Healing Heads

A teenager's journey through concussion recovery



Hello, and welcome to my blog, Healing Heads. My name is Madeline Uretsky, and on October 13, 2011, I suffered a serious concussion while playing in my high school soccer game. I’ve decided to start this blog so that other teens suffering with concussions can find some help, support and hope. Concussions can be a very lonely and isolating injury, and recovery can be a long and difficult process. I’ve been navigating this process for well over a year now, and I am continually learning so much about my brain, and how to take care of it. There have been so many things that have helped me in different ways, including support from other teens with concussions and various types of treatments, and I’d like to share my knowledge in the hopes that it will help others.

I have written many blogs for various websites since suffering my concussion, so I’m going to repost them with their original titles here on my Healing Heads blog, as a way for me to keep track of them and have them all in one place. From time to time, things may seem out of order, and you may see the same topics discussed in different blogs, so I apologize in advance for the repetition of information.

My first thought when choosing the layout for this blog was to be careful to select muted colors with a pattern that is not busy, as bold, bright colors and busy patterns can exacerbate headaches. If you have, or have had, a concussion, you know how visual stimulation can play an important role in making headaches worse.

I have many blog entries, and I am constantly adding more, so please go to the menus on the right-hand side of the page, and click on my posts, or go to the archives and search by month, and you will be able to find more posts. You can also enter your email address under the “follow blog via email”, and my posts will automatically appear in your email whenever a new one is entered.

Also, please feel free to ask me any questions in the comments section, as I know how difficult it is to live with a concussion/brain injury, and I am happy to help in any way I can.

I hope that you find some useful information and support from my blog. Thank you for stopping by!

26 responses to “Welcome!

  1. Granita says:

    My name is Granita and I just visited “Healing Heads”. I want to thank you for the time and interest you have taken to share your information and make it available for others. I look forward to stopping by and reading more of your information.
    I am always interested in learning more about these things from people with your experience.
    Once again – Thank-You!

  2. Judy says:

    I think your blog is awesome and I think you are awesome as well.

  3. Sr. Cathy Fleming, SND says:

    You never cease to amaze me.
    Sr. Cathy

  4. Rachel says:

    Hello! My name is Rachel, and I still suffer daily from the effects of a severe concussion I sustained over 5 years ago when I was 12 (It was my 4th head injury), and it’s been a very long and challenging road. I really appreciate your starting this blog and attempting to reach out to others in similar positions-as over the years I have not at all been in contact with any other TBI victims. For a long time I’ve had an interest in connecting with those who have been through concussions themselves, but my ability to socialize/get out of the house has been greatly affected due to the nature of my symptoms. I live with a lot of dizziness, nausea, and visual dysfunction, which makes car rides very tough-so I mostly only go out for my chiropractic treatments. Too much time at the computer/movement in general is triggering, and I can only dream of reading books! Although our situations are not exact, I do relate to a lot of what you are going through. Once again, thank you for the effort you put into this, and when my vision allows I certainly plan to keep following this site.
    And, if you have any interest in talking further at all, you can feel free to email me!

  5. Peggy says:

    Thanks for putting this blog out, I sent it to my daughter who is 6 years pcs. Has ur exact symptoms. I hope she will respond as well. Please take time to read her blog at headpainsuffering.wordpress

    • I am so sorry your daughter is going through this injury; I hope she continues to recover! I just read and followed her blog too. Thank you for that suggestion, I found it helpful as well. It is always great to see people willing to talk about their injury and what they go through because it does help others.

  6. Dear Ms. Uretsky:

    Recently, I listened to your interview on http://www.beyondthecheers.com and read an article on your condition. I am sorry to hear that your concussion symptoms are lingering. By the way, you and your mother did a great job in the interview.

    There may be hope. I have developed a safe technique that has quickly eliminated headaches, nausea and dizziness from concussions while improving cognitive functioning (concentration).

    I have information on my website and blog entries on concussions/brain injuries. Here is the link to one such entry. It will give you an idea of what may be possible.

    If there is interest, please feel free to contact me (drpetras@reliefforyou.com, 1.888.447.1429).

    Best wishes for your recovery,
    Dr. Raymond J. Petras

  7. amy m says:

    Hello Madeline,
    I am a massage therapist and I just want to say it’s never too late to try skilled massage. If you can find someone in your area who can do any of the following therapies I think you have a chance to recover some of your normal life.
    Cranio-sacral therapy

    I am always taken aback when an old injury shows signs of improvement even after just one massage. It’s worth a shot!

    and I think some aromatherapy options exist as well, by what I’ve seen online.

