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

Anti-Depressants for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Anti-depressants are a treatment option for back and neck pain. Doctors prescribe these medications for a number of reasons: to reduce pain and muscle tension, help regain healthy sleep patterns, and address the mental and emotional sides of pain.

Exams and Tests for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is challenging to diagnose. Several physical maneuvers, imaging studies, and SI injections help to confirm an accurate diagnosis.

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.

Vertebral Column: Backbone of the Spine

The spinal column, better known as your backbone, is a strong yet flexible multipurpose structure. It is designed to protect the spinal cord, absorb and distribute shock, while supporting the weight of your head and torso and allows you to move in many directions.

What Is Microdiscectomy?

Microdiscectomy is one of the most common minimally invasive spine procedures. Also known as microdecompression, microdiscectomy is a type of decompression technique that takes pressure off your spinal cord or nerve roots to relieve your pain.

What is Whiplash?

Learn more about the causes and symptoms of whiplash and why you should see a doctor after a neck injury--even if you do not feel any pain.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Test Your Knowledge

Think you understand rheumatoid arthritis? Test how much you know about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this type of inflammatory arthritis. Take our rheumatoid arthritis knowledge quiz and prove what you know.

What Is Microlaminectomy and Microlaminotomy?

Learn why these procedures may be an attractive option compared to open laminectomy and laminotomy.

Should You Exercise When You Have Lower Back Pain?

Read these tips for making exercise easier—while still effective—when dealing with low back pain.

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.

Patient Guide to Taking Control of Lower Back Pain

This Patients’ Guide provides the tools you need to help prevent and control your lower back pain, and stop it from coming back.

Alternative Treatments for Spondylosis

You may try complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as you deal with the pain and other symptoms of spondylosis (spinal arthritis).

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.

What Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Minimally invasive surgery is an attractive option for patients who want a quicker recovery after surgery, less post-operative pain, and smaller incisions.

Steroid-induced Secondary Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the main cause of spinal compression fractures, but corticosteroids can also cause them.

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

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

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.

Posture and Kyphosis

Postural kyphosis is caused by poor posture, so if you've been diagnosed with it, you need to make a conscious effort to improve how you stand and sit. Follow these quick tips for good posture.

Alexander Technique for Chronic Back Pain

The Alexander technique, may help patients with chronic or recurring low back pain.

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.

Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease

As we grow older our bodies change, and the spine is not immune to changes at its cellular level.

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.

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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