Best Clinical Practice: What exactly does a chiropractor do in Singapore?

There’s a lot of misconception about what a chiropractor does in Singapore. This is largely because of the extreme opinions that are floated by various publications and organisations. Today, we will try to provide some unpopular perspective on the matter.

The history of chiropractic

chiropractor singapore, chiropractic clinic
A lot of people think exercise is not part of chiropractic because very few Singapore chiropractors utilise it in their practice. However, the truth is that exercise IS part of chiropractic since its founding days.

It is true that the word chiropractor comes from Greek words “cheir” which means hands and “praktos” which means done. In that sense, the word chiropractor can be transliterated to done by hand.

When reviewing the origins of chiropractic, we can indeed assert that the profession emphasises the use of manual therapy, specifically spinal manipulation, in its beginning. However,, there was also a focus on exercise since its founding days — something that most opponents of chiropractic and adjustments-only chiropractors seem to conveniently leave out.

Since its founding over a hundred years ago, chiropractic has come a long way. Most of whom have embraced evidence-based practice to help pain patients achieve better recovery outcomes.

According to the latest research literature, exercise is the best treatment approach for chronic musculoskeletal pain and injury. In fact, exercise is such an effective modality that preliminary reports are showing it is possible for COMPLETELY ruptured ACL to heal without surgery.

It would then make sense to question, if chiropractic and physiotherapist both use exercise, what is the difference?

Focus on meaningful outcomes (i.e., what’s important to you)

chiropractic adjustments, spinal manipulation
Chiropractors like to brand their adjustments as being special and just exactly what you do. However, research doesn’t support that adjustments can be that specific.

We don’t think the question should be so much over if a chiropractor is better than a physiotherapists or vice versa. In our opinion, an evidence-based practitioner should be able to deliver comparable outcomes regardless of the profession they belong to. So, the important question here is if the chiropractor or the physiotherapist you are choosing is good.

To a large extent, it makes sense to not choose your healthcare provider based on profession alone. A sports massage by a massage therapist therapist is going to comparable to one provided by a physiotherapist. A treatment modality doesn’t become more effective just because the person providing it has more credentials to his name.

Some chiropractors may claim that their adjustments are better cos they are more specific in how they administer their treatment. However, research doesn’t support this. In fact, it seems like most of what you see on YouTube videos is a combination of marketing fluff and theatrics.

A paper published a few weeks ago confirmed this. According to the study, clinical outcomes are comparable when adjustment is applied to an affected site or away from an affected site. This means you can crack anywhere and still get the same recovery outcomes!

Why does specificity not matter?

Chiropractor helping to adjust neck before the exercise program
Celebrity host and actor Paul Foster receiving a chiropractic neck adjustment. However, Square One Active Recovery has stopped offering spinal manipulation as treatment since 2018.

I think the short story is because chiropractic adjustments don’t work better than placebo. In short, they don’t have any meaningful outcomes that are worth seeking.

Two years ago Sasha Aspinall, a chiropractor by training, published a paper to demonstrate that spinal manipulation do not work better than placebo. This was a practising chiropractor who did utilise adjustments in her practice publishing that chiropractic adjustments do not work.

Last year, a bigger study (162 participants published the same outcomes! The study compared spinal adjustments, spinal mobilisation (commonly utilised by physiotherapists), and sham treatment to find that pain scores and disability was no different from placebo. Their authors specifically concluded that neither treatments were effective treatments for low back pain.

There is compelling evidence that spinal manipulation does not work. However, that doesn’t mean chiropractic is useless.

Remember, chiropractic did not start with adjustments alone! Exercise was a core part of it since its founding days!

Why is your clinic so focused on exercise? I want an easier pain solution!

chiropractor singapore, pain solution

When it comes down to choosing the best recovery option for yourself, you have to ask yourself what is your ultimate goal. Based on your own values, what are important to you?

Nobody  is contesting that an adjustment is a super shiok experience. It’s kinda like a good massage. It puts you into a state of relaxation and everything seems be better after a chiropractic session. However, this is not to be confused with true recovery (i.e., long-term results).

Remember, research is telling us that pain scores largely remain uncharged after being adjusted. Yes, you do feel good and feel relaxed. That may change how you perceive your pain. Objective speaking, according to the latest research, your pain is no better compared to someone who received a fake treatment!

What we are trying to say is that there is no shortcuts to good, long-term results. Self-management is the key to true freedom from pain. This is not just what we preach at our practice. This is also supported by the latest clinical recommendations.

What do I do now?

To start working with us, you can reach out via the contact form below. All of our prospective clients will go through a selection process to determine if their clinical case is one that we are likely to help, based on the latest research data. If it’s not something that we can help you with, we will advise you accordingly. This is so we don’t waste your time and money.

Remember, chiropractic started with both adjustment and exercise. The latest research strongly tells us that exercise is the better option. If you are looking for long-term results, exercise plus self-management help is the way to go.


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.