Full Potential Living - The Official Blog of Amoskeag Chiropractic & Amherst Family Chiropractic

Ice or Heat? That is the Question!

Posted: August 26, 2019
By: Melissa Nichol



Did you get hurt during your workout, shoveling, doing yard work, etc.? It’s time to grab the heating pad… or the ice pack… or both—who even knows! There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to using heat or cold to help treat common exercise and home injuries like strains, sprains, pulled muscles, shin splits, knee injuries and tenderness. Let’s put an end to it once and for all! Here’s your temperature care breakdown, so you know when it’s time to sing a song of fire or one of ice.

Ice, Ice, Baby

As a general rule, always choose ice for injuries and inflammation. Cold restricts blood flow and reduces inflammation and swelling. Whenever there’s bleeding in underlying tissue—think sprains, strains or bruising—ice treatment is the way to go. You can use cold therapy in two ways: immediate or rehabilitation.

Immediate treatment: helps prevent the injured area from becoming stiff by reducing tissue fluid.

Rehabilitation: aims to restore normal function to an affected area by reducing pain and spasms, which in turn allows for better movement.

If you have bad circulation, then cold therapy probably isn’t for you. If you apply ice for too long (or directly!) then skin, tissue or nerve damage becomes a possibility. Folks with cardiovascular disease should always consult with their doctor before using cold therapy.

20 minutes of constant application per hour is recommended.  Do not put ice/icepack directly on the skin, preferably under a thin, cold, moist cloth.

Turn Up the Heat

Usually, heat is the best method for relaxing—whereas ice restricts blood vessels, heat opens them, increasing blood flow to an affected area. This is perfect for most aches and pains, and it’s also really great for repairing damaged tissue since increased blood flow stimulates healing. Minor stiffness and tension can usually be relieved with about 15-20 minutes of heat therapy.

10 Reasons Why Not To See A Chiropractor

Posted: August 15, 2019
By: Melissa Nichol

If you’re looking for reasons not to visit a chiropractor, here are 10!

1. You don’t have a spine. If you’re born sans spine, there’s really no need to worry about spinal degeneration, is there?

2. Your body defies gravitational forces. Gravity has a profound effect on the body and its position in space.  Gravity acts on the body to create force on our joints.  The health of your joints and all basic biomechanical concepts for human health are related to gravity and alignment.

3. If you can’t see your spine, it must be fine. Skin, eyes, hair, teeth… These obvious “in your face” body parts are important because they are the ones you see the most. If a healthy spine was really that important, it wouldn’t be in the back right?

4. You love your medications. Taking risks makes life more enjoyable! What’s not to love about Dizziness, Headaches, Dry Mouth, Constipation, Seizures, Cancer or even early Death… What we are saying is “What’s not to like about side effects?”

5. Your insurance doesn’t pay for it. ‘Cause you know, MONEY is for important stuff like Netflix, Cell Phones, Cigarettes, Starbucks. If your insurance plan doesn’t cover chiropractic, then maybe chiropractic care just isn’t necessary?

6. Chiropractors don’t prescribe drugs. Why would you want to go to a doctor who doesn’t think you need another prescription? (See #4)

7. Chiropractors expect you to keep seeing them. How ridiculous is that? Next thing your chiropractor will say is that you must keeping brushing your teeth daily, eating healthy and exercising regularly (over and over) if you really want to get the benefits of such activities.

8. Speaking of health, Chiropractors think lifestyle factors such as “stress” can make you sick. Apparently they’re not aware of bad genes. Everybody knows you only get sick because disease runs in the family.

9. Chiropractors expect you to do stuff at home. Gross. They want you to make time for rest, exercise, and stretching. On top of that, they think you should change your diet by eliminating processed foods. Evidently they don’t understand how busy you are…

10. You’re impervious to mistakes. Who are we kidding, You’re healthy. You eat just fine, and there’s nothing wrong with the way you’re living. Even if your “habits” are making you gain weight and age prematurely, that’s none of the doctor’s business! The doctor’s job is to get you out of pain so you can get back to doing the things that made you sick in the first place.

5 Ways To Stop The Midday Slump

Posted: July 15, 2019
By: Melissa Nichol



Do you ever feel your energy level take a big dip right after lunch? Sometimes, even when you felt refreshed and energized in the morning, you start to drag in the early to mid-afternoon.  Who hasn’t?! But don’t worry, there is hope! Try out some of these tricks to avoid the afternoon slump and finish out the rest of your day feeling like a champ.


