Answers you want from Singapore’s most unorthodox chiropractor (Part I)

You are thinking of making an appointment with us but you struggle to wrap your head around what we do. I understand. Afterall, we do do things very differently at Square One Active Recovery.

Here are ten questions that may give you the answers you are looking for.

Are you a chiropractor or a physiotherapist?

I am a chiropractor. I graduated from the five-year chiropractic science programme at Murdoch University.

Is exercise considered chiropractic treatment?

chiropractic clinic exercise equipment
I think some chiropractors try to downplay on the importance of exercise because they don’t want to spend more time with their patients. More time equals less revenue.

While exercise is often associated with physiotherapy, exercise is very much part of chiropractic since its founding days.

In the picture above, you can see lots of exercise equipment. This is in fact BJ Palmer’s chiropractic clinic. He is the son of DD Palmer — the founding father of chiropractic — and is guy who made chiropractic what it is today.

You can see that he has a stationary bike, rowing machine, and even a punching bag!

It is true that chiropractors in Singapore tend to focus to spinal manipulation. However, exercise is very much also considered chiropractic treatment.

Why did you choose exercise over chiropractic adjustment?

low back pain clinical guideline, lancet low back pain
Not only is exercise part of chiropractic since its early days, research also tells us it works awesomely well! Way better than your ergonomic chair and standing desks.

Results. People just get better, more long-term results with exercise.

It was very clear from the beginning that chiropractic adjustments wasn’t the best deal. True, my clients always felt better after treatment but they also kept coming back.

It saddens me a little because it shows I am not doing a good job. This was the main reason why I dropped all forms of passive treatments (treatments in which something is done to you) from chiropractic adjustments to dry needling.

There are also other reasons.

Firstly, The Lancet and all other clinical guidelines made it clear that exercise was superior to adjustments.

Second, BJ Palmer said the same thing over a hundred years ago:

“Rehabilitation of the part which has long been in dis-use. This cannot be done by external manipulation, such as massage. It must be done by internal use by patient himself.” (v.20, p.34)

We knew since the early days that spinal manipulation had its limitations. And that exercise had advantages that other therapies couldn’t provide.

Really, there’s no reason for you to choose any therapy over exercise plus education.

Why do you take a whole-person approach to recovery?

chronic pain, pain science, chiropractor singapore
Which is more painful? Can you tell?

When you go to a more conventional chiropractor or physiotherapist, they tend to focus on what’s physically wrong with you.

Makes sense, right? I have back pain. Therefore, something is wrong with my back.

I need to get my back fixed. I need to use my core muscles more.

Well, no.

Take for example the pictures above. Both are real-life cases. Which do you think is the one that hurts?

The picture on the left is a nail which had gone through the boot of a construction worker. The x-ray on the right is a nail which had gone through the roof of the mouth of a construction worker.

You probably find it challenging to decide which is more painful. This is because you can’t see pain. What is more intriguing about these two cases is that it tells us that you can have injury without pain.

Similarly, you can have pain without damage. This is something that The Lancet’s latest paper on chronic pain emphasised.

If you have pain for more than 12 weeks, not getting results from treatment, and only working on the area where it hurts, you need to look beyond that.

It’s the only way you are going to get better.

What does a whole-person transformation look like?

lifestyle change chiropractor
We all want long-term results but how many of you are willing to put in the effort to work for it? You can get instant good grades for exams by cheating. But if you want to do it properly, it takes time, effort, and commitment.

I created the whole-person approach based on what we were seeing from the latest studies on pain management.

From a lifestyle perspective, sleep and stress directly affects pain. Physical activity — both too little and too much — also affects your pain experience.

That probably sounds obvious to you.

If we want to go to the more surprisingly stuff, setting clear goals will help you get better results.

Awareness matters too. We know that people with neck pain turn their heads differently from people without neck pain by virtue of movement errors. We also know that this difference is associated with actual changes in your brain.

You probably already know exercise is important to you, and that exercising too much and too little can both be bad for you. The problem is how do you get yourself to exercise more? Or exercise less?

Knowing is not always half the battle won.

When a client works with me, we work on everything it takes to deliver long-term results. Unless you do what is necessary to drive true change, your results will always be short-term.



Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.

Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.

*We do not offer temporary pain relief such as chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, or any form of soft tissue therapy.