  8. Bella says:

    Hi Madeline,
    I am 15 years old I suffered my hit 2 years ago and suffer from daily headaches, and just surgery to attempt to end all of this. I just started my blog that includes my story and I would really appreciate if any of you checked it out to also gain some fellowship in my journey. Thank you -Bella http://bellasheadache.blogspot.com

  9. Kari Patterson says:

    Thank you so much for putting yourself out there and being willing to share your story. I found comfort in your words. I suffered a blow to the head at tumbling/gymnastics practice 13 weeks ago. My nausea was gone after about 6 weeks, but I still suffer from daily headaches, sensitivity to noise and light, and dizziness after too much stimulation. I know that 13 weeks is nothing compared to your time frame, but too me it has been pure torture. I unfortunately haven’t taken time off from school, despite doctor’s recommendations. I am valedictorian, student council president, senior class president, and National Honor Society treasurer, so I have way to many responsibilities to uphold. I think they this may be delaying my recovery. Being out of sports has been awful. I play soccer all year round and I’m a dancer. How did you stay positive? At this point, I have missed out on so many important things, I am so mad and frustrated all the time and it has effected my relationships with friends and family. I don’t think they get what is going through my mind all of the time.

    Sorry to be such a downer. I just really needed to vent! I am glad you are doing better and I hope you continue to heal and recover!

    • Dear Ms. Patterson:

      My heart goes out to you.

      It is great to hear all of the wonderful activities that you are involved in. I, however, am sorry to hear about your situation. I hesitate to comment any further than my note on September 16, 2013 above. Feel free to have you parents or primary physician contact, when I can be of service.

      I wish you a safe, speedy, complete recovery.

      Dr. Raymond J. Petras

  10. Haley says:

    Thank you for posting this! It’s so nice to read something that isn’t scientifically morbid! Breath of fresh air healing from someone who actually understands it. I’m 18, I played competitive soccer as a goalkeeper for 6 years before having to stop from numerous concussions over the past two and a half years. It’s to the point that I have symptoms daily, ranging from headaches, migraines, sensitivity to light and noise, dizziness,…almost all of your stereotypical concussion/PCS symptoms. It’s torture being away from sports, outings, and school among other things and I’ve seen just about every local doctor they can throw at me.

    In regards to some of the otherwise suggested therapies and strategies suggested above, I’ve tried things such as electrode therapy (not as harsh as it sounds–electrodes on wrists and ankles send small electric current too small to physically feel to numb pain/symptom signals), massage therapy, physio, cognitive training, cranio-sacral therapy, prescription drugs (Amitryptyline)…the list goes on.

    For anybody wondering the therapy I found most effective was the cranio-sacral therapy, it was nice and gentle, generally relaxed me and reduced my headaches and cleared up the typical “fog” PCS people experience.

    That’s my shpeel, sorry for the rant :$

  11. Alex says:

    Hi, my name is Alex. I am a high school student researching about sports concussions for an english essay. I found your blog very helpful for my paper. It helped me get a better understanding about the damage that can be done after multiple concussions. I believe that we need to create a safer environment for all players in every sport because it affects people off the field; not just on the field. I have referred to the Seeing Stars Foundation to help donate more money towards preventing and raising awareness for concussions for all ages and levels. I hope everyone continues to heal and progress in recovery. I just wanted to thank you for the blog and helpful information that you presented me for my paper.

    Thank you,


  12. Kaysee says:

    my name is Kaysee
    I was wondering what are some ways that have helped you heal faster?

  13. Peggy Kalis says:

    My name is Peggy Kalis and I experienced a concussion from a car accident 2 years ago. After wanting to die for about a year …I finally realized I needed to live as if I were healed already . I have found a wonderful practitioner, Dr. Muldoon, chiropractic neurologist, who has changed my life in a matter of weeks! Allopathic was no help for 1 1/2 years…I want so much to help others who have this struggle. I am so proud of what you are doing ..please tell me what you think?
    Peggy Kalis

    • Hi Peggy,
      I have found chiropractic neurology to be extremely helpful in various ways. I have had regular adjustments for my back and neck, nutritional counseling, and of course, brain based therapeutic activities. All have helped immensely, and I highly recommend to keep it up if it is working for you! So glad you are on the right track!
      Good luck!

      • Kathy Aubuchon says:

        My son is trying OMT Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment. He has only had two. I’m not a fan of him having any adjustments but this is massage based also.

