Alex Simotas, MD

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


Wellness & Exercise

Dr. Simotas’s firm belief is that exercise and the development of an active lifestyle is a critical component for the patient’s treatment plan and wellness. The exercises in this section cover exercise therapies, general fitness, stretches and strengthening exercises. You will also find information on how to successfully adopt exercise, fitness, strength and endurance training into your lifestyle. Below you will find some of the basic exercise groups for each area of the body, as well as for the most common musculoskeletal problems. Patients will be advised on an individual basis which of the exercises to undertake, based on their specific condition and problems.

Exercise is just one component for an overall wellness strategy. Included in this section are articles addressing other behaviors and attitudes which also play an important role in achieving a healthy lifestyle. Below you will find information on activities such as bending, lifting, sitting and sleeping, as well diet and nutrition.

15 Items To Know About 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.
  2. Read More

Advice On Bending & Lifting

The basic message:

  1. It is safe to bend with back pain.
  2. Lifting and carrying light objects is not injurious to the spine.
  3. The degree to which you can safely lift heavier objects depends on your general condition, strength, fitness and how much you are accustomed to normally lifting (your lifting fitness).
  4. Read More



Exercise 1: The Alphabets

  1. While seated with the edge of the heal on the floor, draw the entire alphabet one letter at a time by move your ankle using the great toe as the pen.
  2. Read More

Athlete’s Corner – Coming Soon

Read More

Basic Types of Exercise

There are three basic groups of exercise. They are:

  • Range of Motion Exercises (also referred to as flexibility or stretching).
  • Strengthening Exercises which may include:
    • Exercise performed with and without weights.
  • Read More

Does Posture Matter?


  • Will allow you to assume the tallest stature possible.
  • An alignment that allows the most efficient function of your muscles.
  • Read More

Ergonomic Chairs

Sitting has become the scapegoat for all back problems. Let’s be absolutely clear: Sitting itself is not harmful to your spine!… 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

Fitness & Cardiovascular Exercise

A large portion of your exercise should be cardiovascular exercise training:

  • The “core” and spine muscles appear to be important in any activity performance and important in reducing back pain.
  • Read More

Forearm & Elbow


Exercise 1:  Wrist Flexors and Extendors

Exercise A:  Wrist Flexors

  1. Rest your arm on a table with your palm up.
  2. Use the opposite hand to help hold the arm down.
  3. Read More

Harms Of Sitting

Sitting has become the scapegoat for all back problems. Let’s be absolutely clear: Sitting itself is not harmful to your spine!… Read More

Knee & Hip


Exercise 1:  Quad Setting

  1. Lie flat with the injured leg extended and the opposite knee bent.
  2. You can place a pillow under the injured knee.
  3. Read More

Low Back


Exercise 1: Knee To Chest

  1. Starting Position: Lie on your back on a table or firm surface.
  2. Action: Clasp your hands behind the thigh and pull it towards your chest.
  3. Read More

Lumbar Extension


Exercise 1: Press-Ups

  1. While lying on your stomach, place your hand under your shoulders and slowly straighten your elbows.
  2. Keep the lower part of your body relaxed while raising the back upwards as far as possible.
  3. Read More

Making Exercise Work For You

What to Know Before You Begin
The road to recovery is not without bumps and challenges. Depending on your original condition, expect a process of rebuilding with phases, adversities, and setbacks.… Read More

Neck Basics


Exercise 1: Shoulder Circles

  1. Begin with shoulders relaxed.
  2. Slowly rotate shoulders backward.
  3. Repeat rotation forward.
  4. Repeat 20 times.
  5. Read More

Neck Strengthening


Exercise 1: Axial Extension

  1. Lie on bench with head and shoulders over the edge and arms at the side.
  2. Begin with neck relaxed as shown.
  3. Read More

Pillows & Your Neck

Trying to sleep with neck pain is difficult. Usually keeping your head and neck, and shoulders in a “neutral” position is best and most comfortable.… Read More

Seafood: A Smart Choice For Health!


By Tina Ruggiero, MS, RD, LD
Each year, U.S. News & World Report ranks for weight loss and health promotion the most popular diets in the Nation.… Read More

Shoulder & Rotator Cuff


Note: Each muscle in the rotator cuff series of exercises can be performed using progressively heavier free weights. A large number of rotations will encourage endurance training.… Read More

Sleeping Positions, Bedding & Pain

Getting adequate sleep is helps recovering from any painful condition, in particular, pain involving the back, neck or shoulder.… Read More

Spine Flexibility


All flexibility exercises should be preceded by a warm up first. The surface should be flat and firm. For comfort a thin pad or folded blanket may be placed on the hard surface.… Read More

Strengthening Exercise – Coming Soon

Read More

Strengthening That Makes Sense

We all know that exercise is good for us, but like anything else in our lifestyle, a good exercise program will be most effective when balanced.… Read More

Stress, Fear & Pain

Lets face it: stress is a part of life. Why does it seem to cause pain, or at least make pain worse when we are having it? Some people might think: Well, stress is always a part of life, but pain…that’s a separate problem.… Read More

Tips On Worksite Adjustments


  • Make sure your head is not too forward while you type or view your monitor.
  • Consider adjusting your monitor height so your head and trunk relationship is more vertical.
  • Read More