Category Archives: Student Health Guru
General health questions answered, healthcare myth busting and important public health announcements provided by Student Health Services, Psychiatric Services, Health & Wellness Peers and Pharmacy.
Are you one of those sitting a lot, not taking stretching breaks, constantly wearing a heavy backpack, or not exercising much? If yes, you may have noticed that back or neck pain has become a frequent guest. Even though you might be ignoring it, your body is actually trying to tell you something. It is time for you to start thinking about your posture when you sit, stand, sleep, and carry heavy backpacks or bags that might be weighing more than is healthy for your spine.
The danger is that if you keep ignoring the pain in your back and neck, your muscles will get strained or pulled and will stop supporting your spine correctly. Guess what- if your spine is not supported correctly, your vertebrae can get misaligned, nerves between the vertebrae can become pinched, and your brain will not be able to communicate with the body organs (how it usually does through the nervous system). This is not the news you want to hear about your spine and organs, right?
So how can you avoid the misalignment in your spine and say good-bye to the pain? There are a couple of good tips to consider:
- Exercise! Do it on a regular basis, not just weekends or when you have time. Exercise every day! Build up those back and neck muscles to help support the vertebrae and spinal ligaments.
- Maintain a healthy diet and weight. The less weight you are carrying around, the less stress you are putting on your back and neck joints and the less pain you will feel.
- Rest! Get a good night’s sleep every night, your muscles will be rejuvenated and ready for the next day.
- Relax! Take time to distress and become as stress free as possible; this will help those “knots” in your back.
- Keep good posture habits! Make sure that your back is straight, shoulders are squared, chin is up, chest is out, and stomach is in. If you can draw a straight line from your earlobe through your shoulder, hip, knee, to the middle of your ankle—–you’ve got it! To learn more about good posture, go to http://www.wikihow.com/Improve-Your-Posture
- When driving for long periods of time or sitting for extended hours, take stretch breaks, stand up and walk around at least once an hour.
- Avoid tucking the phone between your ear and shoulder and do not sleep on your stomach. This can cause stress and extra pressure on your cervical vertebrae and pinch nerves.
- Get lots of vitamin D and calcium. Your spine is made of bone so make sure you keep them strong!
- Lift with your knees bent, not from your back.
- Choose a well-padded backpack; wear it with both straps that are properly adjusted. It should weigh between 5-10 percent of your body weight- so keep excess items out of your bag!
College. Highlights for most students include meeting new friends, getting involved on campus and becoming socially engaged.
While college is a wonderful time for most students, some students may struggle. Distressed students may initially seek assistance from faculty, staff members, their parents and other students. They may be found in the classroom, at home or within residence halls.
UND Cares is a webpage that was created as a resource guide for parents, staff, faculty and students because UND cares about distressed students or students in need. The webpage can be used to gather information about campus resources, make referrals, and demonstrate how to help each other in time of need.
The webpage also helps students, faculty, staff and parents learn about the professional support se
rvices available to students on campus through the Dean of Students and University Counseling Center. Both are available to provide consultation about providing a student with the help that he or she may need.
“Sometimes we may be concerned about a student, a friend or a loved one and we don’t know what to do or who to call,” said Cara Halgren, UND associate vice president and dean of students. “If you are concerned about someone in our community, please call us. We can help.”
According to the UND 2012 American College Health Association – National College Heath Assessment, in the past year:
- 21.3 percent of UND students felt so depressed it was difficult to function.
- 6 .9 percent seriously considered suicide.
- 1.5 percent attempted suicide.
- More than 1 in 4 students indicated that stress interfered with their academic success.
Stress has been the No. 1 academic impact cited by UND students since the survey was started in 2000, according to the Dean of Students office.
Identifying warning signs of distress is the first step in knowing how to help. These can include:
- Significant changes in daily activities.
- Cut off or minimized contact with family or friends.
- Significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular or social activities.
- Problems that result from experiences with drinking or drugs.
