Headbanging Can Cause Brain Damage…

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Are there downsides to headbanging? Sure, it’s fun to vigorously shake your head around to your favorite rock band, but can this cause long term negative effects?

The Associated Press reports that one chronic headbanger actually ended up with brain damage.

Last year, a 50 year old Motorhead fan went to see doctors at Hannover Medical School. The man was experiencing chronic headaches that were worsening over time. He had no history of head injuries or substance abuse, but had been headbanging for years.

A head scan revealed that the man’s brain had been bleeding. The doctors drilled a hole to drain the blood, and the headaches went away.

A later scan showed that the man had a benign cyst. This cyst might have made him more vulnerable to a headbanging-induced brain injury.

Surprisingly, the doctors who treated this man are not opposed to headbanging. They say the risk of injury is very low and “heavy metal fans should rock on“.


Nina Ulloa covers breaking news, tech, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @nine_u

9 Responses

  1. Pwnah Jeretti

    Headline: “Headbanging can cause brain damage…”
    Article: “Surprisingly, the doctors who treated this man…say the risk of injury is very low”

    Wanna come write for BuzzFeed?

    • Nina Ulloa

      FYI “Headbanging Can Cause Brain Damage But the Risk of Injury is Very Low’ is not a good headline / isn’t the point of this story

      • jw

        Maybe the headline should’ve been “Headbanging probably doesn’t cause brain damage” or “benign cyst leads to brain bleeding.”

        If those more accurate headlines don’t sound that great to you, maybe the problem isn’t the headline, it’s the story.

  2. Jim USMC Scott

    The type of head movement involved can also cause a carotid dissection, a condition where the interior wall of an artery separates or collapses blocking blood flow, in some people that might have a predisposition for such injury. When this happens to a carotid artery things can go terribly wrong. If the blockage is severe the headaches that ensue shouldn’t rightly be called headaches, the pain being so severe. Hearing loss, not from the music but from the tear can happen as well as loss of sensation in the face and balance problems. This happened to me in the service and I didn’t recognize it until a number of follow up episodes that became progressively worse until one day after straining my neck the pain got so bad that I wanted to die. When my wife noticed that my pupils were different sizes she took me to the emergency room. A month later they finally diagnosed the carotid dissection, less than 2 percent blood flow through my left carotid. If this was diagnosed earlier (I had gone to sick bay with headaches and I had gone to civilian doctors with complaints of numbness, headaches and mild vertigo to no effect) I could have saved myself a lot of pain and depression by avoiding unnecessarily straining my neck. Sorry for the long post but maybe someone will recognize the symptoms and avoid the same. Rock on.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      This sounds really, horribly bad, but… you got it from headbanging in the service?

      • Jim

        No, from straining my neck during a fire while pulling a 2 1/2 inch hose to hook it up with a fire truck.

  3. Jim

    No, from pulling a fire hose carried on my shoulder during a fire while trying to hook it up with a pumper truck.

  4. Captain Willard

    Clearly there needs to be guidelines here to improve technique: Bending at the knees, feet in a fight stance, incorporating the waist and shoulders into the bang so as to reduce the stress on the neck, using the right bang (ie. a guitar lead only required a small frenetic movement of the head, while a breakdown can involve the entire body, and of course banging at the appropriate time, instead of through the entire song.

    Now there’s your article, Paul.