Apr 112017

This time we are going to do something a little different, Alex and I will review the class as we took it together.  Alex regularly takes a strength training class with the Octagon equipment, and I regularly run on a treadmill.

Friday 10:15am Group Strength with Meredith at Nashua YMCA

cartoon holding barbellJohanna’s Comments: I avoid weights, I’m always nervous that I’ll hurt myself if I do it wrong and I’ve studied enough about musculature,  to know all the ways I could get hurt. I love running(very slowly), so I knew this class would be a challenge to me. I selected the lightest possible weights with the opinion, I can use heavier ones next time.  I made the right call, as we did 100+ reps of some of the exercises. No region of muscles was missed.

When we showed up I asked the instructor what equipment we needed, it was obvious to me, that many of the people there had done the class before.  We grabbed a step board, yoga mat, pair of dumb bells(lots of weights available, I chose 3lbs each), bar bell, bar weights(I chose 2.75 & 5.5) and clips. Setting up over by the mirror was great, since I could check out my squat form. Meredith did a great job of calling out the different exercises and since there were so many reps, I was never really behind if I had to figure out what to do. She also gave the right amount of time and warning when we needed to change the weight on our barbell or switch equipment. There is a chance I was the most clueless of everyone n the class and I certainly did the least amount of weight(far less than the seniors in the class). Never did I notice anyone looking at me like I shouldn’t be there and Meredith encouraged us to come back.

This class was a lot of fun, extremely challenging and something I will do any, possibly weekly until it becomes easy. According to a friend the workout style is called Body Pump and I should expect to cry over climbing up stairs tomorrow.

Alex’s Comments: I like lifting weights, I find it to be a fun way to exercise, but I don’t really enjoy doing it alone.  It’s more satisfying, to have someone with you, to cheer you on, to spur you into that one last set, but that might be because I’m competitive, stubborn, and sarcastic. I lift once a week (more often than not I’ll get in a session once or twice a week on my own), in a class at the Y around the equipment called “The Octagon”.  We’ve been focusing on, form, heavier lifting, in 3 sets of 12 repetitions.  Accompanied by some cardio, some stretching, and resistance against our own body weight.  This Group Class, was as different to my Octagon class as sprinting is to a marathon.  In one hour, we do 9 sets of different exercises designed to improve strength and stamina.

Entering the class, our instructor asked us to grab a bar, and some weights.  I almost dropped the bar when I picked it up, because it weighed next to nothing.  I was expecting a 45lbs bar, not a bar best measured in ounces.  I grabbed my usual weight amounts, assuming that with the lighter bar they would be enough for a simple class.  Was I ever wrong.  After my first set of reps started, I counted until I hit 12, then we kept going.  Easily did 100 repetitions for each exercise grouping.  Some of them involved holding a pose with your arms extended for 30 seconds, was I ever glad that the bar didn’t weigh 45lbs.  30 seconds is a long time, even if you’re only at a third of your usual weight amounts.  I debated swapping my weights out, to be more in line with the rest of the class.  But, I’m stubborn.  I enjoyed the class, it was more cardio vascular exercise, with weights attached to your hands, than it was weight lifting.  Which made it challenging.  I’ll be back, because it was a different form of workout, and I’m too stubborn to quit.  Even if I hate planking.

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Mar 142017

How are you faring with the blizzard outside?

Here are 5 simple things you can do to reduce injury while clearing snow.

1. Hydrate! Water or herbal tea. It’s cold and it’s windy, you likely won’t sweat or feel it if you sweat. Even mild dehydration mixed with heavy physical activity can increase fatigue, and increase perceived effort. Snow removal is hard enough, why make it feel even harder?
2. Warm Up Exercises: Would you do a high intensity workout without a warm up? Shoveling or Snow Blowing are high intensity exercise. Before heading outside do one round of the pointer exercise.

Pointer: Start with hands and knees on the ground. Slowly raise the right leg and left arm. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Slowly bring them back to the floor and raise your left leg and right arm and hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 10 times.


