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Success Stories

Spinal Fusion – Jill's Story

Diagnosis - Herniated Disc
Surgery - Fusion

Due to a herniated disc in her lower back, Jill was living in constant pain and leg numbness to the point that it was difficult for her to walk. After physical therapy and non-surgical injections did not relieve her pain, Jill decided to visit Dr. Craig Humphreys, a Fellowship-trained Spine Surgeon and Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with Kenai Spine.

Dr. Humphreys diagnosed the herniated disc and recommended surgery. In just 5 weeks following surgery, Jill was able to take a Caribbean cruise vacation. In the following months, Jill remained active, ultimately losing 47 pounds after surgery since she was able to exercise again pain free.

Artificial Disc Replacement – Arthur's Story

Surgery - Artificial Disc Replacement

As a heavy duty mechanic on the North Slope, Arthur relies on his hands to make a living. When his arms and hands started going numb, he knew he needed to seek help. Arthur visited Dr. John Andreshak, a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Fellowship-Trained Spine Surgeon with Kenai Spine.

Dr. Andreshak recommended Artificial Disc Replacement, a surgery that replaces the damaged disc with an artificial implant that is intended to replicate the function level of a normal, healthy disc and retain motion in the spine.

One month after surgery, Arthur was nearly pain free and had regained the function and feeling in his arms and hands.

Dr. James Delker - Dr. Humphreys helps veterinarian recover from years of back pain.

Diagnosis - Spinal Stenosis
Surgery - Lumbar Laminectomy

After struggling with back pain for many years, Dr. Delker began to experience severe back pain that he could no longer ignore. As the owner of a Soldotna based veterinary clinic, Dr. James Delker spends a lot of time on his feet so he sought the help of Dr. Craig Humphreys of Kenai Spine. He received spinal injections to help relieve the pain and reduce the inflammation around the spinal canal, but the injections did not provide long-term pain relief. Dr. Humphreys performed a Lumbar Laminectomy that allowed Dr. Delker to return to work at his vet clinic and enjoy staying active by exercising and hiking.

Kenai Spine helps Sherry get back to cooking and traveling after years of back pain.

Surgery - Lumbar Fusion

Sherry struggled with lower back pain and sciatica for over a decade. Some days the back pain was so severe she was unable to stand, walk, sleep, or even comfortably sit down. Sherry eventually decided to visit Dr. Craig Humphreys at Kenai Spine in Soldotna. Dr. Humphreys performed a Lumbar Fusion which helped Sherry get back to full activity, including cooking and traveling to New Zealand.

Nancy - Spine center in Alaska helps school teacher return to activity after severe neck and arm pain and weakness

Diagnosis - Severe cervical stenosis with progressive neck pain, arm atrophy and weakness
Surgery - Posterior cervical decompression

Nancy is a school teacher and first noticed neck pain after grading papers, a common activity for her. Her symptoms eventually worsened to the point that she could not write or even lift a cup. Nancy was diagnosed with severe cervical stenosis with progressive intractable neck pain, arm atrophy and weakness. After the diagnosis, Dr. Humphreys and Matthew May, RN discussed treatment options for her severe condition. Nancy also sought a second opinion in Anchorage. Ultimately, Nancy chose Dr. Humphreys to perform the surgery to relieve her stenosis and the surgery was a success. She is now back to full activity, including travel. Since her surgery, she has even traveled to Antarctica!

Frank - Dr. Humphreys helps Frank return to managing local Kenai brewery after severe low back pain

Diagnosis - Severe spinal stenosis with bilateral leg pain
Surgery - Decompressive laminectomy and foraminotomies

Frank first noticed mild low back pain several years ago. He chalked the pain up to his busy, active lifestyle. As the years went by, Frank noticed his back pain worsen to the point he felt weakness and numbness in his left leg. These symptoms startled him and he went to Kenai Spine to see what his options were for treatment. Watch as Frank details his story and how Dr. Humphreys has him walking again after a decompressive laminectomy and foraminotomies to relieve his spinal stenosis.