  14. Rob says:

    Try this it really works. My wife got a concussion working a track meet, she started taking EHT daily, now she has fully recovered and has no symptoms. She has partnered up and is now selling EHT to concussion sufferers. http://torimcconnell2015.nowsender.com/e/vd?nhjmev

  15. Bella Lohmiller says:

    Hi Madeline,
    My name is Bella Lohmiller and a year and a half ago I experienced a concussion in a soccer accident. My head had hit the ground so hard that it caused me to receive a concussion and a fractured neck. Even when I play soccer now, my head is a lot more sensitive whether a ball or person is hitting hit. I am currently doing a project on how a concussion headband can help you limit the risk of receiving another concussion after you have already received one. I have done a lot of research and I came to the conclusion that it is a matter of opinion rather than a necessity. I am trying to get peoples opinions on the concussion headband. What do you think?
    -Bella Lohmiller

  16. Jackie Wandstrat says:

    I received a concussion during a lacrosse game last year and since i had never had one before i was very confused on how to handle it, I wish i would of known about this website during the time of my concussion I think it would of helped a lot!

  17. Emily G says:

    I got my fourth concussion on March 14, 2015, and I still have the pleasure of living with it’s symptoms almost a year later. I’m always tired, I can’t get through a school day without taking a nap. In a school of almost 2,800, the nurses know me by name. I have been on multiple medications including: tylenol 3 with codeine, amitriptyline(which made me feel like I was just going through the motions of life), and now verapamil. I have done physical and occupational therapy in two different hospitals, originally I was at the Upstate Concussion Clinic, but now I have to drive out to Rochester every two weeks for treatment. Next week I am getting acupuncture to try to get rid of my headaches. Because of my concussion I am now a 16 year old wearing bifocals. But that’s just the boring medical stuff. The fun part is that I was told that I cannot return to color guard even if I was released because the risk of injuring myself again is too high. But my favorite part is that in this past year I have lost all of my friends, I have no one except for one of my three sisters. I have gained 40 lbs, none of my old clothes fit me(I used to be a small/extra small shirt and a size 4/6 pant) and the only thing people notice about me now is my ass(it’s not as fun as it sounds). People have told me that if I smiled maybe more people would talk to me again but apparently now I just look mean. I used to be so happy everyday, I loved school, I had amazing grades, I was friends with everyone. Now I sit in my room and watch Netflix, if I leave my room it is only to get food. I often look back at photos of my life before my concussion and think about how happy I could still be if I hadn’t hit my head. All my parents talk about now is my concussion, everyday they have something new to say like “maybe if you read your head would hurt less”, “maybe you won’t be dizzy if you exercise”, “I read online that if you do this you will feel better”, “oh maybe if you woke up in the morning it would be easier to focus at school”. I am very annoyed with everything they say being about my head. Recently they’ve been trying to suggest that I am depressed due to my “not giving a crap” attitude, and every 5 minutes they bring up seeing a counselor. But I don’t think I am depressed I’m not the person who would have that I am normal, I am just so tired of this life it feels like nothing matters anymore. I don’t know if I am the only one who feels like this or not but I saw your blog when I looked up “concussion support” and I just needed someone to tell me that I’m normal and that I’m supposed to feel like this. I just want my old life back I didn’t do anything to deserve this punishment. So yeah

    • Kari Patterson says:

      Emily, you are completely normal for someone healing from a head injury. You, in fact, sound a lot like me! I sustained my fourth concussion during my senior year of high school in September of 2014. Over a year later, I still have headaches and light sensitivity, and dizziness when working out. I had to drop classes and take time off from school. I dropped the class before and after my lunch so I could go home and nap/rest in the middle of the day. I lost many friends, not because they didn’t care, but because I became extremely antisocial. I never went out. Only left the house for school, therapy, doctors appointments, and church. I hated leaving the comfort of my bed/home because I feared stimulation would make my headaches even worse. On top of the physical pain, my neurologist will not clear me to play soccer (my passion!) ever again. Emotionally that was a huge blow. She will allow me to dance, but I can’t turn yet without getting too dizzy. Not fair! But I want you to know, IT DOES EVENTUALLY GET BETTER! I did therapy for a couple months, but in January 2015, I started trying medication. I really needed relief from my terrible headaches. I had tried acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, gabapentin, prednisone, venlaflaxine, imitrex, etc. Finally, in March/April, I started taking Tizanidine and Verapamil. By the end of May, I was finally starting to feel significant relief from my headaches. I was able to work part time over the summer, though had a lot of memory trouble that really made me tired the more I became frustrated. (I was a waitress) One year later, now I’m 2016, I am still taking daily verapamil, but I was able to slowly wean off the Tizanidine by the end of August. Now I’m in college, and though I still really struggle with headaches, I am able to take on a full course load and keep up a good GPA. (3.85🤗) So, yes, it absolutely SUCKS! But please know that is does eventually get better. Friends will leave, but then you get the chance to make knew friends; friends who understand what you are going through or are able to sympathize and don’t get mad when you don’t feel up to hanging out. I honestly felt the same way you do. I thought I was depressed. And I was taking so much medicine that I just felt in a fog most of the time. Things get better, keep reminding yourself that. Post Concussion Syndrome isn’t a life sentence. You will heal. You will never be the same, but you will definitely be stronger than ever before🙂

