Your Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Singapore (2024)

If you’re among the countless individuals who suffer from back pain, you know firsthand the profound impact it can have on your daily life. Whether it’s a dull ache or a sharp twinge, back pain can limit your mobility, disrupt your sleep, and hamper your overall well-being.

As a chiropractor in Singapore, I work with clients such as yourself to help them alleviate and manage their back pain. In this article, we will explore some valuable tips and strategies to find relief from back pain in Singapore, allowing you to regain control of your life.

Who is the best person to see for back pain?

When dealing with persistent back pain, the first step is to consult a medical professional. In Singapore, there is a wealth of experienced doctors, chiropractors, and physiotherapists specialising in back pain treatment.

Medical doctors

If you have acute back pain and have trouble moving around, you may want to consider seeing your family GP for a medical certificate so you take the day off. Your family doctor is also able to prescribe you with painkillers or muscle relaxants to take the edge off. However, most clinical guidelines do not recommend medication as firstline treatment for back pain.


Chiropractors are musculoskeletal health experts that specialised in treating spinal pain. Low back pain is one of the most common conditions treated by chiropractor. According to Harvard Medical School, back pain sufferers experience less pain and less disability after six weeks of chiropractic treatments.


According to Singapore Physiotherapy Association, physiotherapists are trained to provide physical therapy intervention. Physiotherapists treat conditions from musculoskeletal to cardiorespiratory and neurological conditions. Most physiotherapists in Singapore work with a variety fo conditions and do not specialise in spinal pain.

Orthopaedic surgeon

For some spinal pain conditions such as fracture or injury to the spinal cord, surgery may be a treatment option.

What are the 3 common causes of back pain?

One of the leading causes of back pain is muscle strain or sprain. This often occurs due to overtraining, improper lifting techniques, sudden movements, or overexertion, or deconditioning due to sedentary lifestyle. Strained muscles can cause focal pain and stiffness, making it difficult to perform daily tasks.

How do I know if I’ve herniated my disc?

disc herniation, nucleus pulposus
The bottom right image shows a disc herniation where the nucleus pulposus is extruded from the spinal disc. Despite how painful or serious it may look, most disc herniations actually self-resorb within a year! You can read more about it in our Slipped Disc Guide.

Herniated discs, also known as slipped or ruptured discs, occur when the soft cushion-like discs between the vertebrae bulge or rupture. Disc herniations can sometimes cause sharp or shooting pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the back and legs. There may be a weakness in the lower extremity muscles. For more information, check out our Slipped Disc Guide.

You should be mindful that in true disc herniation cases, the leg symptoms is often worse than their back pain. In fact, it is entirely possible to have sciatica nerve pain without any symptoms in your lower back.

What causes spinal stenosis?

spinal stenosis, shopping cart sign
During your consultation, it is important to describe your pain experience with as much details and examples as possible. An accurate and elaborated recount of your symptoms will give us clues to what will give you the best recovery outcomes!

Spinal stenosis refers to a condition characterised by the narrowing of the spinal canal. Most spinal stenosis are cause by age-related changes in the spine that result in changes in the structure of the spine.

This can result in pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This narrowing often occurs due to the age-associated changes of spinal structures (e.g., bones, discs, or ligaments). Spinal stenosis typically manifests as pain in the lower back and legs. The pain often worsens with walking or prolonged standing and feels better with forward bending or slouching. This is sometimes called the shopping cart sign.

How serious is osteoarthritis of the spine?

Often inaccurately referred to as the wear and tear of the spine, osteoarthritis is now understood to be a normal age-related process. Like how your white grey doesn’t give you headache and your wrinkles don’t give you face pain, osteoarthritis is poorly correlated with back pain.

back pain, disc degeneration, wear and tear
Disc degeneration is a normal progression of ageing. A lot of people have disc degeneration WITHOUT any symptoms!

A study of over 3,000 asymptomatic participants (i.e., no low back issues whatsoever) found that osteoarthritic changes are common even in painless people. Over a third of young adults (in their 30s) with no back problem would start to show signs of degeneration. This figure increases to 96% for those in their 80s.

You can see from the table above that as you grow older, you are more like to get degeneration. This much is true. However, these people have no pain!

One of the best thing you can do to prevent degeneration of the spine is exercise! Previous studies have reported that people with a sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have osteoarthritis than people who are active.

How do I know if my back pain is from posture?

history of poor posture
On the left, workers are slouched over in a leather dressing factory during industrial revolution. On the right, painting in Sennedjem’s burial chamber. He served King Tut who reigned 1332-1323 BC (18 Dynasty). Text neck is not a 21st century problem. Deviations from upright posture are well recorded through history of mankind.

