Jason M. Highsmith, MD's portrait
Jason M. Highsmith, MD
Neurosurgeon
Charleston Brain and Spine
Charleston, SC
Dr. Highsmith is a member of the SpineUniverse Editorial Board.

About Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Dr. Jason M. Highsmith is a board certified and fellowship trained neurosurgeon specializing in complex and minimally-invasive spine surgery in Charleston, SC.

He completed his pre-medical training at Cornell University before attending the Medical College of Virginia for medical school and residency. As a resident, he started the first spinal cord injury lab in the history of MCV. His research there included an award-winning project on the use of artificial blood products to treat spinal cord injury. He also served as an Adjunct Professor of Biology there teaching anatomy to nursing students.

Dr. Highsmith went on to join the faculty at Emory University where he completed a complex spine fellowship. He is currently working on the development of new instrumentation to treat spinal pathologies. His research interests include dynamic stabilization, complex spine, radiosurgery, and trauma.

Articles Written by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

What Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Minimally invasive spine surgery uses advanced technology to treat back and neck pain caused by a variety of spine conditions. MISS is becoming an attractive option for many patients.

Chiari Malformation: A Basic Overview

Chiari malformation is a condition that causes brain tissue to settle into the spinal canal. It develops where your skull and neck (cervical spine) come together; when part of the skull is either too small or misshapen, part of the brain can settle into the foramen magnum.

Cancer and Spinal Fractures

Bone metastasis and multiple myeloma are two forms of cancer that can cause spinal compression fractures. Read about how each of these cancers weakens your spinal bones, leaving them vulnerable to fractures.

Questions to Ask Your Pharmacist or Doctor about Medications

It's essential to have clear communication with your doctor and pharmacist when it comes to taking drugs and medications. Understanding your treatment will better help you reduce your back and neck pain.

Tips for Neck Pain Prevention

9 tips on how to prevent neck pain from SpineUniverse. You can start today to stop neck pain before it even begins.

Conditions Treated with Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Because of rapid advances in technology, many spine conditions, such as sciatica and spinal stenosis, can be treated using minimally invasive spine surgery.

Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

The symptoms of spinal stenosis depend on where the spinal cord or nerve pathways are narrowed. Learn about the common symptoms of spinal stenosis.

Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease

Back or neck pain is a common symptom of degenerative disc disease. Where pain is felt depends on the region of the spine affected by DDD.

What Is Spondylosis?

Spondylosis is spinal arthritis, sometimes called osteoarthritis. It's a degenerative disorder, meaning that it's another part of aging.

Exercise and Herniated Discs

Exercise and stretching can help relieve your herniated disc pain and other symptoms. But what kind of exercise is best? Find out in this spine expert-written article.

Spinal Discs Connect and Protect Vertebrae

The spine's discs sit between each vertebra. They are tough on the outside with a softer, gel-like fluid inside. Each time you move the spine, the discs change shape in relation to the movement.

Medications for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Read important information regarding over-the-counter and prescription medications for both acute and chronic back pain.

Analgesics for Back Pain and Neck Pain

If you've ever suffered from a back and/or neck condition, you've likely taken an analgesic to reduce your symptoms. You might even know them better as painkillers.

When to Call a Doctor for a Pinched Nerve

When do you need to call a doctor for your pinched nerve pain? Find out here.

Medications Glossary

This article includes terms and definitions that will help you better understand the drugs and medications used for back and neck pain.

Recent blog posts from Jason M. Highsmith, MD

February 15, 2012

Is Pregnancy Causing My Low Back Pain or Is It Something Else?

I'm a 29-year-old woman in my second trimester with my first child. I've had low back pain for several years, and I've never actually received a diagnosis. What could be wrong with me, and how do I make my back pain go away? I'm worried about my health and the health of my baby.

January 05, 2012

Weight Loss to Treat Herniated Disc Pain

I'm overweight, and I've had severe back pain caused by a herniated disc. I'm a 33-year-old woman with the rest of my life ahead of me, and I don't want to resort to surgery just yet.

January 12, 2011

Spinal Stenosis Surgery

There are many surgery options for spinal stenosis, but one of the most common options is spinal implants (eg, X-STOP). Learn how these implants, typically made of titanium alloy, can help relieve pressure on your spinal nerves and reduce your back pain.

More from Dr. Highsmith's blog "A Surgeon's Perspective"

Case Studies Presented by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Rapidly Progressing Cervical Adjacent Segment Disease

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD

A 56-year-old woman presents with a history of worsening neck and left shoulder pain. She has had some relief with C4-C5 epidurals, but her pain has persisted. She has had previous C6-C7 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with plate in 2002. That was followed by explanation of instrumentation and subsequent C5-C6 ACDF in 2007.

