I just want to be pain-free. Why do I need to set goals?

Evidence-based chiropractors (none of the five-minute adjustment rubbish) are experts are helping chronic pains sufferers find a working solution. In doing so, they empower you to help yourself so you find your own freedom from pain.

When working with a good chiropractor, you may be tempted to focus on being pain-free as your recovery goal. However, research tells us that that is not good enough for truly outstanding results.

What do I need for long-term results?

lifestyle change comic
Most of us can identify with this. We think medication is the short-term solution and that it is not sustainable. How is chiropractic adjustments any different? It too is unsustainable. Replacing drugs with adjustments is not the solution.

Long-term results rest entirely on patient empowerment. This means that you must be able to help yourself during your recovery journey. For this very reason, chiropractors (or even physiotherapists) who focus on hands-on therapy aren’t particularly good for you. This is because those treatments encourage dependency.

From dry needling to massage to chiropractic adjustments, you only get relief if you go back for more. This is disempowerment.

How can I empower myself?

To support your own empowerment, you need at least three things: knowledge, goal setting, and action planning.

When it comes to setting goals, Amber Werbrouck and her team found that patients who set goals are twice as likely to experience successful treatment results.

If you think about it, that totally makes sense. Without clear and specific goals, you can’t take actions to help yourself. If you can’t help yourself, how can there be any empowerment?

Set some functional goals

smart goals
For best recovery results, it is best to be able to contextualise your pain. Maybe set some functional goals. What do you want to be able to do pain-free?

To set meaningful goals, it is important to know what you want to be pain-free for.

It’s not uncommon to hear people say that their pain did go away but comes back every time they go running. In this example, is having no-pain more important or is running more important?

For us to be able to help you, we need to know what you truly want. While being pain-free may seem like the most obvious goal now, you often want more.

For instance, you may want your back pain to stop coming back. You may want to be able to resume deadlifting 100kg or be able to go for evening walk with your grandkids. It is indeed very rare for patients to only want to be pain-free. Most of you would want to maintain a certain quality of life. Most of you would have a lifestyle you want to return to.

A study published in European Journal of Pain just a few days ago found most patients do indeed want more. In their research, 91% of their participants want to be pain-free. On top of that, 73% want to be able to take part in family and social activities. 68% want to be able to perform household tasks.

What is important to you is important to you alone

self actualisation pyramid
There are many layers to what you want or would like yourself to have. Simple tasks like mopping the floor can contribute to self-esteem.

I did indeed have a client who would experience intense pain from mopping the floor. We had to get him to stop mopping the floor because it was definitely not doing him any good.

After three sessions of working with us, he was able to mop floors without any pain and he was overjoyed! He was also able to walk for hours with his spouse in the wetlands without any aches and soreness. He was very happy.

It may not sound like a big deal to us because what is important to him may not be important to us. Like some of my friends, I would love to have a legitimate reason to not have to do housework.

Once you have clarity in what is important to you, we can take meaningful small steps towards helping you help yourself live the life you want. Remember, only you know what is important to you.

Request for an appointment via the form below, to find out how an empowerment-based care can help you help yourself find freedom from pain.


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.