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

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.

Balloon Kyphoplasty: Frequently Asked Questions

Article answers common questions about balloon kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive surgery used to treat spinal compression fractures. The difference between vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty is one of the topics included in this article.

When to Call a Doctor for a Pinched Nerve

Serious symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck or back that require a doctor's attention.

Lumbar (Low Back) Dynamic Stabilization - A Patient's Guide

Dynamic stabilization uses flexible materials to stabilize the spine if affected by degenerative changes.

Medications Glossary

Terms and definitions help you better understand the drugs and medications used to treat neck and back pain.

Medications for Back Pain and Neck Pain

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

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.

Neuropathic Drugs and Medications

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

Exercises for Spinal Stenosis

If you have spinal stenosis, should you exercise? If so, what type of exercise is safe and won't cause you pain?

Spinal Fractures Center

Learn about various treatment options, including how to control your pain and if you will need surgery.

Surgery for a Herniated Disc

Five common surgical procedures performed to treat herniated discs are presented. Plus, helpful tips how to get in good physical shape for your surgery!

Common Spondylolithesis Questions

Five common questions about spondylolisthesis answered, including how it may develop, symptoms, and treatment options.

Scoliosis Center

SpineUniverse's Scoliosis Center offers accurate information about the diagnosis and treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, adult scoliosis, and degenerative scoliosis.

Exams and Tests for Spinal Stenosis

Diagnosing spinal stenosis can be difficult because symptoms can mimic those of other conditions. Learn about the various exams and tests used to diagnose spinal stenosis.

Exams and Tests for Spinal Fractures

If you've been in a car accident or injured your back some other way, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. Even if you don't have pain, you may still have a spinal fracture.

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

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.

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.

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.

Kyphosis Prevention

You can prevent some types of kyphosis, especially kyphosis caused by poor posture. Help from a physical therapist to learn what good posture feels and looks like may be all you need to prevent kyphosis.

Drugs and Medications for Kyphosis

To help you deal with pain from kyphosis, the doctor may recommend drugs or medications. You may need to take painkillers or medications that reduce inflammation. Depending on how bad the pain is, you may start off with over-the-counter medications.

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.

Bracing: A Treatment Option for Kyphosis

A doctor may recommend a brace for treating kyphosis. Several factors come into play, including how much growth the patient has left to do and how severe the kyphotic curve is. Bracing may help stop the spinal curve from getting worse.

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.

Common Kyphosis Questions

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

What is Kyphosis?

Everybody should have kyphosis in their thoracic spine, but when the spine starts to curve outward too much, there's a problem. Brief overview of two types of kyphosis and why this spinal condition is more than just slouching.

Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Spine surgeons are always seeking new ways to perform spine surgery in a safe, effective way that will make your recovery less painful and more rapid.

Degenerative Disc Disease Prevention and Relief

Article provides tips to prevent back pain caused by degenerative disc disease (DDD). These tips can help you recover better from DDD surgery and have a healthier spine overall.

Kyphoplasty, Vertebroplasty, Vertebral Augmentation Implant: Treatments for Spinal Compression Fractures

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty help to relieve the pain associated with osteoporotic compression fractures.These procedures relieve pain, and reduce and stabilize fractures.

Mini-open ALIF

Discover how mini-open anterior lumbar interbody fusion is performed, what conditions it’s used for, and the risks associated with this minimally invasive spine surgery.

AxiaLIF

Deciding whether to have spine surgery can be scary, even if it is minimally invasive. Find out how AxiaLIF-a type of minimally invasive spine surgery-can relieve your back pain, and learn about its advantages and disadvantages.
Information in this quiz is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. Content is not intended to substitute for consulting a medical professional. Always consult a trained medical professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard medical advice as a result of something you may have read on SpineUniverse.

Drugs, Medications, and Spinal Injections for Herniated Discs

There are many types of medications to help you manage the pain and symptoms often associated with a herniated disc in the neck or low back.

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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