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The Dangers of “Headbanging” Include Blood Clots, Fractured Necks

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It turns out that heavy metal music can do more than damage your eardrums. In fact, it can also leave you with a blood clot–that is, if you’re a “headbanger”.

If you’re not familiar with the term, headbanging involves repeatedly craning the neck forward and back, side to side, usually in step with the music. Anyone who has attended or watched a heavy metal concert (or the film Wayne’s World) should be pretty familiar with the idea.

It’s been known for some time that headbanging could be considered a health threat. There have been reports of headbangers sustaining serious injuries, from torn carotid arteries to whiplash and fractured necks. But now it appears headbanging can also cause serious brain trauma.

Take, for example, the case of an unnamed 50-year-old German heavy metal fan who recently attended a Motorhead concert. Like many others, the German man engaged in some headbanging at the show. A few days later he felt a headache come on and then hang around for two weeks. Finally, he was examined at the Hanover Medical School, where a brain scan showed he had a subdural haematoma–otherwise known as a blood clot on the brain. The man’s headache didn’t subside until after doctors drilled through his skull to remove the clot.

“Our patient had no history of head trauma so we assume that headbanging, with its brisk forward and backward acceleration and deceleration forces, led to rupturing of bridging veins causing haemorrhage into the subdural space,” the man’s doctors recently reported in world-renowned medical journal The Lancet.

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