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About Dr. Craig Humphreys


Dr. Craig Humphreys is a multidisciplinary surgeon for the treatment of back and neck problems. Dr. Craig Humphreys believes the best quality healthcare is a byproduct of a well-informed healthcare consumer.

Consequently, it has invested heavily in this online spine 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.

Dr. Craig Humphreys is the only spine surgeon 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-certified fellowship-trained spine surgeons; non-surgical specialists; spine therapists; and an emphasis on non-surgical treatment options and patient education.

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. Dr. Humphreys’ goal was 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. The goal of Dr. Craig Humphreys was to provide a more convenient option for treatment of back and neck problems.

Dr. Humphreys is viewed as a resource for primary care physicians, family practice physicians, chiropractors, neurologists and pain management specialists. Dr. Humphreys is on staff at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna.

“It’s my treatment philosophy to hold spine surgery as the last treatment option to explore before spine surgery is considered,” explains Dr. Humphreys. "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. But there are also cases of herniated discs and spinal tumors that will not respond to non-surgical treatment options. Where there are symptoms like numbness or weakness in a hand or foot, or loss of bowel or bladder control, these spine problems need to be addressed promptly within days to prevent permanent paralysis of those nerves. Without spine surgery, those symptoms can become permanent if not operated on within a few days.

A nonsurgical emphasis to back and neck pain

Dr. Craig Humphreys has a main clinic location on the campus of Central Peninsula Hospital at 240 Hospital Place, Suite 103, in Soldotna, Alaska 99669.

The spine center includes non-surgical spine care including physical therapy in addition to the two fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeons. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Craig Humphreys 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.

spine center alaska, dr craig humphreys treatment for back pain neck pain kenai alaskaWhen spine surgery is necessary

If your back or neck problem requires surgery, Dr. Craig Humphreys is able to handle the most complex surgical cases. These cases include herniated discs, spinal fractures and spinal tumor. Dr. Craig Humphreys use some of the most advanced instrumentation and minimally invasive spine surgery techniques. In addition, the spine surgeons have access to the most advanced surgical navigation systems. Dr. Craig Humphreys was one of the first spine surgeons in the State of Alaska to have access to the O-arm. This surgical navigation technology greatly improves the accuracy of the placement of surgical implants and screws. It also lessens the amount of time the patient is under anesthesia.

Dr. Craig Humphreys was also one of the first spine surgeons in Alaska trained in Artificial Disc Replacement. Today it is still one of the few centers proficient in both lumbar and cervical artificial disc replacement.

Because of the minimally invasive spine surgery 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. Because Dr. Humphreys has operating privileges at Kenai Surgery Center, many patients can have their surgery in a more convenient day surgery facility.

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Click here to download

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. 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.

Dr. Craig Humphreys 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.

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 can help.



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

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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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Surgery repairs damaged disc and returns outdoorsman to activity.

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Paramedic gets back to life with Dr. Craig Humphreys.

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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
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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

Dr. Craig Humphreys is referred complex back pain and neck pain patients from across Alaska. Dr. Craig Humphreys is the only spine surgeon in the State of Alaska to be included in, an exclusive national listing of spine centers of excellence that meet credentialing criteria. With a main office in Soldotna, Alaska, Dr. Craig Humphreys is a resource for those living on the Kenai Peninsula, residents of Anchorage as well as the Mat-Su Valley, including Wasilla, Palmer and Eagle River.

Physician Bios

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

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