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

Alternative Treatments for Spinal Stenosis

Symptoms of spinal stenosis may be treated using complementary, integrative and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and massage.

Spinal Anatomy Center

The spinal column or vertebral column holds your upright, allows movement and provides a conduit for nerves running between the brain and body.

Opioids for Severe Back Pain and Neck Pain

Opioids are powerful prescription-only medications known as analgesics; drugs that may help reduce back and neck pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulation Devices Can Pose Safety Concerns for Spine Surgery

Implantation of a spinal cord stimulation changes aspects of a patient’s structural anatomy that may pose challenges during spine surgery.

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.

Spinal Fractures Center

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

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Center

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is a common cause of low back pain.This condition can make daily activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, and even sleeping difficult.

Degenerative Disc Disease Center

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is typically associated with aging. As you age, your discs, like other joints in the body, can degenerate (break down) and become problematic.

Scoliosis Center

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

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.

Analgesics for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Analgesics are pain-relieving drugs often taken to help reduce back or neck pain. You may know them better as painkillers, and some are narcotics.

Advantages of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Compared to open spine surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery offers several advantages. Learn about the benefits.

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.

Medications Glossary

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

Muscles Move and Support the Spine

Patient-friendly article about the voluntary muscles that move and support the spine. Lack of muscle strength and flexibility is a common reason for back 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. If I lose weight can I avoid spine surgery?

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

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.

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.

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.

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

Articles Reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Chronic Opioid Use Before Spine Surgery Linked to Longer Opioid Use After Surgery

Chronic opioid use before a laminectomy is linked to longer opioid use and longer hospital stays after a laminectomy. But do the data tell the whole story?

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.

Causes of Spondylosis

Spondylosis is often a result of aging and is a type of arthritis called spinal osteoarthritis. Aging and wear and tear contributes to degenerative changes in the spine causing neck and back pain.

Symptoms of Upper Back Pain

Common upper back pain symptoms include muscle stiffness, tightness, and tenderness. Upper back pain is often related to muscle or soft tissue problems. Learn more.

Anatomy of a Herniated Disc

Why do most herniated discs happen in the low back or lumbar spine? Learn about the anatomy of a herniated disc as well as why it can cause symptoms such as low back pain and leg pain.

Slideshow Spondylosis (Spinal Osteoarthritis) Basics

Could my neck or back pain be 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.

Surgery for Spondylosis

Article lists scenarios where surgery is recommended and details the types of surgery used.

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.

Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain

Chiropractic care includes the diagnosis and treatment of many different types of neck (cervical) problems.

Physical Therapy for Degenerative Disc Disease

Physical therapy for degenerative disc disease (DDD) can include exercises to stretch and strengthen your spine. Find out more about how physical therapy helps treat DDD.

The Role of Bone Graft in Spinal Fusion Surgery

Bone graft doesn't heal or fuse the spine immediately; instead, bone graft provides a foundation or scaffold for the patient's body to grow new bone.

Physical Therapy to Relieve Neck Pain

Learn about the various types of physical therapy that can help you get rid of neck pain. How will physical therapy help you find neck pain relief?

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.

Slideshow Spinal Anatomy Slideshow

To better understand your back pain, go through our quick, educational spinal anatomy slideshow. See drawings of vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and the different spinal regions (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine).

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.

Financial Disclosures

SpineUniverse, a Remedy Health Media, 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, the undersigned, declare that neither I nor members of my immediate family have a financial interests or affiliation with commercial companies whose products and / or services may be mentioned in the materials I have authored, edited or reviewed for presentation on Remedy Health Media, LLC’s websites.
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