Many of us have been advised by our parents, teachers, or even healthcare professionals to maintain “good” posture to prevent pain. However, it’s time to debunk these myths and shed light on the scientific evidence that challenges the notion that posture is a direct cause of pain.

Contrary to popular belief, there is limited scientific evidence to support the idea that poor posture directly causes pain. Conversely, there is robust research to show on association between posture and any form of physical health.

Anterior pelvic tilt is also a topic that frequently surfaces. However, it does not automatically cause pain. Both anterior and posterior pelvic tilts can be considered normal postures.

What is the best exercise to relieve lower back pain?

Exercise therapy plays a vital role in managing back pain. In Singapore, numerous clinics and rehabilitation centers offer specialised programs to help patients strengthen their muscles, improve flexibility, and find freedom from pain. However, there is no single best exercise for back pain.

Engaging in regular physical therapy sessions that are customised to your condition can enhance your overall back health and promote long-term recovery.

chiropractic clinic singapore

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.

Does chiropractic really help back pain?

For the past 15 years I have been going for the usual chiropractic adjustment for my neck and back pain and I was seeking a long-term sustainable solution when I came upon Square One Active Recovery. I decided to sign up for the program as it ticks all the boxes – no chiropractic adjustments, don’t need to depend on anyone and don’t have to keep coming back. I am very happy with the results of the program as I am now free from chiropractic adjustment, my overall strength and endurance have improved and I am better able to perform many day-to-day tasks.

Traditional chiropractors believe that chiropractic subluxations are the common cause of neck symptoms. Their approach to your pain consequentially revolve around treatments to remove subluxations. However, no reasonable quality research to date has been able to demonstrate the existence of chiropractic subluxation. In addition to that, results with subluxation-based chiropractors tend to be temporary. It is not uncommon to hear about them selling packages with over 40 sessions. You are also usually required to come back for life under a wellness or maintenance plan.

chiropractor singapore, jesse cai
Chiropractor Jesse Cai used to offer chiropractic adjustments but the results were appalling! Since we adopted our new whole person methodology, over 80% of our clients will achieve their recovery goals within the completion of their recovery programme.

Unfortunately, chiropractic adjustments simply don’t work. Recent research is able to demonstrate that spinal manipulation is no better than placebo! This research is also performed by chiropractors (i.e., not other healthcare providers trashing chiropractic).

This doesn’t mean a chiropractor cannot help you! Evidence-based chiropractors are completely different from the traditional chiropractors. We take into consideration the latest research on what works the best for your neck pain.

Because we are willing to adapt and embrace the latest research, we offer more than just spinal adjustments. As a result, you get better results with us than traditional chiropractors.

What are the lifestyle factors of back pain?

jesse cai, chiropractor singapore, lifestyle change

In addition to an evidence-based exercise programme, incorporating lifestyle modifications can play a significant role in effectively managing back pain. By making positive changes to your daily habits and routines, you can enhance your overall well-being and alleviate discomfort. Here are some key lifestyle modifications Square One Active Recovery can help you with:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Having a healthy relationship with food and eating
  • Getting enough sleep ever night
  • Participating in regular exercise
  • Cultivating a good social life
  • Sensible sitting or standing Behaviour:

Jesse is a certified solution-focused coach. Instead of dwelling on problems and giving prescriptive blanket advice, Jesse guides clients towards identifying their strengths, resources, and the possibilities for positive change. In sessions with Jesse, clients can expect a collaborative and supportive environment. Jesse works with clients to co-create strategies and action plans that align with their unique circumstances and aspirations. By exploring clients’ desired outcomes and helping them envision their preferred future, Jesse empowers individuals to take actionable steps towards achieving their goals.

How can I promote a healthy spine?

chiropractor singapore, lower back pain singapore
We don’t shy away from tough work at Square One Active Recovery. We do what it takes to help you find true freedom from pain.

Our ethos has always been clear. We want to make our own services redundant to you. Our methodology to pain management is designed around an empowerment model so there is no dependency on us.

We use exercise to help you help yourself work on your own physical body. We don’t just stop there! We also educate you so you are knowledgeable and skilled to own self help own self. As as solution-focused coach, Jesse is also able to partner you to get to the health habits you have been struggling to attain.

Dealing with back pain can be a debilitating experience, but finding effective solutions is possible in Singapore. By working with an evidence-based chiropractor, you can regain control over your back health. Remember, each individual’s experience with back pain is unique, so it’s essential to work closely with professionals to determine the most suitable treatment plan for your specific condition.

Don’t let back pain hold you back—drop us a message to learn more about the first step towards a pain-free life today!


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.