3. Traction: Does your footwear have traction? If not, do you have microspikes to add to them? It might be too late for this storm, but if you live in New Hampshire, it might not be a bad investment in having a pair with your winter gear. Be careful. Falls can cause more structural injuries than just simple bruises. Pulled muscles, out of alignment hips, and rotator cuff sprains.
4. Small Chunks: Don’t forget to take breaks, come inside, warm up, drink water, eat a healthy snack. The goal is to finish but there is no medal at the end to compete for. Remember, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
5. Stretch & Soak: Don’t forget post activity care. Stretch out areas that tightened up while working, soak in a hot tub with 1-3 cups of Epson salts, then stretch your legs, back and shoulders.

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 Posted by at 4:56 pm
Feb 132017

Last Friday Dr. Johanna had the opportunity to experience a cycle class at All Out Cycle to benefit Girls On the Run.

(added 2/6/2018: Support Carolina’s Boston Marathon fundraising for Impact Melanoma)

The class was led by a staff trainer, Valerie, and lasted approximately 50 minutes. When I arrived, I had to register for the class, as I hadn’t done so online. I picked out my bike for the class as well. Apparently most people there liked to hide in the back. Valerie helped myself and a few others unfamiliar with the bikes, with adjusting for seat height, handle bar distance, and pedal clips. Valerie’s shoes clipped into the pedals, she attached straps to the pedals for me to strap to my sneakers. Taking the time to help with the bike set up, was a great help at putting the new experience in a new location awkwardness at ease.

As for the actual class, the lights went down, so being in the back didn’t matter. Valerie was pretty much the only one you could see. We turned on the small monitors on the bikes that synced up with Valerie’s bike, and kept track of our relative distances with each other. We went through a routine that my friend had designed, that was as close to biking a 7 mile race without leaving your spot. Valerie did a great job explaining each change of the routine along with making everyone feel comfortable. Due to a meniscus injury last year, I found position two cycling, standing on the cycle, was more difficult and opted to stay seated for most of those parts of the class. I never felt out of place or singled out for doing so. I never felt in anyway as I was failing at the exercise because I had difficulty with some of the activities. I absolutely felt challenged. The music helped get through the moments when I’d look at the timer on my bike and calculate how much longer I had.

Overall I had a great experience and will likely be back again. I recommend trying this out, a lot more fun than sitting on a bike at the gym alone and more social than playing the dragon catching game on my bikes at the YMCA. As of writing this post, there is a code to try a free class on their website.  The regular cost for the class is $17, and at that price, I’m sure I’ll be back to take the class again.

Important things to know before you go. Booking online will likely speed up your check in process. Bring a water bottle, you are going to need it. If you forget, they have bottles for sale there. Sweating happened for all of us, they have towels to grab(and hampers to ditch them in). I didn’t check out the bathroom to see if they have showers. Ask for a seat pad. I saw them innocently sitting on a bench by the door to the studio, but failed to ask for one. That would be my one regret, many of the regulars have pants designed with padding already, my natural padding was not enough.

Christine is running the Boston Marathon this April and raising money for Girls on the Run.  This class was a fundraiser to help her raise money, I’ll make sure to support Christine’s continued fundraising through fitness classes.

Do you have a fitness class you want Dr. Johanna to review? Contact the office with details.

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 Posted by at 1:19 pm
Jan 262017

“Excuse me, but why did you pin more fabric on that shoulder than you pinned on the other side?”

Lori Del Genis of http://www.afinelikeness.com/ assisting a bride with a dress Lori designed.

I asked a seamstress back in 2001, as she pulled up the fabric and pinned it over my shoulder. I was not aware that one of my shoulders was higher than the other.  Or that this was even be a thing that could happen. The seamstress dismissed my question, because in her words “Honey, it’s like that on everyone”. Flash forward a few years, I had started chiropractic care, and my next gown did not need that alteration.  My shoulders, were the same height and in alignment.

Uneven shoulders can be an indication of a structural shift in your body. A structural shift is an abnormal alignment, a motion that causes stress on your body. That stress takes away from your body’s ability to deal with, or adapt to the outside stress of your life.

Someone with a structural shift might experience headaches, neck pain and stiffness, low back pain, and other secondary conditions. Consider the alignment of your car tires. If the alignment has shifted, not only will your tires wear out faster and unevenly, but driving could require more effort as you have to compensate for the pull of the wheel.

The best way to determine if you have a structural shift is to try Neurostructural Chiropractic.  Call Catalyst Chiropractic today to schedule your complimentary consultation to discuss if you have a Neurostructural Shift. 603-791-0222.