  1. Smell a grapefruit. OK, we admit that this sounds a bit odd, but it’s true! Citrus fruits are known to help awaken or liven the senses. Slice up a few pieces of lemon or lime and drop them into your water, or snack on a grapefruit. You could also keep some lemon or grapefruit essential oil on hand and dab it on your wrists right after lunch.
  2. Eliminate white flour at lunch. If you often feel like curling up under your desk following your lunch break, it may be the food you just enjoyed. Many people (an estimated 6 to 7 percent of the population, around 20 million Americans) are sensitive to gluten which can cause headaches and fatigue after eating wheat and rye grains. And even those who are not sensitive to gluten can still feel ill effects from consuming carbs.

The white flour in your sandwich, wrap or pizza has gone through extensive processing which turned the grains into simple carbohydrates. These carbs are quickly converted into glucose which sends the signal for insulin to grab the glucose from your bloodstream and store it for future energy supply—depleting your current energy for several hours. Try eliminating white flour or bread from your lunch one day and see if you experience the same crash you typically do. If you don’t, then try to keep your processed carbohydrate intake to a minimum for a couple weeks. You may find that you feel much better.

  1. Take a lap. Get up and get moving after lunch; especially if you’re one of the 75 percent of working Americans who have a sedentary job. Don’t have much time? No problem. Research shows that a brisk 10-minute walk boosts your metabolism, heart rate and blood pressure—which can energize you for up to two hours. You also increase the production of serotonin and dopamine, so you’ll not only feel more energy, but you feel happier, too. Added bonus: If the sun is out, you’ll increase your body’s production of vitamin D, which fights off fatigue.
  2. Guzzle a glass of H2O. Many people don’t drink enough water during the day—and it can be easy to forget when you’re consumed with other tasks. When your body is dehydrated, the oxygen flow to the brain decreases and your heart has to work harder to get oxygen to the rest of your body, which can cause an increase in fatigue. Drink a full glass of water when you feel like it’s time for a nap.
  3. Sit up. Are you literally slumping over at your desk? Cut it out! Not only is this putting strain on your spine, but it is causing your muscles to work double-time and use up extra energy. You should be sitting with your shoulders back and your ears should be above your shoulders (every inch your head is forward creates an extra 10 pounds of weight and pressure on your spine). Ask Dr. Ed or Dr. Rob for more tips on the best way to sit in a chair.

5 Ways to Help Prevent “Text Neck”

Posted: May 8, 2019
By: Melissa Nichol



“Text Neck” is a modern age term used to describe a repeated stress injury and a pain in the neck area that results from excessive watching or texting on a hand held device over a sustained period of time.  Around 87% of children (14-18 years old) and 92% of adults (18-34 years old) in the United States own a cell phone.  THIS IS A HUGE CONCERN!  Why?  Because we are all constantly looking down at our computers, tablets and phones texting, watching YouTube, looking at social media, etc. Because of this constant stress on your spinal cord you may experience not just neck pain, but also shoulder pain, upper back pain, headaches and increased thoracic kyphosis.

How do you prevent “Text Neck” from taking over?

1. Change how you hold your phone

Hold your device at eye level so your head is not slouched forward or too high. Instead, keep a neutral spine so your ear is in line with your shoulders. This will keep you from holding a forward-head posture for a prolonged period of time.



2. Take phone breaks

Frequent breaks from the screen can help, even if it’s just two to three minutes every hour. Set reminders on your phone or computer, or use a sticky note. These small cues can make a huge difference.

3. Try the Text Neck app

There’s a Text Neck app for Android that offers “immediate real time feedback” about your posture (indicated by a green or red light). There’s also an optional vibration or beep reminder to tell you when you’ve lapsed back into bad habits.

4. If you experience prolonged pain, see a pro

If you experience prolonged pain, get adjusted!  Getting adjusted on a regular basis can help relieve pain and address the structural issues that text neck creates over time. And they might be onto something. A 2007 review pointed to chiropractic care as one of the major nonpharmacological therapies considered effective for acute and chronic neck and back pain.

5. Get up and MOVE

Going along the same lines of taking a break from your devices, you need to move!  Doing 10 minutes of yoga or going for a short walk can also help!  This will not only get you to put the devices down, but to help get you moving to support your spine and nervous system.