      • SAM says:

        I’m the mother writing in response to the confusion as to why my daughter’s “best” friends since 1st grade started excluding her after 3rd & 4th concussion in 7th grade. As you both mentioned re: gaining weight on different meds. She gained 10 -12 lbs immediately. Since she retired from sports and the game she loved (soccer) in order to recover. All her friends since 1st, are athletes and it is sad for her until this day that she was being excluded time and time again. It was so bad, she is in a private school. She is making new friends and finding a new life for herself.

  18. Emily M says:

    Emily, just like Kari said, you are perfectly normal. I know exactly how you are feeling. My freshman year of high school I got my first concussion and then from there on out it seemed I was getting them constantly. First playing basketball, then soccer, then standing up and hitting my head on a dresser drawer, and then another soccer concussion. It was as if I could not escape them. I felt as if once I healed, I was instantly cursed with another one. I always felt tired and weak. Although I know many people have had more severe concussions, I felt as if mine was the very worst. It hurt to read simple things. It hurt to write my name. It hurt to look at my phone. Everything I did made my head hurt and all I wanted was for it to stop.

    According to ActiveBeat it is very typical to have headaches, stomach aches, and blurred vision due to concussions. It is also very common to be tired and groggy. Most people do not realize how serious concussions are. Although most are just headaches that go away within a week, some are much more. Multiple concussions and blows to the head can lead to many other horrific issues such as memory loss and CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy). These are two of the most severe issues other than death. Memory loss and CTE most likely would not be caused by one concussion and they also may not become evident in a person until later on in life. CTE can only be diagnosed after one has passed away, but there are many signs that may lead you to believe that one has Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. These signs may be social instability, erratic behavior, poor judgment, etc. CTE can change people’s lives forever. If others are reading this, I just hope you realize how important your brain is and how important it is to try and avoid constant blows to the head.

    With this being said, it is good that you took care of yourself because not all people do. Most people just blow it off and say that it’s just another headache, but by doing that you could harm yourself much more than you may have intended. Most people do not take the intended medicine or take time off of school because they do realize how important resting and healing is.

    Try your best not to think that you are not normal because you are. Most people who experience concussions feel exactly how you feel. With time, it will heal, but it might take a while and it might take a strong support system pushing you along the way, but you will get through it. Just keep taking proper precautions and watch your body’s signs. Stay strong.

  19. Kathy Aubuchon says:


    I’m so glad I can have some support with your blog. My son Ethan is going through his 2nd concussion. The first one lasted 3 months and this one is past 3 months and it’s so depressing to see him suffer. He has missed 3 months of school but just started to try to go back for 4 hours a day. My son was athletic and in the Honors Academy. He is turning 16 in August. A kid (school mate) purposely threw a basketball at his head. The pain and suffering our family has endured has been awful. I can tell he is now getting anxiety, depression because of being in the house for so long, living in the dark, no friends barely. He’s been doing pretty much every single thing the Dr. has told him to do. No phone, no tv, wears sunglasses all day, rest, rest, rest. He got so mad at himself the other day, something startled him so he turned his head really fast, this actually set him back, now I need to ask the dr. about this tomorrow. We have our first neurologist appt tomorrow in Concord, Mass Ethan has never had an MRI yet, so I wonder if they will order this. Nobody understands that because my son looks normal he is not normal, nobody understands how he feels inside his head, people like you do because you have lived it and been through it.

  20. Rudy03 says:

    I am currently a Graduate student understanding various injuries and symptoms from Concussions. I see that some of the symptoms mentioned are related to vision originating. I have come across profile of Vision & Sensory Integration Institute (www.vsiionline.org) and am currently researching if anyone had experience with any therapy related to vision therapy or Neuro-plasticity to treat concussion. Does anyone have any thoughts/feedback to share to help me understand the procedure and treatment better. I appreciate your support and Happy Healing!

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