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Joel M. Press, MD

Physiatry, Sports Medicine, Spine

About Dr. Press


Dr. Joel Press is the Physiatrist-in-Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. He has published and edited multiple articles and textbooks, chaired numerous courses, and lectures extensively nationally and internationally on the rehabilitation of spine and sports-related injuries.

Dr. Press graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science Degree with Distinction in microbiology. He received his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Illinois, College of Medicine and went to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Medical School for his internship. He then completed his residency at Northwestern University Medical School, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago where he was Chief Resident.

Dr. Press was an Attending Physician at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago from 1988 to 2016. In 1989, he founded and directed the Spine and Sports Rehabilitation Centers at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Dr. Press was also a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and the Reva and David Logan Distinguished Chair of Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He was the Vice President of External Relations and the Executive Medical Director for Outpatient Physician Services at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Dr. Press is a Diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners and board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine. He has been an Oral Board Examiner and Written Board Examination-item writer for the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is a Past President of the following organizations: American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, North American Spine Society, and the Physiatric Association of Spine, Sports and Occupational Rehabilitation.

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Special Expertise

Sports medicine
Spine disorders

Patient Stories

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Please call our office if you have questions regarding your insurance coverage. If you have out-of-network benefits, then your insurance may reimburse you for a portion of your office visit. We will work with you and your insurance to minimize your out-of-pocket costs. Financial assistance may be available for patients in need.



Physiatrist-in-Chief, Hospital for Special Surgery
Attending Physiatrist, Hospital for Special Surgery
Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College


American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine
Sports Medicine Board Certificatio


Castle Connolly America's Top Doctors, 2002-2020
Castle Connolly Top Doctors in New York Metro Area, 2018-2019, 2021, 2022
New York Magazine Top Doctors, 2018-2022
Chicago Magazine Top Doctors, 2004-2016 
Visiting Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2007
John McCulloch Memorial Lecturer, Denver Spine Institute, Winter conference, 2008
Dr. Michael DeSilva Memorial Lecture. Medical Association of Jamaica. Kingston, Jamaica. June 7, 2009
Lambert Lecture, American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, 2009
Patricia C. Gregory, M.D. Memorial Lecture in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of North Carolina, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2011
Singapore Ministry of Health Honorary Visiting Expert in Rehabilitation Medicine, 2013
Scott Nadler/PASSOR Legacy Award and Lecture, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2013
Gregory E. Lutz, M.D., Visiting Professor for Physiatry. Hospital for Special Surgery, 2015


MD, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, IL


Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL


Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL

State Licensure



For My Patients

Publications by Dr. Press

Patient Education

Selected Books/Chapters

Press JM, Plastaras CT, Wiesner SL. Physical Modalities and Pain Management. In: Rehabilitation of Sports Injuries: Scientific Basis. Frontera, Walter (ed). Blackwell Publishing 2002 pp. 204-232

Press JM, Young JL. Electrodiagnostic Medicine. In: Low Back Pain Handbook: A Guide for the Practicing Clinician, eds. Cole and Herring, 2nd Edition, Hanley and Belfus, Philadelphia. pages. 263-277, 2003

Bucko CC, Young JL, Cole AJ, Stratton S, Press JM. In: Low Back Pain Handbook: A Guide for the Practicing Clinician, eds. Cole and Herring, 2nd Edition, Hanley and Belfus, Philadelphia. pages 151- 168, 2003

Sorosky B, Press J, Plastaras C, Rittenberg J. "The Practical Management of Achilles Tendinopathy" Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 14(1): 40-44, January 2004.

Press JM, Plastaras CT, Wiesner SL. Physical Modalities and Pain Management in Rehabilitation of Sports Injuries. Frontera, W (ed), 204-231

Mayer TG, Press JM. Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation. In- Orthopedic Knowledge Update 8, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Rosemont, Illinois 2005. pp. 655-663

Plastaras CT, Rittenberg JD, Rittenberg KE, Press JM, Akuthota V. Comprehensive Functional Evaluation of the Injured Runner. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America; Running Injuries. August 2005, Volume 16, Number 3pp. 623-649

Rittenberg JD, Ross AE, Press JM, Akuthota V. Spine Injuries. Chapter from Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation for Active Older Adults. Human Kinetics 2005.

Press JM, and Bergfeld DA, "Physical Modalities" In: Clinical Sports Medicine: Medical Management and Rehabilitation. Frontera WR, Herring SA, Micheli LJ, Silver JK (eds) Saunders, Elsevier. 2007. pp. 207-227

Kennedy DJ, Visco CJ, Press JM. Functional Rehabilitation of Painful Cervical Spine Disorders. 01/2011 pages 433-442ISBN: 978; 1-933864-71-6

Selected Journal Articles

Tsai LC, Lee SJ, Yang, A, Ren Y, Gaiger F, Chang AHI, Press JM, Zhang LQ. Effectiveness of Off Axis Training on Improving Knee Function in Individuals with Patellofemoral Pain. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 10/2012; 93(10)e 13

