The power of deload and why more is not always better

google search console screenshot
We consistently get over 10,000 visitors to our website on a monthly basis. For perspective, we are the most visited chiropractic website IN THE WORLD. This is only possible because we consistently post up-to-date, quality content.

I took a break from writing over the last couple of weeks because I needed rest. It’s kind of scary because I get lots of traffic from writing. I also rely on this traffic to keep my business afloat.

Sometimes life gets busy. Some of who may have read in my previous posts that I am pursuing another degree on psychology. It can be overwhelming. So, taking time off is important.

Why you should deload?

chefs cooking stew
More is not always better, sometimes you need to take a step back for better results.

Just as I do need a break, a break for you is not always a bad idea too.

One of our clients was not going so well with his exercise and was feeling worse than I had expected. On the night before his follow-up appointment, I requested that he considered taking a break from the exercises and scheduling his appointment to a week later. Thankfully, he agreed.

He came in today, after a week, and said that he felt much better after the deload. In fact, just after a day of deloading, he felt so much better that he thought something was amiss.

Well, something was amiss. The exercises were too much for him.

Always test, don’t make assumptions.

If you work with me long enough, you’d know I only care about two things (1) testing (2) delivering results. In that order.

The only reason we managed to figure out that the client was doing too much was because all our clients go through a test-retest process when they start working with us.

At an earlier session, the said client was responding way better than expected. I did follow up with more questions and it did seem like he was indeed doing very well. This allowed us to load up the exercises by quite a big margin.

If our assumptions were right, he shouldn’t be feeling worse. Afterall, we did have a baseline idea of what he was capable of doing.

Turns out, our assumptions were wrong. He wasn’t doing way better than expected. It was just a lucky day. The end result? We ended up overloading the exercises. He ended up feeling worse over time.

Recovery is an exploratory process.

foot stepping on lego
Just because your pain hurts, doesn’t mean it’s damage. Pain is a lot more complex than that!

I think sometimes clients come into our office thinking we have a crystal ball that allow us to predict the future.

Well, we don’t.

Afterall, not 100% of our clients achieve their recovery goals. We are not ashamed to admit that 80% of our clients achieve their recovery goals within four to session sessions.

Granted that majority of our clients who come to us would have tried tons of other treatments (and were not responsive to them) before coming to us, we think we do a pretty good job.

The thing about test-retest processes is that there are no right answers. Sometimes we load more than what is optimal and deload then becomes necessary.

Sure, pain doesn’t equal to damage. Research has shown that rehabilitation exercises that are painful is slightly superior to pain-free ones.

This is why testing is important. Just because something is more painful than usual means it is bad for you.

Similarly, more painful isn’t always good for you!

In order to figure out which is which, you need to test.

Do I deload now?

If you have been working on your sciatica pain or shoulder pain to no avail, it may be time to consider taking a break.

If you have had taken multiple breaks and you aren’t getting any closer to the recovery outcomes you want, perhaps professional help is what you need.

Remember, there is no cookie cutter “pain = bad” or “no pain = good” approach in recovery. To get good results, you need a systematic way of testing your progress in order to determine what to do next.



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.