Avoid headbanging injury by switching to Celine Dion?

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Australian researchers have issued a warning about the danger of “head-banging” which is usually associated with heavy-metal music.

The researchers from the University of New South Wales say fans who indulge in head-banging put themselves at risk of head and neck injuries and they advise fans to either wear a protective brace or switch to slower tempo music.

“Head-banging” involves violent and rhythmic head movements in time with the music and was first seen as far back as 1969 at a Led Zeppelin concert in the U.S., when the front row audience members were seen banging their heads on the stage in time to the music.

Head-banging is a worldwide phenomenon but even though there have been reports on the risks of injury especially to the head and neck, little formal research has been conducted and only a few unique cases have been documented.

Experts suspect the incidence of injury is much higher, because the symptoms are clinically silent or cause only mild headache that resolves spontaneously.

The study has revealed that an average head-banging song with a tempo of 146 beats a minute could cause mild head injury when the head’s range of motion is greater than 75 degrees and the researchers say higher tempos which encourage greater ranges of motion carry a higher risk of injury.

Researcher Dr. Andrew McIntosh who is an injury expert says injuries might be minimised if head-bangers at rock concerts were to lessen their range of head and neck motion and head-banging to every second beat.

Dr. McIntosh says possible preventive interventions include limiting the range of neck motion through a formal training program delivered before a concert, using personal protective equipment, such as neck braces, to limit range of motion or switching to easy-listening music like Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Enya and Richard Clayderman.

Dr. McIntosh says the “up-down” head banging style is the most common - others included the circular swing, the full body, or the side-to-side this was discovered by observing young people at hard-rock and heavy-metal concerts - hard rock and heavy metal account for 30% all of U.S. record sales.

The study by research assistant Declan Patton and associate professor Dr. Andrew McIntosh, from the School of Risk and Safety Sciences at UNSW is published in the British Medical Journal.


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