Why feeling worse before feeling better is very much a part of recovery

As a persistent pain sufferer, you may want to book in to see a chiropractor in Singapore for instant relief. Watching other people get adjusted on video gives us an ASMR. It looks as if the pain relief is immediate, and that the person is immediately cured. We are bombarded with so many of such views that it skews our expectations of what recovery looks like.

Today, we are going to review the hard facts so you can know exactly what you are getting into when you make an appointment with a chiropractor.

Immediate pain relief is possible

Fine. I’ll admit this. Most people do get immediate pain relief from a chiropractic adjustment.

The problem though? People who received fake adjustments (i.e., sham adjustments) also get immediate relief.

This is problematic. Essentially, you do feel better from being cracked. But the relief you get is not necessarily from the adjustments itself.

It’s from the presence of the chiropractic, your therapeutic relationship with them, the environment, their voice, the conversation you have, your beliefs, etc.

Just not the spinal adjustment itself.

We have discussed this in great detail in a previous article on chiropractic adjustments. Feel free to check it out! All references and citations are included.

Problem with instant pain relief is that the results don’t last

chiropractor singapore, jesse cai
Chiropractor Jesse Cai used to offer chiropractic adjustments Since then over 80 of our clients will achieve their recovery goals with recovery programmes

When we objective look at how long does the effect of spinal adjustment last for, it’s about 30 minutes. Sure, patients often report feeling better for a couple of days.

However, the actual pain relief itself peaks at 30 minutes and start to drop thereafter.

This is part of the research by chiropractor Sasha Dorron.

We think this is problematic. You pay $65? $85 for a five minute treatment, and the results from that treatment only last 30 minutes?

The other tricky aspect of spinal manipulation as treatment is that you have to go back thrice per week at the start. Even when you start to feel better, you have to go back regularly for the rest of your life.

There’s no end point! In our opinion, this is not a true recovery.

How much do you think 15 years of chiropractic adjustments will cost you?

instant pain solution, chiropractic adjustment

We have worked with clients who have seen chiropractors for ten, and even 15 years before finally coming to us. Assuming a chiropractic adjustment cost $65, and he goes monthly, it works out to a whopping $11,700!

The truth is people often go more often (up to thrice per week), and most chiropractors charge more than $65 per session. It may not sound like much, but over time it does add up!

Sure, you can say you’d stop after a year or after your 10-session package. However, if your pain were to all return after that . . . it’s still money wasted! No?

You are paying good money for pain relief. The least it should do is to have lasting results!

Got it. But surely more pain = worse condition?

This is a bit tricky for persistent pain sufferers to understand, but your body is adaptable!

When we have chronic pain, people start telling us to be careful of this, do stop lifting or exerting ourselves, to not do this or that, and all of this adds up to telling us that our body is fragile.

Overtime, you start to believe that your body is fragile or that you are broken, and that every little thing is going to break you. Your own experiences matches this narrative!

You may sprain your back from just trying to pick something off the ground. You get extreme back aches just from sitting on the chair. All of this adds up to make you believe that you are fragile, weak, and feeble.

Well, all of that is not true!

Feeling worse doesn’t mean your condition is worsening!

When you cut your finger and wash your wound under running water, it will hurt. That doesn’t mean washing your wound is making your condition worse. But it sure as hell hurt!

Take for example, being sunburnt. Any gentle touch to your skin can cause excruciating pain, but we know that mechanical pressure doesn’t actually make your sunburn worse!

Similarly, there are daily activities and specific movements that can worsen your pain experience. However, they don’t necessary make your condition worse.

It’s important to accept this because havingĀ  clarity of what makes your pain worse versus what makes your condition worse will give you clarity of how to navigate your recovery!

Got it. So why do I need to feel worse before feeling better?

chiropractor singapore, pain solution

The best way to approach this is to understand stress-testing.

If you want a child to do well at school, the homework and assessment he does need to match to his capability. If it’s too easy, he’ll probably not improve. If it’s too hard, he’ll also probably not improve.

The Singapore education system broadly decides what is best suited for a student through our streaming system. While it is by no means a perfect system, we have one of the best PISA scores in the world.

Similarly in recovery, in order to have a bespoke training programme that is customised to you, we need to stress-test your body to see where you are currently at. Again, stress-testing may induce more pain but it certainly doesn’t mean you are more injured!

By stressing your physical tissues, we are able to tell what your body is able to do as well as how your body adapts to stress. This process inevitably may cause some pain. But the value we get out of it makes it worthwhile.

By knowing your exact body state, we are able to prescribe exercises and provide the dosage at the level that best suits you. This means you won’t be doing endless physiotherapy exercises that are way too easy for you. This means you won’t be doing exercises that are impossible and demotivating to get through.

All of this will help you get the best results possible!

Do not fear pain in recovery

Yes, we get that you are here because you want to feel better. Feeling worse is 100% not what you signed up for. However, research tells us that it’s okay to feel worse at the start of recovery. In fact, this doesn’t slow down your recovery at all.

Good recovery processes involve a systematic testing approach that will tell us exactly where you are in recovery. This approach may cause some temporary pain and discomfort. However, it gives us meaningful information to help you get better.

To find out more about how we can help you find freedom from pain, reach out to us via the contact form below.


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.