Tom Willemann Health Tips

"Regular Health Tips From Physical Therapist Tom Willemann..."

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Back pain?–Don’t sit for longer than 20 minutes. Possible or Impossible?

I tell my patients with low back pain, neck pain, sciatica, stenosis, osteoarthritis, spondylosis or spinal pain to limit sitting to no longer than 20minutes.  At that time I prefer if patients stand up and walk around to change the position of the spine.   A great option is using a adjustable height desk that allows a change from sitting to standing with a quick adjustment without loss of productivity.

Studies have shown most muscles that support the natural curves of the spine stop working after fewer than 3mintues. They  support the parts of the back that contribute to low back pain for only a very short time.  After that, the pressure on the various parts of the spine that can cause pain returns.  After 20 minutes you definitely need a change.

Typically sitting is the most provocative position for patients dealing with spine related pain, but standing can cause an exacerbation of that pain, too. Even with a consistent exercise program to address range of motion, strength, endurance and balance, frequent changes in your position are imperative.

If you regularly need to sit at a desk for long periods of time, a great option is using a adjustable height desk that allows a change from sitting to standing. One quick adjustment allows you to change position without loss of productivity. 

As a Wyckoff physical therapist, I seldom sit for long when I’m seeing patients.  However, for the days when I need to work at my desk, an adjustable desk is definitely an option I will explore. 

Check out this link for options for your work station to reduce stress on your spine.
This desk can be found at

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
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