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 Posted by at 9:45 am
Oct 312016

74521_442476871852_5637341_nHalloween is a lot of fun with dressing up and meeting all of your neighbors. The downside is dealing with the fallout of too much candy. While some children may do a good job saving and slowly eating their Halloween candy, others will want to eat it all at once. This leads to tummy aches, crankiness as their body attempts to balance out sugar spikes, increased inflammation and of course potential dental issues later on. If your child has had dental work, they may have restrictions on what kinds of candy they can eat adding to the problem. Just taking the candy away with the accurate but to a small child nebulous “It’s bad for you” will likely lead to tantrums and a bad case of the “I wants”.

In our household we have the Switch haloween-1749788_640Witch. After trick or treating, we let the boys pick out 5 pieces of candy to keep, along with any non-candy treats. The rest is left out for the Switch Witch. After they go to bed, we remove the candy offering and replace it with a toy.

The boys are excited with a new Halloween surprise toy, and we donate the now massive amount of candy to adults in need of a quick pick me up. The kids still have a few pieces of candy left to enjoy and we know by the end of the week the Halloween chaos will be a fading memory.
As a note for those that would like to make the life of many parents easier, there are many non-candy options out there. It may be too late for this year but you might want to consider it for next year.

Halloween Ducks
Temporary Tattoos
Bags of Pretzals
Organic Raisins (Okay my children may be the only ones that get excited over raisins)

Hal and Jack dressed as Firemen

At Saturdays Walk for Whiskers to benefit the Nashua Humane Society

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 Posted by at 10:20 am
Oct 192016
Simple ankle sprains, the ones that you “walk off” or heal in less than two weeks are rarely properly rehabilitated.  Often once the pain is gone and you are able to resume normal use, the problem is considered gone, until the next time it happens.  This guide is to help strengthen your ankles to avoid a repeat sprain.

Before we start to discuss rehab, let’s look at the anatomy of an ankle sprain.  The most common ankle sprains are Inversion Sprains. Wherein you stretch the lateral ligaments of the foot, or in more common terms. The injury happens with the foot turned in, damaging the ligaments on the outside of your foot. Most commonly is the anterior talofibular ligament.  Typically with these sprains there may be minor or no swelling at all.

Below are some suggestions for strengthening the ankles to avoid re-injury. These are not for treatment immediately following an acute sprain. If you have an acute sprain contact a healthcare professional for the best type of treatment for your injury. These instructions can also help improve balance.

Test for your starting point:

 one foot

Stand on 1 foot for up to 60 seconds.  Stop as soon as you start to wobble or become unstable.  Note the length of time.  Then, repeat the exercise with the other foot.  If the amount of time was less than 60 seconds start at Beginner, if more than 60 seconds go to Intermediate.

Note: For safety always do these exercises near a wall or chair you can hold onto, if you suddenly need support.  This exercise is best done barefoot if possible.

Rehab Beginner:

3-4 Times a day: attempt to stand on each foot for up to 60 seconds.  If you start to wobble consistently, put the other foot down, rest for 30-60 seconds and try again.  You are likely to have small wobbles during this exercise those are OK but remember the goal is to strengthen the ankle and large wobbles might re-injure it instead.

Once you can stand on each ankle for 60 seconds without wobbles move to the Intermediate level.

Rehab Intermediate:

3-4 times a day attempt to stand on each foot for 60 seconds with your eyes closed. Everything is the same as the Beginner exercise except you will have your eyes closed.

Once you can stand on each ankle for 60 seconds without wobbles move to the next level.

Rehab Advanced: with variations

Start with same exercises as above on an uneven surface such as a Balance Pad.

Variations are: Doing the exercise with eyes closed; holding weights in hands; or moving arms in circles while holding weights

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Oct 052016

A week ago I began looking into some group classes at the local YMCA. I’m still looking for suggestions and I’ll share my experiences here.

Images of track laps, black and white with fogSo far this week I have taken advantage of the convenient indoor jogging track.  The track is on the second floor (stair or elevator access), with 3 lanes on the second floor of the building. It loops around the cardio equipment , weights, and overlooks the basketball court and pool on each side  Nine(9) laps of the track is equal to one mile.  There are signs that state which direction traffic is moving in, and the lanes are labeled depending on your speed (Walk, Jog, Run).

