What Comes Next?

By Olivia Chamberland, MPH

Caps and gowns are all put away, goodbyes have been said, and celebrations continue…you have reached your goal, you have graduated…. But what now…..

Some of you already know what you are going to do, go on to graduate school or some form of higher education, maybe you’ll take some time to yourself to travel or relax, and maybe you already have an internship, or a job lined up. But you still can’t help but feel a little sense of sadness mixed in with the nervousness of the unknown aka the future. Afterall you just spent the past years studying, living on your own in a dorm room surrounded by a group of girls you called family. It was your home away from home.

Now you are on your own ready to take on the big scary, exciting world ahead of you, and you know what? You are going to do great things; you just don’t know it yet. How do I know? Because I have been there. I was in your shoes.

Growing up the plan was to get good grades, go to college, get a degree and graduate, but the plan stopped there. Why? Because it was up to me to figure out what after looked like. I had a tough time finding my footing and making my own path. It was a struggle trying to find a job right out of college. Some jobs required so much experience I should have started preparing when I was 7, or they required an advanced degree that I did not have. If I did land an interview, I was so nervous half the time, that I am surprised I remembered my name. There were a lot of tears when I did not get a job, and each rejection took a hard blow to my self-confidence, and it took on toll on my mental health. I felt lonely without the sorority, and feeling like I was apart of something. I felt like I was not good enough. But living at home with my parents helped a lot. They supported me and reminded me that I will get to where I want to be, and that I am good enough, I just have to be patient. I also started to see a therapist when I felt my mental health was starting to bring me down.

Looking back now, I am glad that I lived through it. I learned from my mistakes, and I learned what worked and what did not work. I tried, failed, and tried again, and through all this, I became resilient. Eventually, I got a temporary job at a health department as an administrative assistant. It wasn’t the dream job I wanted, but it gave me the experience I needed for my resume. That job eventually lead to another job, and before I knew it I was moving up the latter to my goal job. Through each job I met new people who challenged me and helped me grow. I learned new skills and found out what I wanted in a job and what I did not. I even learned stuff about myself that I did not know such as I really like to think outside the box and be creative.

Fast forward 6 years (it goes by fast my friends), here I am engaged to be married, a Master of Public Health graduate, a Regional Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, living in a beautiful apartment, and a dog mom. I am confident in my skills and abilities, but still open to learning more.  

I hope my experience helps you as you prepare to take on the world. There will be growing pains along the way, but that is normal part of getting to where you want to be. Opportunities are going to come up when you least expect them, and it is up to you to take a chance on them or not. In the end all that matters is that you are happy, healthy, and thriving. And when life gets you down, remember you are never alone, you have a whole sorority behind you cheering you on. Do not ever feel ashamed to reach out for help, or support, that is what sisters are for. Now get ready world because here you come!

Wellness Committee: Common Collegiate Headaches

Author: Dr. Mary Nochimson

In this blog, I plan to talk about common headaches and holistic modalities and at-home treatments that may help. 

1. Tension headaches feel like a band-like pressure surrounding the crown of the head. These headaches are usually caused by anxiety AKA tension. These headaches typically originate in the muscles of the head and neck. How to treat?

Chiropractic is a great option. In chiropractic, there is a headache known as a “cervicogenic headache”, which is a headache that is derived from misaligned spinal joints, also known as a subluxation. Subluxations not only put pressure on spinal nerves providing information and nutrition to the organs and structures of the head and neck, but it also causes muscle spasm. When these muscles spasm, over time, start pulling on the surrounding skin and fascia creating a trigger point leading to head pain. By adjusting the joint, it helps these muscles relax and that positively affects the surrounding fascia. 

In addition to Chiropractic, a massage therapist can also work wonders. Make sure to find a therapist who specializes in trigger point massage. Craniosacral is a gentle hands-on technique that uses a light touch to examine membranes and movement of the fluids in and around the brain and spinal cord. This not only helps address the physical portion of relieving tension in the central nervous system, but also helps address the emotional component of your headache. The fourth really awesome modality is acupuncture. There are specific sets of points that help decrease headaches and pain, and I will share a few of them with you. 

– Warm bath with eucalyptus and lavender oils. These two essential oils help with anxiety and promote relaxation.

Still point inducer 

– With a massage tool or with your pointer or thumb, stimulate the following areas for 1 minute.

Yin Tang is an extra point found in between the eyebrows above the nasal bones. I have found this point to be effective for headaches and anxiety.