Dean - Dog sled champion back on the trails after non-surgical treatment relieves neck pain symptoms


dr humphreys patient success story alaska spine physician

As an outdoorsman, commercial fisherman, and the 1984 Iditarod Champion, Dean enjoys an active lifestyle. Last fall, Dean’s snowmobile got stuck in the ice while he was out for a ride. He was lifting the snowmobile when he felt a sharp shooting pain in his neck. Dean figured the pain would go away after some rest.

Unfortunately, instead of getting better, his neck pain worsened and was accompanied by stiffness and pain into his arm. Dean made an appointment with his general practitioner to see what the problem was. His doctor examined Dean and ordered diagnostic imaging. After reviewing the diagnostics, the doctor referred Dean to Dr. Craig Humphreys, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at Kenai Spine in Soldotna.

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

Curtis - School administrator recovers from back pain without surgery


dr humphreys patient success story alaska spine physician

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.

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

Tanya - Paramedic gets back to life with Kenai Spine


spencer back to life after spine surgery in kenai alaska

When she is not busy working as a paramedic and occupational health advisor, Tanya enjoys running, hiking and going to the gym. She started feeling pain on the right side of her neck about five years ago, but Tanya didn’t think too much of it at first. As the months and years went by though, she noticed her once mild neck pain becoming more frequent and at times incapacitating. “I also began feeling numbness in my hands and fingers; and some pain in my arms,” Tanya remembers.

She decided to go to an orthopedic physician for relief from her symptoms. The physician ordered an MRI of her cervical spine and after reviewing the results of the MRI, talked with Tanya about treatment options for her condition, including injection therapy and spine surgery. Tanya wanted to exhaust other conservative treatments first, including natural joint supplements, physical therapy and massage.

Click here to read more of Tanya's successful recovery from spine surgery with Dr. Humphreys.

Bob - Spine surgery repairs damaged disc and returns active outdoorsman to hunting and fishing


spencer back to life after spine surgery in kenai alaskaBob started feeling muscular pain in his back and shoulders last summer. His pain was mild at first but gradually worsened. He took some anti-inflammatories to help with his pain symptoms. Bob also went to a chiropractor to seek some relief. Unfortunately, the adjustments did not help and his symptoms continued to worsen.

Bob began feeling numbness and tingling in his left arm and fingers. It wasn’t long before he also started having discomfort in his leg which affected his walking. Because of the worsening symptoms, the chiropractor ordered an MRI and after reviewing the results, he told Bob he needed to see a spine specialist.

Bob was referred to Dr. Craig Humphreys by a physician at Kenai Peninsula Orthopaedics. When Bob met with Dr. Humphreys, he was having difficulty gripping objects because of the numbness and tingling in his arm and finders. His day to day activities were becoming very limited.

Click here to read more of Bob's successful recovery from spine surgery with Dr. Humphreys.

Becky - Healthcare CEO back on the job after pain relieving spine surgery


becky successful recovery from degenerative disc disease with spine surgery performed by Dr craig humphreysBecky has been working in the healthcare industry since high school when she volunteered with the American Red Cross and was recognized as “Volunteer of the Year”. She went on to complete her bachelors degree and later an MBA. Today Becky is CEO of a large orthopedic group in Tennessee. An active professional, Becky also enjoys an active personal life, some of her hobbies include exercising, gardening and spending time with her husband and family. In 2005, Becky started having some low back pain. Because of her background in the healthcare industry, she didn’t think too much about it at first. She knew that about 80% of the time, back strain is muscle related and will go away on its own. But when her pain lingered, Becky went to a physician in her orthopedic group, Dr. Craig Humphreys. She chose Dr. Humphreys, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, because of his conservative approach to caring for patients with back and neck pain.

Click here to read more about Becky's successful recovery from pain symptoms caused by degenerative disc disease.

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


brenda successful recovery from spine surgery performed by dr craig humphreys As 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.

Click here to read more about Brenda's successful recovery from spine surgery to relieve a herniated disc.

Patient Success Stories
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Surgery repairs damaged disc and helps Jill get back to life!

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Artificial Disc Replacement gets Arthur back to work.

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Local veternarian back to helping patients after Spinal Stenosis.

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Surgery helps Sherry get back to traveling the world.

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Bob

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