Pseudofusion Dilemma

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD

Patient History A 53-year-old, nonsmoking woman came to the clinic with increasing back and right leg pain despite undergoing an L4-S1 Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF) and lateral mass fusion with Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) just 8 months prior. She initially had surgery for sever

Cervical Pseudoarthrosis and Adjacent Level Disease

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD

Patient History This 70 year-old female presented reporting increasing neck and periscapular pain over several years. The patient underwent a C5-C7 ACDF 11 years earlier. Her pain intensified and radiated into the deltoid area following a minor motor vehicle accident 6 months earlier. Examination

Spinal Stenosis – Unresponsive to Nonoperative Treatment

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD

A 65-year old male with multiple medical problems reports a long history of low back and leg pain with difficulty walking upright, especially during the last several months.

Burst Fracture in a 79-Year-old Male: How would you treat?

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD

This case is about a 79-year-old man whose fall caused an L1 burst fracture. Case details, treatment, and discussion included.

Postsurgical Radicular and Neuropathic Pain

Presented by: J. Highsmith MD

Previous surgery relieved the patient's left leg pain but, postoperatively, he experienced new right leg pain described as radicular and electric in nature.

Articles Reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Slideshow Spondylosis (Spinal Osteoarthritis) Basics

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for Spondylosis

Spondylosis—also known as spinal osteoarthritis or spinal arthritis—can affect any part of the spine. This slideshow highlights the most common spondylosis symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Anatomy of Whiplash

The cervical spine--your neck, is the most flexible and mobile regions of the back. Discover more about the anatomy of the neck and whiplash.

Exams and Tests for Whiplash

Even if you just have minor neck pain after an injury causing whiplash, you should see your doctor or a spine specialist.

Physical Therapy for Whiplash

In whiplash, the soft tissues in your neck are damaged. A physical therapist can work with you to restore proper function to those tissues.

Whiplash Prevention

Before buying a new car, truck, or van, do your research to make sure that you're getting the best protection for your neck.

Drugs and Medications for Whiplash

Over-the-counter medications may help reduce your pain. However, if your pain continues, your doctor may prescribe stronger treatments.

Ergonomics and Kyphosis

Ergonomics looks at how we work and the environment in which we work. It plays a big part in helping you get through the day without back pain, and if you have kyphosis, you should be thinking about ergonomics.

Ergonomics and Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) affects many people, and work can exacerbate common DDD symptoms such as back pain. Learn some basic ergonomic principles on how to adapt your work environment to protect your spine and prevent your back pain from getting worse.

Causes of Spondylosis

Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis) is caused primarily by aging: As you age, the parts of your spine wear out, perhaps causing pain.

Symptoms of Spondylosis

The symptoms of spondylosis, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, vary depending on where your spine is affected. This degenerative process can cause pain that ranges from mild to severe.

Anatomy of Spondylosis

Before you can understand why spondylosis causes back pain, you should understand the parts of your spine and how they work together.

Exams and Tests for Spondylosis

To make an accurate diagnosis of spondylosis, your doctor will do physical and neurological exams. You'll need to have x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs, too.

Physical Therapy for Kyphosis

Physical therapy is an effective way to deal with kyphosis, especially postural kyphosis. Read what a physical therapist can help you learn about correcting your posture and strengthening your back muscles.

Symptoms of Kyphosis

The easiest-to-recognize symptom of kyphosis is a rounded back. The extreme curve in your upper spine will cause you to hunch forward, but there are other symptoms, including potentially severe back pain.

Common Kyphosis Questions

This quick reference helps answer some of the most common kyphosis questions.

Financial Disclosures

SpineUniverse, a Vertical Health, LLC website, is committed to ensuring that the medical information it presents is accurate, balanced, objective, and trustworthy. 

To help achieve this goal, SpineUniverse requires all authors, editors, and reviewers to disclose any financial relationships or affiliations they have with companies whose products or services may be mentioned in the content they author, edit, or review.

The intent of this policy is to identify any perceived, potential, or real conflicts of interest so that readers can make their own judgments about the value of information being presented.

Author's Statement

I, or an immediate family member, have a financial interest(s) or affiliation(s) with the following commercial companies whose products and / or services may be mentioned in the materials I have authored, edited or reviewed for presentation on Vertical Health, LLC’s websites.

Disclosed Relationships

Consultant
Boston Scientific, Globus Medical, Covidien
Speakers' Bureau
Boston Scientific, Globus Medical, Covidien, St. Jude Medical
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