Alex Simotas, MD

Hospital for Special Surgery
Board Certified Physiatrist
Specializing In Spine & Sports Medicine


Learning Center

One of Dr. Simotas’ missions is provide his patients with meaningful information and to distill the best information available into easily understood articles. The articles encompass a broad range of topics from anatomy, understanding pain, how pain works, the connection between pain and the brain, and the science of pain, understanding medication, lifestyle practices, mind-body connections, and what you should know about your most common daily activities (i.e. walking, sleeping, lifting, bending, and using a computer). Many of these articles dispel common beliefs that are often obstacles to the patients’ recovery. These articles are intended to provide you with insight and empower you to participate in your treatment plan. The articles spell out in simple steps what actions patients may be asked by Dr. Simotas to undertake to return to a healthy, active, and pain-free lifestyle.

A Look At The Cycle In Pain

Back pain can develop in a series of steps that can result in a vicious cycle.  Pain can become worse and worse in a pattern that seems unstoppable.… Read More

15 Key Ideas For Back Pain

1.  Think about your spine as being healthy.
Dispel the ideas you may have a “damaged” or weak spine. Remind yourself that your spine is strong.… Read More

A Basic Anatomy Lesson


The spine is an important part of the body. It is responsible for providing:

  • Support
  • Range of motion
  • Protection of the spinal cord and nerve roots
  • Read More

The spine is made up of many bones called vertebra.

A Few Words On Medications

Various types of medication are used to treat pain, injuries, and inflammation. These include analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), steroids, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants.… Read More

Age, Injury, or Disease of the Spine

When is something found on tests like an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan important?  You get these tests back from your doctor and they are often loaded with things like:
Narrowed discs
Slipped vertebra (spondylolisthesis)
Are these important?  … Read More

Cardiovascular Health


One of the key components to a healthy lifestyle is cardiovascular health. This article deals with some of the basics that everyone should know about cardiovascular risks, cardiovascular health and integrating a cardiovascular program into your lifestyle and why it is important.… Read More

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological therapy that can be used to treat chronic back pain. Many well-designed studies have shown the clinical effectiveness of CBT.… Read More

Depression & Back Pain

Depression is four times more common in patients with chronic back pain than in the general population. Depression and chronic back pain share many of the same or similar symptoms so it is easy to understand how they often co-exist and can overlap each other.… Read More

Different Faces Of Pain

Are there really different kinds of pain? The explosion of discovery in the field of neuroscience is rapidly transforming modern medicine.… Read More

Exercise Based Treatment

Exercise based treatments use a variety of approaches and have proven effectiveness in the treatment of many orthopedic conditions. … Read More

How Pain Works

The Anatomy of Pain? What is it?

How does something that like a cut on our finger, or bruise on our back get into nervous system and our experience of pain?… Read More

Myths or Truths in Back Pain

Myth 1: Getting plenty of rest is the best defense against back pain. Right? Wrong!
Truth: Resting in bed or lying on the couch for too long can actually delay recovery and make your pain worse.… Read More

Pain Overview Video


Pain is complex. But don’t let that scare you. It’s important to understand.
First of all, it turns out that the “average” person can understand how pain works on a scientific basis.1 You don’t need to be a health care professional or scientist.… Read More

Smoking & Back Pain

If you have back pain and smoke and you want to have less back pain, stop smoking! Smoking has been identified in numerous studies, as an independent factor is the occurrence of low back pain.… Read More

Special Procedures

A variety of special procedure treatments have been developed to aid in the nonsurgical treatment of spinal conditions.   These include spinal injection

  • Epidural steroid injection
  • Facet joint aspiration or injection
  • Radiofrequency ablation procedures.
  • Read More

Taking on the Back Pain Syndrome

The Back pain “Syndrome”
Most scientists today would agree that back pain in its various forms is best understood as a syndrome rather than a disease.… Read More

Tendonitis, Bursitis & Arthritis

This article will briefly discuss three common forms of musculoskeletal disorders referred to as tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis.… Read More

Weight Control, Diet & Back Pain

Repeat studies have shown that weight is a factor in back problems. Carrying extra pounds (especially around the waistline) means that your muscles work harder to perform routine tasks.… Read More

When Is Surgery An Option?


The majority of all spine conditions can be treated with non-operative therapies. There are several scenarios with regard to spine conditions where surgery may be considered as a possible therapy.… Read More