  1. Neupane S, Ifthikar Ali UT, Mathew A. Text-Neck Syndrome- Systemic review.Imperial journal of Interdisciplinary Research 2017;3(7):141-148
  2.  Vate-U-Lan P. Text Neck Epidemic: A growing problem for smart phone users in Thailand. Proceedings of the twelfth internaitonal conference ofn eLearining for Knowledge based society; 2015 December 11-12; Thailand
  3. Toh SH, Coenen P, Howie EK, Straker LM. The associations of mobile touch screen device use with Musculoskeletal symptoms and exposures: A systematic review. PLoS One 2017; 12(8)
  4.  Hansraj KK. Assessment of stresses in the cervical spine caused by posture and position of the head. Surgical technology interantional 2014
  5. Shar D, Mohandoss M, Ranganathan R, Jose J. Musculoskeletal disorders of upper extremities due to extensive usage of hand held devices. Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2014; 26(22)


How Did Chiropractic Get Started?

Posted: April 30, 2019
By: Melissa Nichol


                                                                             D.D. Palmer                                              Harvey Lillard


September 18th, 1895 a gentleman named Daniel David Palmer, D.D. for short, was working in his office as the janitor came in to do his cleaning.  This Janitor’s name is Harvey Lillard.  Now Harvey had partially lost his hearing about 17 years prior when heard a “pop” in his upper back while working.  D.D. convinced a reluctant Harvey to let him examine his spine.  Upon D.D.’s examination of Harvey’s spine he noticed that a vertebra had been dislodged from its natural position.  D.D. reasoned that if the vertebra was restored to its natural position then Harvey’s hearing would be restored.  That’s exactly what D.D. did.  He performed a specific spinal adjustment restoring Harvey’s misaligned vertebra to it’s natural position.  Shortly thereafter Harvey began to notice that he could hear the racket of the wagons outside and the ticking of the clock!  His hearing had been restored!

Why did this work?

In simplest terms, a subluxation (a.k.a. Vertebral Subluxation) is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the nerves that come out from between each of the bones in your spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves.

How does this affect you? Your nervous system controls and coordinates all the functions of your body. If you interfere with the signals traveling over nerves, parts of your body will not get the proper nerve messages and will not be able to function at 100% of their innate abilities. In other words, some part of your body will not be working properly. It is the responsibility of the Doctor of Chiropractic to locate subluxations, and reduce or correct them. This is done through a series of chiropractic adjustments specifically designed to correct the vertebral subluxations in your spine. Chiropractors are the only professionals who undergo years of training to be the experts at correcting subluxations.

The Path Of Least Resistance

Posted: September 6, 2011
By: Dr Edward Rusher
“Following the path of least resistance is what makes rivers and men crooked” –B.J. Palmer.
There is usually not a day that goes by that I don’t hear someone talking about how the United States of America is losing its greatness as a nation or that it is going to “hell in a hand basket.” You know as I see it, it’s not just what’s happening on Capital Hill with the politicians, turmoil, and corruption or on Main Street with the loss of jobs to cheaper labor. This loss of greatness has carried over to every part of our lives including our health.
We all have read or heard about the obesity epidemic in our society. And that is just one disease we can’t physically hide when it comes our state of health. I was reading not too long ago on a well known news website that fifty percent of Americans will have diabetes by the year 2020!!* That’s only nine years from now! What is truly sad about that statistic is that it is completely avoidable. We all know this! So then why can we not change our ways? So called “health care” costs continues to rise with no end in sight. And by the way “healthcare” has very little to do with health and everything to do treating emergencies, sickness and diseases of modern day which are completely avoidable through lifestyle modification.
Following the path of least resistance when it comes to our health has resulted in a society that is sick, fat, depressed, stressed, and “sick and tired of feeling sick and tired”, however, lack any motivation to the take path of most resistance. We have been programmed to “take this for that” and when “diet and exercise aren’t enough” to take “that for this”. When you practice good lifestyle habits like eating a wholesome and clean diet, exercising, and making sure your nervous system is free from interference, you will achieve better health. You’re giving you’re body what it NEEDS and nurturing those needs, and guess what? You should be doing that everyday if you truly want to be healthier! Health isn’t a destination; you don’t practice healthy habits, get “healthy” then just stop what you’ve been doing once you get there – you have to work at your health everyday; if not you’re simply succumbing to the path of least resistance. Only you can determine how valuable you’re health is to you. If you don’t like it, change it – your health is what you make of it.
Choose Wisely!
Dr. Ed and Dr. Alissa
*Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development 

Are You Normal People?

