Doctors have highlighted the dangers of headbanging in a case report published in the medical journal The Lancet.
Ariyan Pirayesh Islamian and colleagues from the Hannover Medical School in Germany outline the case of a man who developed a chronic subdural haematoma, or bleeding in the brain, after headbanging at a concert by Motorhead, a Brtiish band which first formed in 1975.
In January 2013, a 50-year-old man came to the neurosurgical department of Hannover Medical School with a twoweek history of a constant worsening headache affecting the whole head. Although his medical history was unremarkable and he reported no previous head trauma, four weeks before he had been headbanging at a Motörhead concert.
A scan confirmed the man had a chronic bleeding on the right side of his brain. Surgeons removed the blood clot through a burr hole. His headache subsided and he was well on his last examination two months later.
Headbanging refers to the violent and rhythmic movement of the head synchronous with rock music, most commonly heavy metal. Motorhead helped to pioneer speed metal where fast tempo songs which have an underlying rhythm of 200 beats per minute are aspired to.
Although generally considered harmless, headbanging-related injuries include carotid artery dissection, whiplash, mediastinal emphysema, and odontoid neck fracture. This is the first reported case showing evidence that headbanging can cause “chronic” subdural haematoma.
“Even though there are only a few documented cases of subdural haematomas, the incidence may be higher because the symptoms of this type of brain injury are often clinically silent or cause only mild headache that resolves spontaneously,” says lead author Dr Ariyan Pirayesh Islamian.
“This case serves as evidence in support of Motörhead’s reputation as one of the most hardcore rock’n’roll acts on earth, if nothing else because of their music’s contagious speed drive and the hazardous potential for headbanging fans to suffer brain injury.”
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