Good things

  • I did not experience any kind of “traffic” on the track. While others were using it, there was plenty of room for everyone. Everyone on the track respected the direction of the day.
  • There are easy to access lockers on the second floor for those that just want a place to lock a jacket while they walk.
  • Due to the layout and climate control, if you just need a walk, you don’t need to change, but I do recommend sneakers. This is a great place to just get in a mile walk for health. If you have concerns about needing a nearby bathroom when exercising, there are restrooms located on the same floor as the track.
  • This is a great alternative to a treadmill, more interesting in my opinion and better for balancing muscle use. This will help keep my running exercise plan on track over the winter.
  • Tucked to the side near the basketball court is a great small stretching area  to stretch and foam roll after a walk/run. There is a big spiderweb contraption with instructions for stretching, several floor mats and foam rollers.

For those that care, WiFi!

Other Notes

I have yet to figure out a good way, for me, to keep track of the number of laps, while running and following a run program. Today I saw an older woman carrying around a manual counter.  I’ve been using my phone stopwatch with a lap button, but I’m sure I’m missing laps as I forget to change screens.


GPS squiggles while on indoor track.

Actual distance run via counting laps: 1.89 miles

Skip using any GPS trackers, they won’t be accurate. Pokemon Go players, while you will get egg credit it will be less than you walked.

Due to the track being indoors.  I have the luxury to not worry about cars, and other road hazards.  Though, it would be nice if I could remember my headphones to listen to music while I run.



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 Posted by at 10:15 am
Sep 222016

706032_10151106238146853_349644133_oWelcome Autumn!  The leaves are changing, the nights are colder, and Catalyst Chiropractic is giving back to the community. From now until October 31st, $25 of every new patient exam will be donated to the Nashua Humane Society, or Liberty House (patients choice of course).



We’ve got a team together for the Walk for Whiskers on October 29th. Fall is a great time for outdoor walks, and Mines Falls Park will be ablaze with colorful leaves, come out and join us.  Wear a fun costume, and help animals in need.



lib_logoIn the office we are once again collecting donations until the end of October to help local veterans, here is the current wishlist. Liberty House, is a sober assistance home for Veterans located in Manchester, NH. Liberty House has 10 residential beds in their transitional facility. Along with housing, they also support veterans in the community with employment/housing assistance, case management, agency referrals, a food pantry and supplies for those veterans still homeless.

12096098_10152999129826853_5959565222983524873_nWith falling leaves comes raking or wearing heavy leaf blowers. A neurostructural shift can make it difficult to enjoy the weather after all the chores are done. Call the office today to schedule your complementary consultation and help out a good cause.



Pictures are of our sons Hal and Jack from various years enjoying fall.

 Posted by at 4:09 pm
Sep 122016

vote-1278871_640Reminder:  The office will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday Sept 12th.  Dr. Johanna is Nashua’s Ward 8 Clerk and she’ll be helping oversee the Bicentennial Polling location.

Tuesday is the NH state primary.  This election helps decides who represents each party for many of the local positions such as Governor.

Nashua Residents, Where do I vote?

All other NH Residents.

Don’t forget your ID and remember you can register to vote at the polls.

 Posted by at 2:05 pm
Jul 052016

One of the common comments we hear at Catalyst Chiropractic, is reports of an increased speed of recovery. After a month of care, people have excitedly announced that they were bouncing back from exertion faster.  They had worked out in the yard the day before, or pushed hard to reach a new goal at the gym, and they had expected a morning filled with pain and uncomfortable moments.  Upon waking up, they felt only minimal discomfort and had no stiffness in their limbs.  The only thing that had changed in their routine, was adding Chiropractic to their life.  In the weeks since, they’ve continued to have these results and have been able to push themselves harder and farther than before.

One patient told us about volunteering at a charity event.  They had walked 3-4 times as many steps as they normally do.  And that the year before when they volunteered, they took 3 days to recover from the exertion.  This year, they were able to get out and do some much needed yard work the next day. lawn-mower-938555_1920

What if you could do more with your day?  What if what once tired you out, was now only a milestone that you passed by and kept going?  Does you spouse need Sunday to recover from a Saturday of yard work?

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 Posted by at 4:12 pm