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Dr. James Hicks

James Hicks, M.D.

A fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon and expert in Complex Spine surgeries and Motion Preservation, Dr. Hicks is dedicated to maintaining or restoring the spine’s natural mobility. He uses state-of-the-art techniques to prevent further degenerative changes while addressing the underlying issues causing spinal discomfort or mobility limitations.

Motion Preservation Surgery

Motion preservation surgery is an alternative to traditional spinal fusion surgery. It aims to preserve the natural movement of the spine. It involves replacing a damaged disc with an artificial one or decompressing the spinal nerves while leaving the vertebrae mobile.

About Motion Preservation Surgery

“As a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, I have spent my professional life focused on complex surgeries while guided by a philosophy of providing excellent, compassionate care to my patients. My goal is to ensure the optimal health and functionality of the spine utilizing the latest advancements in both non-operative and operative spine care—helping my patients get back to their previous function and quality of life, if not even better.”

James Hicks, M.D.

  • B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 2013
Medical School
  • Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA, 2017
  • Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Alabama Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, 2022
  • Complex & Minimally Invasive Spine, Swedish Hospital,Seattle, WA, 2023
Certification and Licensure
  • Washington State Medical License, 2022-Present
  • Alabama State Medical License, 2018-Present
  • Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS), 2017-Present
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), 2017-Present
  • Basic Life Support (BLS), 2016-Present
  • Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honor Medical Society
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • AO Spine
  • North American Spine Society

Spinal Issues Treated

  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Bulging Disc
  • Herniated Disc
  • Cervical Disc Herniation
  • Thoracic Disc Herniation
  • Lumbar Disc Herniation
  • Pinched Nerve
  • Sciatica
  • Vertebral Fracture
  • Compression Fracture
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal Deformity
  • Other Neck and Back Conditions

Spinal Procedures


  • Cervical Disc Arthroplasty
  • Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
  • Posterior Cervical Decompression and Fusion


  • Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Stabilization
  • Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Interbody Fusion
  • Minimally Invasive Interbody Fusion
  • Minimally Invasive Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion
  • Minimally Invasive Anterolateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion
  • Laminectomy
  • Foraminotomy
  • Microdiscectomy

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Elliott Pennington, M.D.

As an interventional pain management specialist and board-certified anesthesiologist, Dr. Pennington brings a comprehensive, non-operative approach to managing chronic spinal pain. His individually tailored treatments leverage the latest advancements in interventional pain management to alleviate discomfort and improve quality of life.

Interventional Pain Management

Pain management is an aspect of medicine focused on reducing or reversing the effects of pain to improve a patient’s quality of life.

As a medical specialty, pain management can take many forms, and is often a collaborative effort between many medical specialists and a patient’s primary medical care provider.

About Interventional Pain Management

“Something that’s really exciting about pain management as a specialty is the rapid nature of how technology is changing what we can offer our patients. A huge benefit of the team here at Baldwin Bone & Joint is the integrated nature of our clinic — we work together to create a plan for each individual patient and tailor their treatment to help improve their quality of life.”

Elliott Pennington, M.D.

  • B.S., University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, 2013
Medical School
  • University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Mobile, AL, 2018
  • Clinical Anesthesiology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, 2022
  • Interventional Pain Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, 2023
Certification and Licensure
  • State of Alabama, Board-Eligible
  • American Medical Association
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians

Pain Management Conditions Treated

  • Sports & Work-Related Injuries of All Types
  • Acute/Chronic Low Back Pain
  • Acute/Chronic Thoracic & Neck Pain
  • Compression Fractures of the Spine & Sacrum
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Herniated or Ruptured Discs
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Sacroiliac Joint Pain
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis/Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Acute/Chronic Cancer-Related Pain
  • Degenerative & Arthritic Conditions of the Hip, Knee & Shoulder
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Failed Back Surgical Syndrome
  • Phantom Limb Pain
  • Post-herpetic Neuralgia (Shingles)
  • Nerve Entrapment Syndromes
  • All Types of Chronic Pain Syndromes

Pain Management Treatment Solutions

  • Multi-Modal Medication Management
  • Cervical, Thoracic & Lumbar Epidural Injections
  • Selective Nerve Root Blocks
  • Nucleus Pulposus Allograft Injection (Via-Disc) for Discogenic Pain with Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Facet Joint Injections & Radiofrequency Ablations
  • Intercostal Injections & Radiofrequency Ablations
  • Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty/Sacroplasty
  • Intrathecal Pump Trials, Implants & Management
  • Sacroiliac Joint Injections & Radiofrequency Ablations
  • Sacroiliac Joint Fusion
  • Discography
  • Epidural Lysis of Adhesions
  • Spinal Cord Stimulator Trials & Implant
  • Superion Interspinous Spacer
  • Minuteman Spinal Stabilization
  • Botox Injections for Spastic Conditions like Cervical Dystonia & Contractures
  • Multi-Joint Injections
  • Basivertebral Nerve Ablation for Vertebrogenic Pain – Intracept® Procedure
  • Peripheral Nerve Injections
  • Stellate, Celiac, Lumbar & Gastric Plexus Blocks
  • Injections & Radiofrequency Denervation of the Hip & Knee
  • Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulator Trial & Implant
  • Ilioinguinal/Iliohypogastric Peripheral Nerve Block & Ablation
  • Peripheral Nerve Blocks & Ablation
  • Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Peripheral Nerve Block & Radiofrequency Ablation

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Mike Companion, PA-C

Michael Companion, OPA-C

Mike Companion has practiced as a Certified Orthopaedic Physician’s Assistant since 2005. His vast clinical and patient-care experience includes both in-office and surgical settings, specializing in adult reconstructive surgery, revision surgery, and sports medicine.


  • Orthopaedic Physician’s Assistant Certification
    Columbus College
    Columbus, GA (1981)
  • Orthopaedic Physician’s Assistant Certification
    Auburn University
    Auburn, AL (1979)


  • Orthopaedic Physician Assistant-Certified, National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Physician Assistants (OPA-C)
  • Orthopaedic Technologist, National Board for Certification of Orthopaedic Technologist


  • State of Alabama

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Kristy Barrentine, ACNP

Kristy W. Barrentine, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC

Kristy Barrentine is a board-certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Kristy’s professional long-time clinical focus has been the treatment of spine issues, with experience in orthopaedics, neurosurgery, and interventional pain management. She offers both surgical and in-office clinical care, making her an integral part of The Spine Institute’s comprehensive approach to patient care.

  • Master of Science in Nursing, School of Nursing
    University of South Alabama
    Mobile, AL (2009)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing, College of Nursing
    University of South Alabama
    Mobile, AL (2004)
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: State of Mississippi
  • Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner: State of Alabama
  • ACLS, BLS Certification(s)
Academic and Professional Memberships
  • Member of the American Nurses Association
  • Member of Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society
  • Member of Bay Area Society of Nurse Practitioners

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Judith Blake, PA-C

Judith E. Blake, PA-C

Judith E. Blake, PA-C is an integral part of her patients’ quality care. She recently joined the clinical team of Pain Management Specialist, Dr. Elliott Pennington. Judith works closely with physicians and therapists to prepare patients before procedures by guiding them through diagnostic testing and managing medications. Her all-encompassing continuum of care includes managing post-procedure treatment plans such as referrals, medication and helping patients understand how to best aid their bodies in recovery.


  • Bachelor of Science
    University of South Alabama
    Mobile, AL (2014)
  • Master of Science
    Physician Assistant Studies Program
    Jefferson College of Health Sciences
    Roanoke, Virginia (2016)

Certification and Licensure

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
  • Basic Life Support

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