Metal music fans beware: headbanging can be dangerous to your health. A 50 year old heavy metal fan with a headbanging habit suffered bleeding in the brain a mere month after attending a Motörhead concert with his son .
In a case report published in The Lancet on July 5, Ariyan Pirayesh Islamian, from the Hannover Medical School in Germany, and colleagues provided details about the case of the man who suffered from chronic subdural haematoma, a condition which occurs when the blood gathers under the brain's outer membrane often because of a head injury, four weeks after headbanging in a concert of the heavy metal band Motörhead.
In January 2013, the patient went for a consultation at the Hannover Medical School neurological department because of the constant and worsening headaches that he had for two weeks and which affect his whole head. The man did not suffer from head trauma nor had problems with drug abuse but he reported that he had been headbanging for years and did it most recently at the concert of Motörhead that he and his son attended a month before.
After undergoing a cranial CT scan, doctors confirmed that the patient had bleeding on the right side of his brain. The man's headache subsided after doctors drilled a hole in his brain to drain the hematoma, or blood clot. A follow up scan showed the patient had benign cyst which has likely made him vulnerable to brain injury.
Headbanging is the violent and rhythmic shacking of the head in time with music oftentimes of the heavy metal, rock and punk music genres. Motörhead incidentally created the speed metal music genre which inspired fast headbanging.
Islamian explained that the heavy shaking of the head may sometimes lead to damage because the brain bumps up against the skull. The medical case of the unnamed heavy metal aficionado isn't also the first associated with headbanging. The researchers found three other headbanging-related cases of subdural haematoma, one of which led to sudden death.
"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," Islamian said.
Still the researchers said that heavy metal fans do not necessarily need to skip headbanging.
"Most people who go to music festivals and jump up and down while shaking their heads don't end up in the hands of a neurosurgeon," Islamian told the Associated Press.