Press J, Liem B, Walega D, Garfin S. Survey of Inspection and Palpation Rates Among Spine Providers. Spine38(20)1779-1784. 2013

Fleisig GS, Hsu WK, Fortenbaugh D, Cordover A, Press JM. Trunk axial rotation in baseball pitching and batting. Sports Biomechanics, DOI; 10.1080/14763141.2013.838693, 2013

Press JM. Lessons learned from leadership. PM&R 2014 Feb;6(2):107-109

Mayer EK, Ihm JM, Sibell DM, Press JM, Kennedy DJ. ACGME sports, ACGME pain or non-ACGME sports and spine: which is the ideal fellowship training for PM&R physicians interested in musculoskeletal medicine?  PM&R 2013 Aug;5(8):718-23

Tsai LC, Lee SJ, Yang AJ, Ren Y, Press JM, Zhang LQ. "Effects of Off-Axis Elliptical Training on Reducing Pain and Improving Knee Function in Individuals with Patellofemoral Pain." Clin J Sports Med 2015 Nov;25(6):487-93

Lin CY, Tsai LC, Press JM, Ren Y, Chung SG, Zhang LQ. Lower Limb Muscle Activation Patterns During Off-Axis Elliptical Compared to Conventional Gluteal Muscle Strengthening Exercises. J Sports Rehabil 2015, May 6

McCormick Z, Cushman D, Caldwell M, Marshall B, Ghannad, Eng C, Patel J, Makovitch S, Chu SK, Babu AN, Walega DR, Marciniak C, Press J, Kennedy DJ, Plastaras C. J Nat Sci 2015 Aug;1(8) pii: e140

Uddin OM, Haque R, Sugrue PA, Ahmed YM, El Ahmadieh TY, Press JM, Koski T, Fessler RG. "Cost minimization in treatment of adult degenerative scoliosis. J Neurosurg Spine 2015 Dec;23(6):798-806

Plastaras C, McCormick Z, Nguyen C, Rho M, Nack SH, Roth D, Casey E, Carniero K, Cucchiara A, Press J, McLean J, Caldera F. Is Hip Abduction Strength Asymmetry Present in Female Runners in the Early Stages of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome? Am J Sports Med 2016 Jan;44(1):105-12

For more publications, please see the PubMed listing.

Selected Presentations

Rehabilitation of Musculoskeletal and Sports Injuries, Uludag University Medical Center, Department of Sports Rehabilitation, Bursa, Turkey, October 10, 1995

Evidence Based Approach to Non-Operative Treatment of Low Back Pain. National Seoul University Hospital, Seoul, Korea,March 23, 2005

"The Kinetic Chain Examination and Case Presentations: A Workshop" England Institute of Sports Performance Center,Loughborough, England, February 8, 2006.

"Evaluation of Musculoskeletal Disorders"" Ironman Sports Medicine Conference, Kona, Hawaii. Oct 5, 2008

"Core Strength Training" – Does it Work? Trans-Act/ American College of Sports Medicine International Team Physician Course, Johannesburg, South Africa Feb 12-16, 2009

"Cervical Spine Rehabilitation" Medical Association of Jamaica, Annual Meeting, Kingston, Jamaica, June 6, 2009

"What is the Role of Exercise in Low Back Pain" Grand Rounds, Department of Rheumatology, Feinberg/Northwestern School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois Sept. 8, 2011

"The Role of Psychological and Mechanical Factors as Outcome Predictors for Low Back Pain" North American Spine Society, 27th Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, October 26, 2012

"The Cost of Low Back Pain" Singapore Ministry of Health Honorary Visiting Expert in Rehabilitation Medicine(Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation), January 10, 2013. Singapore

"Clinical Pearls in Back and Neck Pain" Singapore Ministry of Health Honorary Visiting Expert in Rehabilitation Medicine(Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation), January 10, 2013. Singapore


Assessment of a novel pivoting/sliding elliptical machine for training subjects to improve neuromuscular control performance in the off-axes in patients with musculoskeletal disorders.

Industry Relationships

Industry Relationships

One of the goals of HSS is to advance the science of orthopedic surgery, rheumatology, and related disciplines for the benefit of patients. Physicians at HSS may collaborate with outside companies for education, research and medical advances. HSS supports this collaboration in order to foster medical breakthroughs; however HSS also believes that these collaborations must be disclosed.

As part of the disclosure process, this website lists physician collaborations with outside companies. The disclosures are provided by information provided by the physician and other sources and are updated regularly. Further information may be available on individual company websites.

Below are the healthcare industry relationships reported by Dr. Press as of February 08, 2022.

  • United Health Group - Advisory Board

By disclosing the collaborations of HSS physicians with industry on this website, HSS and its physicians make this information available to their patients and the public, thus creating a transparent environment for those who are interested in this information. Further, the HSS Conflicts of Interest Policy does not permit physicians to collect royalties on products developed by him/her that are used on patients at HSS.

Patients should feel free to ask their HSS physicians questions about these relationships.

Dr. Press in the News