Large Intestine 4 is a miracle point for headaches, neck and jaw pain. When you stimulate a point that is not local to the area of pain, this is known as a distal point and they can be very very effective. Important: if you are pregnant, do not stimulate this point as it stimulates uterine contraction.

Kidney 1 is the ultimate point for pain. It stimulates the body to make endorphins, which helps increase pain tolerance. When I was taught this point at the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, the professor told a story of a woman who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and screamed in unbearable pain every night. After stimulating this point, the pain was relieved and the woman was able to sleep soundly through the night. I have used this point for patients who experienced headaches and other pains that have not improved using other medical and alternative medicine modalities

2. Migraine headaches are typically throbbing in nature and present on one side of the head behind the temple or the eye. This headache may sometimes  be accompanied by photophobia, sensitivity to light, or nausea, or vomiting. These type of headaches usually triggered by smells, food or environmental.

Ways to prevent this type of headache is keeping a log, or a diary. Write down all the foods you eat and monitor your symptoms. When you start to feel a headache coming on, notice if there are any smells in the air such as perfumes. This is the best way to get a handle on your migraine headache. 

Treatments include NAET®, which stands for Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique. This is a holistic modality which helps your body decrease the load of insensitivities you are exposed to on a daily basis. If you have many insensitivities that you are exposed to on a daily basis, this is going to lead to widespread inflammation throughout your body and central nervous system making your body susceptible to these headaches. If we can desensitize your body to these allergens, this will decrease inflammation in your body, making your body more functional. By exposing your body to the allergen transdermally through contact with a glass vial and stimulating specific acupuncture points along the spine and on the wrists, hands, ankle and feet, this modality helps your body respond better to the allergen. I know… UNBELIEVABLE and AMAZING! 

Migraines are vascular and these vessels feeding the brain from the heart travel through the fascia, muscles and joints of the cervical spine. Depending on severity, Craniosacral is a great treatment. Releasing the cranial bones will allow for vessels traveling through the tunnels (formed by the cranial bones) and through the intracranial membranes (which separate the brain and cerebellar parts) to travel more freely without interference. A Craniosacral therapist will also release the cranial base through which blood supply and nerve supply enter and exit the skull. 

A massage therapist skilled in neck work may also help. In my experience, a spasm in the Sternocleidomastoid (SCM), may mimic a migraine headache. If you squeeze this muscle, you may find that it may produce pain behind the eye or around the ear on the same side. 

At-home options

  • Still point inducer
  • Stay away from strong smelling deodorant/ perfume. 
  • Stimulate the acupuncture points mentioned above. 

3. Headaches can also be caused by 

  • Lack of sleep
    • Make sure you are getting 8 hours of sleep and try sipping a cup of chamomile tea. Avoid drinking  beverages loaded with caffeine and smoke cigarettes as they are both “stimulants”. 
  • An incorrect eyeglass prescription
    • Make sure that you visit your eye doctor once a year to avoid wearing prescription lenses that are not right for you
  • Staring at a computer for extended periods of time. 
    • Try to take frequent breaks from not just your computer, but your phone as well; and dim the room to reduce glare and reflections, which causes eye strain, which can lead to headaches. 
  • Stress
    • Try exercising, meditation and yoga. Find time for self care with chiropractic adjustments, massage, acupuncture. Try diffusing lavender oil as it stimulates the relaxation effect 
  • Loud noise exposure
    • If you are sensitive to sounds, this will definitely be a potential cause for a headache. Try ear plugs or noise cancelling headphones when you know you are going to a place where there will might be noises. 
  • Tight headwear. 
    • All women love their hair extensions, headbands, barrettes and scrunchies!!! As unnoticeable as they are on your head, they may be causing some restrictions in the cranial bones and tensions in the intracranial membranes. One of the symptoms of these “makin’ me pretty” accessories is headaches. So, don’t be shy! When you get that chance, let your hair down! 

Dr. Mary’s important Pearl of Health & Wisdom: This is very important. Two major questions the medical doctor asks, and questions you can ask yourself, when you have a headache are

1. Is this the worst headache you ever had?

2. Have you had this headache before? 

If you answered “yes” to question 1 and “no” to question 2, then the medical doctor, physician’s assistant or the nurse will probably refer you to the hospital to rule out life-threatening diseases such as a possible aneurysm or tumor. If all tests come out negative, then to have the headache symptoms co-managed by a neurologist and chiropractor may help you recover from the headache and also help you manage the symptoms when flair ups occur.