We know finding the right chiropractor in Singapore can be frustrating. We blogged about cheap chiropractors previously and today we are going to focus on the clinical aspects of what to look for in a good chiropractor! We hope this helps.

1. Spinal Manipulation and Chiropractic Adjustments are one and the same.

Truth: No research has compared chiropractic spinal manipulation against those administered by physiotherapists or osteopaths. While the “style” of adjustment is distinctively different between professions, they all achieve the same things – pain relief and an increase in your range of motion.

If your chiropractor has told you that chiropractic adjustments are more specific and superior to other “types” of spinal manipulations, you’ve been lied to.


Singapore Chiropractic Quack Pseudoscience Evidence-based
Dr Jerry Kennedy from Black Sheep DC having a go at subluxation-based quacks.

2. Chiropractic (vertebral) subluxation does not exist.

Truth: Research for the past hundred years does not support that subluxations exist. Chiropractors can define subluxation and very convincingly explain the (false) relationship between subluxation and poor health. The reality is that subluxation is most likely a fear-mongering sales gimmick used to pressure or scare prospects into chiropractic care. They will probably also argue absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Well, it’s been a hundred years!

Pop quiz: What is the animal that looks like a pony with a long and white horn on its head? Hint – it’s usually associated with purity.

Get my point now?

The ability to describe a unicorn clearly and identify it does not translate to that unicorns exist in real life!

You can read more about the chiropractic subluxation at Subluxation: dogma or science?

Pro tip: When looking for a chiropractor, go through their website and “control + F” for subluxation. Start with their about us or what is chiropractic page – you know what to do when you find it!

3. Chiropractors can’t tell if your vertebra is out of place.

This is almost laughable. To learn more about the curious case of palpation pareidolia, read Palpation, is it a skill, an art, or an illusion? by Sports Physiotherapist Adam Meakins.

For the hard data fans:

“The results for interrater reliability were poor for motion restriction and pain. These findings may have unfavourable implications for all manual therapists who use motion palpation to select patients appropriate for spinal manipulation.”

Interrater Reliability of Motion Palpation in the Thoracic Spine, Walker et al 2015.

p.s. X-rays don’t work as well. More on that next time.


4. Spinal manipulation does not

Remain active and education is first-line treatment for treatment low back pain.

work for everyone and may not always be the best

The first-line treatment for both acute and persistent low back is education and to remain active (The Lancet, 2018). For chronic low back pain, exercise and cognitive behavioural therapy are the first-line treatments with manual therapy coming in after.

Note: Movement is medicine! Exercise wins.

Of course, spinal manipulation DOES NOT work for everyone. Anyone who says otherwise is just selling snake oil. Studies from as early as 2004 have looked into who benefits from spinal manipulation. Guess what? Not everybody. Lower back pain sufferers who meet four out of the five the criteria and received spinal manipulation has a 92% chance of a successful outcome (Annals of Internal Medicine, 2004).

Yes, spinal manipulation is awesome. No, it’s not magic.

Finding the right chiropractor will maximise your chances of a positive outcome. It is crucial to discern those who can help you from those who cannot. Unfortunately, chiropractic is not regulated in Singapore and patients are left vulnerable to sales opportunists. If you need a second opinion or help with finding the right person, drop us a message. We promise to try staying impartial! Remember, we are pro-community!