pain neck pain kenai alaskaDr. Humphreys’ goal is to provide the most advanced spine care for Alaska residents, particularly those in the Kenai region of the Central Peninsula. Traditionally, those people living with back pain or neck pain in places like Soldotna, Kenai, Anchor Point and Homer, often faced a three hour drive to Anchorage. Our goal is to provide a more convenient option with the expertise of a fellowship-trained, board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon who has done more than 5,000 successful spine surgeries over his career.  Now with two additional offices in Anchorage, Kenai Spine is more convenient to those with back and neck pain.

Dr. Humphreys also hopes to be viewed as a resource for all those physicians who already care for back and neck problems in the Central Peninsula. Dr. Humphreys is on staff at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna. In that regard, in late 2010, Dr. Humphreys surveyed the medical community to determine the needs of the community. This opened a dialogue between him and primary care physicians in the region. The concern with spine is that too many patients can have unnecessary or aggressive spine surgery. The philosophy of Kenai Spine is consistent with that concern, says Dr. Humphreys.

“Over the last 20 years of my career as a spine surgeon in a regional referral center, I’ve seen the most complex spine cases, including failed back surgery patients who were often the result of aggressive spine surgery by other physicians,” Dr. Humphreys says. 

“It’s always been my treatment philosophy to hold spine surgery as the last treatment option to explore before spine surgery is considered. I’ve seen thousands of patients can gain symptom relief from spine-specialized therapy, special injections which can reduce inflammation around the nerve root or stretches, exercises and movements that enable the body to get moving and repair itself.”

In 2010, after a very successful career as a spine surgeon in the South, the Humphreys family began exploring a relocation back to Alaska to enable Dr. Humphreys to finish his spine surgery career where he grew up in the Kenai Peninsula. At the same time,  Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, Alaska, recognized that there was a community need for an experienced spine surgeon serving the Kenai Peninsula region. Those discussions served as the foundation of Kenai Spine, a spine practice focused on the treatment of back pain and neck pain, serving the residents of Soldotna, Kenai, Homer, Seward and other towns in the Kenai region.

The Kenai Spine practice philosophy is to explore and exhaust all non-surgical options in advance of the patient considering spine surgery. This includes the use of spine-specialized therapy and injections that can relieve pain symptoms. Kenai Spine is a work in progress, as he hopes to develop spine-specialized therapy for the region to complement and augment his spine surgery expertise. He looks forward to being a part of the Alaska medical community, and welcomes other physicians to contact him directly for referral of spine patients, or questions about his spine cases that may have in their practice.

A nonsurgical approach to back and neck pain

Kenai Spine has a  main clinic location on the campus of Central Peninsula Hospital, at 

  • 240 Hospital Place, Suite 103, in Soldotna, Alaska 99669.

Kenai Spine has two additional satellite offices in Anchorage at:

  • 1917 Abbott Rd, Anchorage, Alaska 99508

The spine center includes non surgical spine care including physical therapy in addition to a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon. Over the past two years, Kenai Spine has become a referral center for those with back and neck pain with patients coming from Anchorage, Fairbanks, Nome, Sitka, Juneau, the Yukon territories and Seward. Click here for driving directions.

When spine surgery is necessary

If your back or neck problem requires surgery, Kenai Spine is able to handle the most complex surgical cases. These cases include herniated discs, spinal fractures and spinal tumor.

The spine surgeons at Kenai Spine use some of the most advanced instrumentation and minimally invasive spine surgery techniques. Because of the minimally invasive techniques used, many patients are able to have their spine surgery in the morning and then return home the same day to recover in the comfort of their own home.  The spine surgeons also make use of the most advanced surgical navigation technology like the O-arm at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna. Few hospitals in the United States have an O-arm for surgical navigation.

Pain relief through a focus on function

Pain is a signal from the body to the brain that something is wrong. Either the back is too weak, too inflexible, something lifted was too heavy or the wrong body mechanics were used. And, unfortunately, those doctors who focus exclusively on pain symptoms often recommend a course of treatment that is the exact opposite of what the individual needs to recover from the back problem.

Years ago, for example, doctors treated back pain with bed rest and heavy drugs to mask the discomfort. It was found, however, that this type of treatment was actually damaging to the back, because it caused muscles in the back to get weaker, in turn, causing more strain and pain. Patients became more dependent on drugs and grew more inactive and disabled.

In fact, pain relief actually can come through movement. Low-impact activites, like walking and swimming, can help the back feel better and stronger.

Kenai Spine uses written clinical protocols to improve care and reduce treatment variation — the essence of true quality management. This enables us to make sure the right thing is done at the right time, every time. This also makes sure that every nonsurgical option has been explored — such as therapy and injections — before spine surgery is considered.

While others talk about quality, we measure outcomes with patient severity data at intake and functional status post treatment. Lastly, we audit patient satisfaction so we can continually improve, because that's what quality is all about.Most people at some time in their lives will have an attack of back pain or neck pain. That’s the bad news. The good news is that 80% of the time, these back pain or neck pain symptoms will go away on their own with time, some anti-inflammatory medicine and some movement. 

It’s the other 20% of those with back and neck symptoms that can over time become complex problems. Many of these back pain sufferers are doomed to endless visits to the back doctor. That's because once you have your first back pain attack, you are four times more likely to have a recurrence.

If you have back or neck pain, we are now in a position to help.


Patient Success Stories
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Surgery repairs damaged disc and returns outdoorsman to activity.

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Paramedic gets back to life with Kenai Spine.

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Healthcare CEO back on the job after pain relieving spine surgery.

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School administrator recovers from back pain without surgery.

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Dog sled champion back on the trails after non-surgical treatment.

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 the only spine center in the State of Alaska to be included in Spine Center Network, an exclusive national listing of spine centers of excellence that meet credentialing criteria related to fellowship-trained spine surgeons; non-surgical Mayo Clinic-trained MD physical medicine specialist for back and neck pain; and affiliated spine therapists. With an office on the Kenai Peninsula, and two offices in Anchorage, Kenai Spine provides great convenience to those with back pain or neck pain problems who live around Anchorage, including Wasilla, Palmer, Eagle River and the Mat-Su Valley. Click here for directions to our Anchorage offices or our main office in Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula.

Physician Bios
Medical Animations

S. Craig Humphreys, MD
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
Fellowship-Trained Spine Surgeon

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John L. Andreshak, MD
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon
Fellowship-Trained Spine Surgeon

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