Dr. Hanscom


Dr. Hanscom is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in complex spine problems in all areas of the spine. He has expertise in adult and pediatric spinal deformities such as scoliosis and kyphosis. A significant part of his practice is devoted to performing surgery on patients who have had multiple prior spine surgeries. He works for Swedish Neuroscience Specialists in Seattle, WA.

DOC Project

He is the founder of the DOC project. It stands for Direct your Own Care. This is a structured rehabilitation protocol for chronic pain, which involves:

  • Improving sleep
  • Managing stress
  • Engaging in long-term conditioning
  • Thoughtful medication management
  • Considering life outlook
  • Educating the patient with regards to the nature of chronic pain.


Surgery is considered in the overall context of the rehabilitation effort and is only performed on specific structural problems. He is working with Swedish Hospital in Seattle, WA to improve access to structured non-operative care.

Other Activities

  • He is the founder of the Puget Sound Spine Society, which was formed in 1987. It is a non-profit educational group, which provides a regional forum for physicians to share ideas regarding optimum spine care.
  • “Awake at the Wound” is a process, which brings athletic performance principles into the operating room. He co-founded the program with his golf-instructor, David Elaimy, in 2006. David Elaimy is also a performance coach who has been giving golf-based performance seminars in the financial sector for over fifteen years.
  • Author
    • Back in Control: A Spine Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain, Vertus Press, 2012
    • Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain, Vertus Press, 2016.

Other Positions

  • Orthopedic spine surgeon, Seattle Neuroscience Specialists with Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, WA.
  • Orthopedic consultant for Premera (Blue Cross/LifeWise of WA, OR, AK) 2006 – 2015.
  • Co-director of the Swedish Neuroscience Specialists spine fellowship, Seattle, WA
  • Member of Best Doctors of America


  • Medical degree is from Loma Linda University in 1979.
  • Residency training – internal medicine in Spokane, WA from 1979-1981.
  • Orthopedic surgery residency – University of Hawaii from 1981-1984.
  • Orthopedic trauma fellowship in 1984 at UC Davis in Sacramento, CA.
  • Spinal deformity fellowship was completed in Minneapolis, MN at Twin Cities Scoliosis Center in 1986.

Published Articles

Read Dr. David Hanscom’s recent article in the Washington State Medical Association’s Preceptor (Aug. 2011) – The Cry of Chronic Pain

Back From the Edge: Coping with Physician Stress. The Doctor’s Advocate, 4th quarter, 2011.

Defining Solutions for Workers’ Comp: Ability and Motivation. ACPA Chronicle, March 2012.

A Surgeon’s Perspective on the Hoffman Process-Hoffman interview of Dr. Hanscom regarding the impact Hoffman has made on his personal and professional life, “Staying Connected” March 2012.

Physician Suicide: My Journey. Spineline, September-October, 2011. (Reprinted with permission from SpineLine, 2011;11(6):42-44. © 2011 North American Spine Society.)

Aching Back? Why Surgery Is Not Indicated for Lower Back Pain, Case In Point, July 2011. (Reproduced with permission from Case In Point.)

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