Most pain sufferers want concrete answers in their recovery. Is this going to make my pain go away 100%? Unfortunately, as a chiropractor, I don’t have the definite answer to that. We can make predictions about what is most likely to happen but we can’t say for sure what exactly will happen. This uncertainty is not limited to chiropractic care. If you were to see a medical doctor, orthopaedic surgeon, TCM practitioner, reiki healer … nobody can guarantee results.
Stop chasing pain relief. It’s not good for you.
We have written extensively about this previously. It’s no good to chase pain relief because making your pain go away is an easy task. The real challenge is how do you break out of the cycle of your pain always coming back? In order to achieve long-term results, you will need to let go of immediate pain relief and focus on your recovery.
Have a think about it. You can go for chiropractic adjustments, deep tissue massages, or even acupuncture. They often provide immediate relief but the relief doesn’t last. It may last for a few days, a few weeks if you are lucky, but the pain always comes back. You are never truly 100% pain-free.
There is a difference between pain relief and recovery. Very often, the pain relief you get from passive treatments such as spinal manipulation doesn’t indicate recovery. Let’s say you have a torn ACL in your knee or a tendinopathy of your elbows. You may feel better after traditional treatments but the tissue state remains the same. There is no true tissue healing from those traditional treatments.
Consider what you can do and what your body can support
At Square One Active Recovery, we refer to a change in tissue state or tissue capacity to the level that is enough to support your lifestyle. Let’s say if you have lower back pain with prolonged sitting. Your recovery goal is to be about to sit for eight hours a day. We don’t consider being able to sit for eight hours symptom-free alone as true recovery. For us, recovery is about a change in your tissue state to that they can support you sitting for eight hours.
Pain is about perception. It is what you feel. Your pain experience changes based on work stress, familial relationships, other existing pain, etc. It is not a good marker of recovery. You pain can be a lot better today but you can also wake up tomorrow with excruciating pain. Pain, for most parts, is not a reliable measure of your recovery.
Tissue state, however, doesn’t change because you have a crappy day at work. Therefore, tissue state is a way more objective prediction of recovery.
Take our advice to heart because we genuinely care for you!
Had a really great experience with Jesse and team. I had a slipped disk at the lower vertebrae and I hardly can sit and walk. Upon slow progress from months of physio and doctors visit, I found Square One and had a quick chat with Jesse on how his method could help me recover well and faster. He was also very kind to give me a ‘sneak peak’ of the process through 1 session of training and I can immediately tell that he knows my pain points and outline to me the recovery process. As we fine tune the exercises, there were painful testings during the initial sessions, followed by a lot of exercise modification to suit my recovery stage, and to my delight, I experienced almost immediate improvement of symptoms that continue to get better with more sessions. I’m currently only 30 – 40% through the recovery sessions and I’m already able to do 30kg weight training! Highly recommended for everyone who experience back pain and wanted to experience normal life as fast as possible.
One of our clients came to us early this year for numbness in her arms. After one session, her symptoms miraculously went away. Does this mean she had achieved full recovery?
She stopped coming for her sessions and decided to resume treatments a few weeks ago. The problem? Her condition has deteriorated. She is in a worse shape than she was over nine months ago! Imagine this, she sprained her shoulder joint from a casual laugh during our exercise session. This is definitely not where you want to be with your physical health.
Sometimes good progress means good progress. It doesn’t mean complete healing.
There was another client that we took on a few months ago. Her physical functioning then was pretty poor and she had multiple pains through her body — from her neck all the way to the toes. We anticipated that there is a good chance that she will need to extend the recovery programme.
Of course we would try our best to help her along but sometimes there is only so much we can do!
She made very slow progress at the start, and had multiple aggravations through the recovery programme. We had to take it slow but she did make good improvements later. By the end of the programme, she could deadlift 40kg. Something that she never thought was possible!
While she made great improvements in her recovery and her pain did dramatically decrease, her physical functioning was still poor. Sure, she can deadlift 40kg but there were a lot of exercises that she was still struggling with. With this in view, we weren’t confident that she could exercise well on her own. The risk of injury was simply too high. We also weren’t confident that she has enough knowledge and skills to self-manage at that point in time.
We spoke to her about it and suggested that she continued. However, she was adamant that she wanted to stop. We respected her decision.
A personalised programme is always better!
A couple of weeks later, she checked in for her final review and she said that her pain did start to come back. We gave her a couple of exercises for her to try at home. Yes, her conditions did improve but it was not enough for her to feel completely well.
This is why exercise supervision is important. We have the subject matter expertise to help you design a meaningful recovery programme that will work for you. We don’t have a cookie cutter programme that we use for everyone.
At every single session, we iterate based on the improvements you are making and also the progress that you are NOT making. It make look easy on the surface, but we can promise you that it takes years of experiences from working with thousands of clients to achieve this mastery.
Yes, you are better now. But can you maintain it?
The problem with the second client’s case was that she couldn’t maintain her progress on her own. Her condition worsen when she self-managed. That’s not to say that she is going to be forever dependent on us! She is simply not ready yet. It was something we predicted, and it was something we recommended based on our observations.
Should she choose to continue to self-manage, she will probably regress further. It may regress to the whole where she will be in poorer condition than when she first came to see us. This is definitely something we want to avoid.
You do not want to move a step forwards only to move two steps back! It will be a waste of your effort, time, and money!
How is this supposed to help with my pain treatment?
It is important to us that you are able to make informed decisions in your choice of recovery. We highlight the poorer cases that we work with so you can learn from them and do better for yourself.
No, we are not scaring you into thinking that you are a doomed case. On the contrary, you are not. Similarly, both of these clients made remarkable progress in their recovery. But what they could have done even better was to focus on the process. Process over outcomes.
Like how you are subject matter experts in your own domain at work, we also are subject matter experts in the recovery space. It is true that our perspective may be difficult to appreciate, but it stems from a genuine concern to help you achieve true freedom from pain.
Remember, the takeaway is always to not chase pain relief. Feeling better is just a delusion for persistent pain patients. You pain can come back tomorrow, and come back worse.
Choose better. Choose objective, long-term results.
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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.