- Withdrawn, volatile, tearful or emotional behavior
- Acting out of character
- Talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide
- Difficulty in concentrating or carrying on normal conversation
- Excessive dependence on others for company or support
- feeling out of control in regard to emotions, thoughts or behaviors
“At least one-tenth of the student population finds their way through our doors. Maybe they were encouraged, maybe they heard about the Counseling Center. Whatever brought them to us, the counseling center is here for you or someone you care about,” said Myron Veenstra, director of the UND Counseling Center.
Services at the UND Counseling Center are free and confidential for enrolled students.
“College can take a while to adjust to; it’s nice knowing that there are people out there that truly care about the hardships you are going through,” said UND student Kyle See-Rockers, president of Sigma Phi Epsilon.
The University of North Dakota has tools to help identify students with those warning signs. It’s important to know where to direct them for help. UND Cares can help improve a college career and even save a life.
“The safety and overall well-being of our campus is a responsibility that is shared by all university community members,” Eric Plummer, UND director of public safety and chief of police. “ Remember if you see something, say something in order for us to work together to make an exceptional UND.”
An Exceptional UND enriches the entire student experience, both inside the classroom
and out. High-risk alcohol and other drug use can compromise student health and wellness and
therefore, student learning. It’s important that we understand what all of us can do as a campus
community to help students make healthy choices. Conversations like this can help.
- Dr. Steve Light, UND Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
and Dr. Lori Reesor, Vice President for Student Affairs
The University of North Dakota is hosting two nationally renowned experts on campus-community alcohol and other drug issues, Dr. Jason Kilmer and Linda Major, for a series of presentations/open forums. We invite you to learn about what works for other campuses and be a part of the conversation on alcohol and other drug issues at UND.
Sunday, April 28th, 6:30 p.m.
Memorial Union Badlands Room
Pizza will be served.
Campus Community (faculty, staff, and students) Presentation/Conversation
Monday, April 29, 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Light lunch provided at 11:45 a.m. Presentation begins at noon.
Monday, April 29th, 4:00 p.m.
Memorial Union Badlands Room
Monday, April 29th, 7:00 p.m.
Grand Forks City Hall Council Chambers, 255 N 4th Street
Linda Major and Jason Kilmer
Linda Major currently serves as Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Director for the Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she is responsible for coordinating a comprehensive approach to address high-risk behaviors on the campus and in the community. Dr. Jason Kilmer currently works at the University of Washington as an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and serves as an investigator on several studies evaluating prevention and intervention efforts for alcohol and other drug use by college students.
These events are sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Health and Wellness Unit, Healthy UND Alcohol and Other Drugs Committee, UND Athletics, Dean of Students Office, Greek Life, Residence Services, and the University Police Department. The community presentation is sponsored by the City of Grand Forks, the Grand Forks Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and the University of North Dakota. For additional information contact the Health & Wellness Hub at 701.777.2097 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand Forks area residents are invited to attend an alcohol abuse prevention presentation and open forum by nationally renowned experts Linda Major and Jason Kilmer, at 7 p.m., Monday, April 29, in the Grand Forks City Hall Council Chambers, 255 N 4th Street.
Major and Kilmer will share information about what has worked on a national level and in other communities. Citizens will have an opportunity to voice concerns and learn how they can have an influence this issue in our community.
Members of the Grand Forks community have expressed increasing interest in alcohol-related concerns that face our community, particularly binge and underage drinking and their associated negative consequences.
“One reason we are a great community,” said Michael R. Brown, Mayor, “is that we actively promote the health and well-being of our residents. We appreciate this and future opportunities to partner with the University of North Dakota, the Grand Forks Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, and other community members on this important issue.”
Lori Reesor, UND Vice President for Student Affairs, explained, “It’s important that we understand what all of us can do as a campus and as a community to help encourage healthy choices. Conversations like this can help.”
Grand Forks Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition chairperson, Mary Lien stated “This is our town, these are our youth, and it’s about our community coming together to recognize the positive and change the negative impacts of the serious consequences of alcohol abuse. Let’s continue to build a better and healthier community for all residents.”
Linda Major and Jason Kilmer
Major currently serves as Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Director for the Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is responsible for coordinating a comprehensive approach to address high-risk behaviors on the campus and in the community.
Kilmer currently works at the University of Washington as an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and serves as an investigator on several studies evaluating prevention and intervention efforts for alcohol and other drug use by college students.