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

Cancer and Spinal Fractures

Spinal compression fractures can be caused by many things. Learn more about the causes here.

Bone Loss In Your Spine

There are usually no symptoms of bone loss. However, there are signs that alert you to a spinal fracture, and they are back pain and changes in posture.

What is a Spinal Compression Fracture?

Osteoporosis is the main cause of spinal fractures, but they may also be the result of injury or a spinal tumor.

Spinal Fractures: Frequently Asked Questions

Article includes brief answers to many frequently asked questions about spinal compression fractures and osteoporosis.

Talking to Your Doctor about Spinal Fractures

It’s important to prepare for your doctor’s appointment when you’re concerned about bone loss and spinal fractures.

Spinal Fractures: Are you at risk?

For most people, the first indication that they are losing bone density is a fracture. While bone loss can affect anyone, there are certain risk factors that may make you more susceptible to spinal fractures.

Can Inversion Tables Help Your Low Back Pain?

Inversion tables may offer relief to patients struggling with low back pain.

How to Sleep with Back Pain

Proper sleeping habits are an important part of treating low back pain. Read this article for information on how to protect your back while you sleep.

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.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for Low Back Pain

Read this article to learn about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments for back pain.

Patient Guide to Taking Control of Lower Back Pain

This Patients’ Guide provides you with the tools you need to tackle your lower back pain and stop it from coming back.

Spinal Bracing: A Treatment Option for Spinal Fractures

After a spinal fracture, your doctor may recommend that you wear a brace. It will support your spine and muscles as the bone heals.

Physical Therapy for Spinal Fractures

A physical therapist will develop an individualized plan that helps you return to normal and/or work around your limitations.

Spinal Fracture Prevention

Spinal fracture prevention is about taking precautions when doing certain activities. For example, you should always wear your seat belt when driving.

Common Spinal Fracture Questions

Come here for quick answers to the most common questions about spinal fractures. Includes information about surgical and non-surgical treatment options for fractures caused by trauma.

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

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.

Conventional Treatment Options for Lower Back Pain

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

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.

Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain

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

The Role of Bone Graft in Spinal Fusion Surgery

Bone graft refers to the use of bone in spinal fusion surgery. Spine surgeons can use bone graft to stop motion between two or more vertebral bodies, stabilize a corrected spinal deformity, or repair spinal fractures.

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.

Ergonomics and Degenerative Disc Disease

Learn some basic ergonomic principles on how to adapt your work environment to protect your spine and prevent your back pain from getting worse.

Exams and Tests to Diagnose Upper Back Pain

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

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.

Is it Time to Visit a Back Specialist for Your Low Back Pain?

Low back pain is highly treatable at home with proper self-care; however, in some cases, it may require serious evaluation by a medical professional who specializes in back pain.

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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