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

Muscle Relaxants for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Painful muscle spasms in your back or neck may be eased by taking a muscle relaxant medication your doctor prescribes.

What Is Spinal Instrumentation and Spinal Fusion?

In this article, learn about the history of spinal instrumentation and fusion, and the hardware used in these procedures.

Cervical Myelopathy and Spinal Cord Compression

Myelopathy occurs when the spinal cord is compressed. It can lead to neurologic symptoms, such as pain, numbness, or difficulty walking.

Biologic Drugs for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Biologic drugs are a special, complex class of medications that help treat spinal inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis.

Spondylolisthesis Center

Spondylolisthesis occurs when one vertebra slips forward over the vertebra below it. The term is pronounced spondy-low-lis-thesis and is derived from the Greek language: spondylo means vertebra and listhesis means to slip. There are several types or causes of spondylolisthesis.

Medications for Back Pain and Neck Pain

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

Spinal Cord Stimulation: Potential Benefits and Risks

The potential benefits and risk of spinal cord stimulation vary from patient to patient. It is important to understand that SCS may help reduce your pain, but not eliminate it.

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.

How to Sleep with Back Pain

Proper sleeping habits are an important part of treating low back pain. Learn how to protect your back while you sleep.

Anti-Depressants for Back Pain and Neck Pain

While the pain-relieving ability of antidepressants isn’t fully understood, it’s believed that these drugs work in the central nervous system to reduce pain signals.

How Is a Spinal Cord Stimulator Implanted?

Information about the surgical implantation of a spinal cord stimulation system is provided. If your spinal cord stimulation trial was successful, you may be eligible to have a SCS system permanently implanted to reduce and manage chronic back pain.

What Is a Spinal Cord Stimulation Trial?

A spinal cord stimulation trial period is necessary if you are considering this treatment to reduce and manage your chronic back pain.

What Is Spinal Cord Stimulation?

Spinal cord stimulation is a treatment that benefits many people with chronic back and leg pain. SCS can help reduce pain and improve quality of life.

Spinal Cord, Nerves, and the Brain

The spinal cord, nerves, and brain make up the body's communication center. These complex structures and how they work together are explained in this easy-to-understand article.

Neuropathic Drugs and Medications

Neuropathic pain is characterized by chronic burning, tingling, and numbness.This article explores the medication options for neuropathic 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 implant 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

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.

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

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

Exams and Tests to Diagnose Upper Back Pain

This articles explains how your doctor examines you to make a proper diagnosis.

Oxygen-Ozone Treatment for Herniated Discs

Oxygen-ozone therapy to treat herniated disc is less prevalent in the United States because some in the medical community believe more research is needed.

What Is Neurointerventional Surgery?

Neurointerventional surgeons have special training to treat spinal disorders. Learn about their education and training and if they can help treat your back or neck pain.

Back Pain Conditions Treated with Medications

If you have back pain or neck pain, regardless of your specific condition, drugs and medications will most likely be part of your treatment regimen.

Slideshow Unusual Treatments for Back Pain

Botox, Magnets, and Other Back Pain Treatments

Curious to see if unconventional treatments will help ease your back pain? This slideshow covers 4 unusual treatments for back pain, including Botox and magnets. See whether these treatments work, and find out if they’re right for you.

Common Whiplash Questions

Four of the most common whiplash questions that people ask are presented here along with the answers.

Surgery for Whiplash

Very few patients with whiplash end up needing cervical spine surgery. If your doctor recommends it, though, there are several options.

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.

Alternative Treatments for Upper Back Pain

Learn about acupuncture and massage and find out how they can help you deal with upper back pain.

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.

Slideshow Is Your Neck Pain Serious or Not?

Is that nagging neck pain serious or not? Should you wait until it goes away or should you call a doctor? This slideshow shows you simple ways to detect whether your neck pain is serious or not.

Obesity and Degenerative Disc Disease

Can obesity cause degenerative disc disease? Learn why extra pounds can put extra strain on the spine and why the symptoms of degenerative disc disease may be worse if you're significantly overweight.

Conventional Treatment Options for Lower Back Pain

Article describes conventional non-surgical therapies that can help you treat your low back pain.

FDA Issues Warning for Some Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Drugs

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a class of drugs commonly used to treat juvenile Idiopathic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis may increase the risk of some cancers.

Causes of Kyphosis

The cause of your kyphosis depends on what type of kyphosis you have: postural or structural. Postural, not surprisingly, is caused by poor posture, but structural kyphosis is related to problems with parts of the spine. Review typical kyphosis causes.

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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