You would imagine people know what they are after when they step into our office in Singapore. Right? Sure, it’s almost always pain relief. But to what end? See, back pain is tricky to work with. Is your slipped disc causing your back pain? Would a MRI help? Can a chiropractor help?

“So what?” I thought to myself.

Problem With A “Slipped Disc” Approach To Back Pain

Quite often we have people asking us what we can do for scoliosis, slipped disc, torn ACL, and the likes. From a structural viewpoint? Nothing. Zilch. What we can do, however, is change your pain experience. For that to happen, we need to know the why. Why do you want to get rid of your pain now? Surely you’ve had it for a few weeks? Months? Years? It’s bothering you. It’s affecting your quality of life. It’s not allowing you to do what you love. Tell us. Tell us everything.

Don’t think of us as your pain terminator. Think of me as someone who increases your body’s resilience to pain so you can keep doing what you love. Even if all you want to do is “just” reading on your ottoman, pain-free, we want to know.

You might have a slipped disc ten years ago. So what? You can read the specifics to why an entirely structural approach to pain is not good enough. Research tells us spinal degeneration and “slipped disc” both have a weak correlation with back pain. They are more likely natural age-associated changes. Why then are healthcare providers consistently lying to patients by telling them their back pain is coming from their “slipped” disc?

If that’s not enough, we know slipped disc resorbs itself over time (Clinical Rehabilitation, 2015). Wow, right? 

Disc degeneration is a normal progression of ageing. A lot of people have disc degeneration WITHOUT any symptoms!

A massive study from 2015 looking at 3110 asymptomatic individuals found that spinal degeneration progressively increases with age (American Journal of Neuroradiology). What was previously thought of as “wear and tear” is now – by best evidence – archaic, pejorative, and inaccurate (yes, those exact words were used in Rheumatology, 2018).

This is what best evidence says. Sure, your slipped disc can hurt. No, it is unlikely and it should not be yours or my top priority. You can have a full, functional, and happy life with the right care – if you so desire.


1 in 3 people WITHOUT back pain has a “slipped disc”!

MRI To Diagnose Back Pain

MRI referral for back pain is an epidemic. They do not help with recovery most of the time! Imaging findings have such poor correlation with back pain that medical organisations around the world are frantically pushing for doctors to dramatically reduce MRI studies referrals since as early as 2011 (Annals of Internal Medicine). Maybe you think less MRI referrals = less insurance payouts and less strain on the public health system? Yes, you are right but it is not entirely just that.

Patients with back pain who have had imaging studies done experienced a worse sense of well-being (Radiology, 2005) and were eight times more likely to opt for surgery (Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2010). The difference is REAL for you.

It is a lose-lose situation. Even for you.

p.s. MRI studies are useful when clinically indicated. It is invaluable for diagnosing life-threatening conditions such as cauda equina syndrome. You can read more about when MRI is appropriate here.

Good Chiropractors in Singapore For Back Pain

An accurate diagnosis is not good enough anymore.

In musculoskeletal care, clinical excellence is the minimum requirement. A health professional’s true intention to help you live your life the way you want is what separates a good chiropractor from other healthcare providers.

It is what you deserve.

So many of us claim to care about you as an individual, but when was the last time someone took the time to explain what does your condition mean to you. Specific to your unique circumstances – based on not just the best evidence but also what truly matters to you.

The Doctor-Patient Dialogue

It’s high time we start looking at you (patients and prospective patients alike) holistically and put your values and preferences alongside our clinical expertise and the best research evidence. (Not coincidentally, the three pillars of evidence-based practice.) In the rush and hurry of living in the 21st century, healthcare providers stopped listening to what you desire (as a patient). This is unacceptable.

I am guilty of doing so on more than several occasions. I genuinely apologise.

Do you know the average doctor interrupts you just after 23 seconds (Journal of American Medical Association, 1999)? The amount of time taken for patients to complete their opening statement was only 32 seconds.

We are all imperfect. But Square One is prepared to change and to listen.

You First, Always

Research guides us as healthcare providers to administer best-evidence care. This not limited to just the best techniques and modalities. It also includes the relationship we build with you, and how we can – in intangible ways – help you get more than pain relief.

Don’t settle for less. Let us help you with #WhatReallyMatters to you.

MRIs are no good for your back pain. The “slipped” discs you have been blaming for years? Probably not their fault, really. Find yourself a good chiropractor in Singapore today. Discover the difference the right care can make. If you have any questions, please talk to me.