Why you should care more about your chronic pain and take action now

Everybody agrees that living with pain is terrible. However, despite its awfulness, we seem to also think it’s okay to live in pain. We trivialise pain as something that has no real consequences. You may even go as far as to think it’s a sign of weakness.

Chronic pain has real consequences.

pain neuroscience education, chiropractor singapore, chronic pain
What pain feels like for self taught artist Mark Collen His sculpture was published on the front cover of the journal Pain in December 2012

Chronic pain is associated with a shorter lifespan. That is, if you have chronic pain you are more likely to die earlier. This is relationship exists even after controlling for suicide and mental health disorders.

We like to think that chronic pain is just an unpleasant experience that we don’t need to take seriously.

You may even think that since you have lived with it for so long, another few years won’t hurt.

Well, not true either.

No tissue damage. Only faulty messages.

In the Lancet’s latest paper on chronic pain, they specifically highlighted that chronic pain involves “abnormal neural signalling”.

We like to think pain = damage even though it is not true. Does it hurt when you step on a lego? Yes. Is there damage? No.

Pain doesn’t equals damage. You can have pain in the absence of damage. And vice versa!

What is true is that your chronic pain involves abnormal signaling in your brain. It’s kinda your brain telling you something is wrong even though there’s nothing going on.

It’s almost like a car alarm that goes off everytime a cat jumps on its hood. That is what chronic pain is about. The symptom experience your brain is giving you doesn’t match that is actually happening in your body on a physical level.

Crazy, huh?

Chronic pain could literally affect the structure of your brain!

brain mri chronic pain
MRI scans showing the differences in brain structure between chronic pain sufferers and pain free individuals

People think pain = something to physically fix. That could be true but that may not be the complete picture.

It may take more than chiropractic adjustments or exercise for you to achieve true freedom from pain.

The reason is simple … there’s a brain component!

A study MRI-ed the brain of patients with chronic pain and found that these participants had poorer perception of movement than people without pain.

When the researchers looked at the MRI scans of their brains,  pain patients had lower grey matter density and cortical thickness at regions where movement is being processed.

Strong relationship between joint awareness and neck pain.

neck awareness machine
Device used to measure cervical joint position error Neck pain is NOT about poor posture

If you haven’t already heard, countless research has highlighted that there is no relationship between poor posture and neck pain.

Fixing your posture probably does give you some temporary relief because you are no longer holding your head in the same, sustained position. However, changing your posture is NOT going to give you long-term results.

On the other hand, knowing where your head in space has a STRONG relationship to how much pain you experience.

In a study comparing cervical proprioception (neck awareness) and pain severity, they measured how accurate people’s movements were and compared it to how much pain they have. Unsurprisingly, people with poorer awareness had more pain.

After statistical analysis using Pearson’s correlation coefficient, the relationship was found to be strong!

Follow good research, take action now.

It is true that there is a lot we still don’t understand about pain. What is more important, however, is that we know enough to help you.

If you have been living with chronic pain and you aren’t getting results with conventional treatments, book in for an appointment to discover the difference an evidence-based chiropractor can make.

Remember, living with pain comes with real consequences.


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.