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Research says feeling better in the short-term does not indicate better recovery

In Singapore, we tend to chase ‘results’ or ‘outcomes’. Sometimes, perhaps a little too much.

When it comes to your physical health though, research says it’s better to focus on the process.

A paper published in December 2019 found:

  • Changes in pain location is NOT linked to better recovery outcomes
  • Feeling better (i.e. less pain) within a session DOES NOT indicate better chances of recovery
  • Improvements from visit to visit DOES NOT mean the patient is going to keep getting better

Reference: Are within and/or between session improvements in pain and function prognostic of medium and long-term improvements in musculoskeletal problems?

That doesn’t mean the improvements are NOT real!

It’s not uncommon for people to experience visit-to-visit improvements – these changes are REAL.

For clients who are feeling better, you ARE indeed indeed getting better.

What this paper is saying is that this doesn’t mean the end is near for you. Because … Like I would always tell all my clients …

Recovery is NON-LINEAR

recovery graph, chiropractor singapore
Most of us expect recovery to follow a linear pattern. You’ll get better from visit to visit. This is not true. Recovery follows a non-linear pattern. This is why it’s important to focus on the process!

There are a lot of chiropractors and other therapists who market very heavily that they can ‘cure pain’ instantly.

They often utilise before-after video testimonials within the same session.

Research tells us that it doesn’t matter if you feel better after each session. It doesn’t indicate that you are indeed that you are going to keep getting better or that your pain wouldn’t come back.

Such claims are NOT realistic and not align to evidence-based practice. They prey on our misled expectations of immediate results.

How often do I need to see a chiropractor?

Again, nobody really knows.

I can tell you from our records that over 80% of our clients will only see us for 4 to 7 sessions.

I can tell you from research that an average patient sees a chiropractor 9 times/year with very good results.