Posted: July 30, 2011
By: Dr Alissa

Sadly, this is the reality of “health care” in this country, for the most part. I use “health care” loosely as we do not have such a system that exists; we have a SICK care system in place. As a majority, this nation has the following belief system: wait for crisis (pain, disease, organ failure etc) THEN take action with addressing it. It’s a reactive, not a pro-active or preventative approach. Our SICK-care system operates on this basic premise: in order for you to even take your Blue Cross and Blue Shield card out of your wallet, you’re waiting for there to be a problem! Then off we go to see our medical professional who will listen to our symptoms, treat us according to our symptoms (“Hey doc, just make the pain go away, I don‘t care what‘s causing it“), give us a diagnosis, and more times than not, a prescription (or multiple). We are electing to allow for problems; pain, sickness, disease to set and fester into our bodies before we take action on it, does this sound like “health” care to you? As a country we are waiting for crisis in order to action, to regain and restore what has already been lost!

Then the “solution” is: swallowing down a bunch of pills, go get physical therapy (maybe), get injections, nerve blocks, or if all else fails just cut some parts out. Wow. Do you honestly think a prescription for your migraine, or that pain killer for your low back pain made you any healthier? Did it address the CAUSE of your symptoms? Does it have a GPS inside of it to tell it to travel just to where your head hurts or does that pill circulate through your entire body? It goes everywhere! So is that migraine medication good for all your other organs? NO! What happens to all of your other healthy/asymptomatic (pain free) organs if then have to break down and metabolize something that isn’t intended for it? Other problems will arise eventually, that is what this cartoon is talking about!

So what’s the solution? Go back to our medical professional to get another prescription and repeat this entire process. This is an illustration of insanity. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Don’t be insane, start taking ownership of your health and make better decisions. So in order for us to have a different outcome, we need to change our belief system; we need to change what we believe in, in order to take action. Think about it and take responsibility for your health, YOU are the one who gets to make the choices about what you eat, what you do, if you get adjusted, if you exercise, etc. What choices are you making?

“Whatever you do, you must remain nimble in your thinking. Do not become so attached to any one belief that you cannot see past it to another possibility.”  -Christopher Paolini

Yours In Health,

Dr. Alissa




The Battle Mechanism vs. Vitalism

Posted: July 21, 2011
By: Dr. Alissa

"In the left corner of the ring we have Mechanism and in the right corner of the ring is the heavy weight champion Vitalism...let's get ready to rumble!"

Ok, so that may be a little bit of a stretch but in reality these are the two schools of thought when it comes to how people view "health". Each model sees you and your health challenge differently, so are you a mechanist or a vitalist? Let's find out!

The Mechanists:
The established "health" care model sees the body as a machine. With parts that wear out or need attention. It has spawned a variety of disciplines that look at your "parts." Examples include: Internists, Urologists, Cardiologists, Orthopedists etc.
Intervention often involves drugs to change the function of the body by artificially changing blood chemistry and or surgery to remove and or address what's "broken". It's an "outside in" approach.

The Vitalists:
Are holistic and recognize the interactivity of the mind, body and spirit. Because you are self-healing, vitalists see you as greater than the sum of your parts. Examples include: Chiropractors (of course), Acupuncturists, Homeopaths, Naturopaths etc. Care from these disciplines is designed to help restore your body's balance and integrity. It's an "inside out approach" all healing comes from the inside-out.

Chiropractors are "nervous system specialists" who remove subluxations (sub-la what?!) Subluxations are when 2 or more vertebrae (spinal bones) have lost their normal motion and/or position. This can interrupt normal nerve flow and that's a concern because your nervous system controls and coordinates every cell, tissue, and organ of your body...yeah, it's that important!

Nerve compression can exist without pain. Aches or pains are merely signs of some other underlying problem. Often by the time that pain symptoms start to appear the problem may have already been present for months or even years. Think about when a person has a heart attack or a stroke – they don’t actually feel their arteries blocking up and usually don’t know anything is wrong until it’s too late. Pain killer’s and anti-inflammatory’s (MECHANISTIC) can cover up the symptoms but don’t get to the core of the problem. (Drugs are just expensive and dangerous band-aids after all.) By masking the symptoms it allows the problem to continue to develop silently until there is a major health crisis. It's like shutting off an alarm system in your home when a burglar is in it.

The chiropractor’s job is to locate and correct spinal interference, subluxation, so your nervous system can perform at it’s own optimal level (VITALISM). Chiropractors assist in the innate/inborn healing process of the body by re-establishing the nerve flow back to it’s optimal level via the adjustment.

Remember this: "The power that made the body is the power that heals the body." -B.J. Palmer, D.C

Time to take the boxing gloves off for now.

Until next time,
Dr. Alissa