Chronic pain is a billion-dollar headache for Singapore

Chronic pain is a pressing issue that affects many individuals in Singapore. From neck pain to slipped discs, these conditions can have a significant impact on people’s daily lives, including their ability to work. In this blog post, we will explore the impact of chronic pain on missed workdays and lost productivity in Singapore and discuss potential solutions to address this issue.

The Prevalence of Chronic Pain in Singapore

Chronic pain is a persistent and ongoing pain that lasts for an extended period, typically longer than three months. Unlike acute pain, which is a temporary response to injury or illness, chronic pain persists beyond the normal healing time and often lacks a clear underlying cause or identifiable injury.

According to the latest research, the chronic pain affects approximately 9% of Singaporeans. The study further revealed that chronic pain tends to be more prevalent in females, with a higher incidence observed as age increases. These findings highlight the substantial impact of chronic pain on a considerable number of individuals in Singapore, emphasising the need for effective strategies to manage and alleviate this condition.

Chronic pain is widespread in Singapore. Many individuals experiencing conditions that cause persistent discomfort. Sedentary lifestyles, work-related stress, and an aging population all contribute to the high prevalence of chronic pain. As Singapore’s population continues to age, one in four Singaporeans will be 65 and above by 2030.

The Economic Consequences

cost of chronic pain breakdown
It may not seem like much initially but the cost of chronic pain treatment does add up. Think of how much money you have already spent on ergonomic chairs, massages, etc! The best thing you can do now is to make a concerted recovery effort and break out of this vicious cycle.

A 2019 study conducted among approximately 600 employees in Singapore revealed that migraines were prevalent among the participants. The study found that over 80% of the employees experienced between one and three headache days per month. The remaining participants had four to 14 headache days per month. These findings highlight the significant impact of migraines on the affected individuals.

Chronic pain has far-reaching economic consequences, especially when it comes to missed workdays and lost productivity. When individuals are unable to work due to pain or have reduced productivity, it affects not only their personal income but also the overall performance of businesses. Decreased output, increased healthcare costs, and potential strain on the workforce all contribute to the economic burden of chronic pain.

Migraines and chronic pain have a significant economic impact on Singapore. In the case of migraines, a study estimated that the total cost in 2018 amounted to approximately $1 billion. In addition to migraines, chronic pain as a whole has a staggering economic burden on the Singapore economy. It is estimated that chronic pain costs the economy around $8 billion each year. This includes healthcare expenses, productivity losses due to missed workdays, and reduced efficiency in the workplace.

These high costs highlight the need for effective pain management and intervention strategies. By addressing the underlying causes, providing access to appropriate healthcare services, and implementing measures to support individuals affected by these conditions, we can alleviate the economic burden and improve the overall well-being and productivity of individuals in Singapore.

Addressing Chronic Pain in the Workplace

chiropractor singapore, lower back pain singapore
Did you know exercises, when done correctly, can also be part of your self-care? It can help you release stress, improve your mood, and even boost work productivity

To mitigate the impact of chronic pain on work attendance and productivity, implementing strategies in the workplace is essential. Employers can play a proactive role in promoting employee well-being and addressing chronic pain issues.

Encouraging self-care and physical activity can help prevent and alleviate chronic pain among employees. Promote the importance of self-care practices such as regular breaks, stretching exercises, and relaxation techniques to manage pain and reduce stress. Encouraging employees to engage in regular physical activity can have a positive impact on managing chronic pain. Workplace wellness programs that promote exercise, such as yoga or fitness classes allow employees to engage in physical activities during breaks or after work.

Implementing flexible work arrangements can also make a significant difference. Consider offering flexible work options such as remote work or flexible schedules to accommodate employees with chronic pain. This allows individuals to manage their pain effectively while still fulfilling their work responsibilities. Flexibility in work arrangements can contribute to improved productivity and job satisfaction.

What can a person do about their pain?

When it comes to managing chronic pain, individuals can take several proactive steps to improve their well-being. Here are three things a person can do for their chronic pain:

Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Making positive changes to lifestyle habits can have a significant impact on chronic pain. This includes maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, getting sufficient sleep, managing stress levels, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking or excessive alcohol consumption. These lifestyle choices can help reduce inflammation, improve overall physical health, and enhance pain management.

Seek Appropriate Medical Care:

Consulting with healthcare professionals who specialise in pain management is essential. Chiropractors can provide a comprehensive assessment of the individual’s condition, offer evidence-based treatment options, and create a personalised care plan. This may include exercise, lifestyle change, or other interventions tailored to the specific needs of the individual. Following medical advice and adhering to prescribed treatment plans are crucial for managing chronic pain effectively.

Engage in Self-Care Practices

self-care, chronic pain singapore
Self-care does not have to be complex. It can start small from taking an extra flight of stairs everyday or eating an extra serve of vegetable at lunch. Remember, small changes can lead to a big change!

Practicing self-care is an important aspect of managing chronic pain. This involves incorporating relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or mindfulness, into daily routines. Engaging in activities that promote mental and emotional well-being, such as pursuing hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or seeking support from support groups, can also provide relief and enhance overall well-being. Additionally, learning and implementing stress management techniques can help individuals better cope with pain and reduce its impact on daily life.

By adopting healthy lifestyle habits, seeking appropriate medical care, and engaging in self-care practices, individuals can take an active role in managing their chronic pain and improving their quality of life. It is important to consult with healthcare professionals to create a personalised and comprehensive pain management plan that addresses the unique needs and challenges of each individual.

How can a chiropractor help with chronic pain?

jesse cai, chiropractor singaporeIf you have tried to self-manage your pain to no avail, fret not. Our chiropractor can help. At Square One Active Recovery, we take a biopsychosocial approach to helping our clients manage their chronic pain. We offer services such as exercise therapy, personal training, dietary interventions, and even health coaching!

When it comes to exercise, our chiropractor Jesse Cai can provide guidance on specific exercises that target the affected areas. Through exercise, you can expect to improve flexibility, strength, and overall function. All of these changes ultimately will lead to an improvement in pain experience.

Chronic pain poses a significant challenge in Singapore. However, by recognising the impact of chronic pain, implementing strategies to address it in the workplace, and creating a supportive environment, we can alleviate the burden it places on individuals and businesses. Through proactive measures, such as adopting healthy lifestyle habits and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals like chiropractors, individuals can take control of their chronic pain and improve their overall well-being. By prioritising the management of chronic pain, Singapore can foster a healthier and more productive society.


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.