Well it’s Festival time , good music expensive takeaways bad toilets and time to excavate your garage and find those wellies. This year as last, spinalsolutions is at the Download Festival ,as my alias of course that is mild mannered man in a tent supporting my son whose an avid fan of heavy metal . This year we have Ramstein, Slipknot and Iron Madien headlining , should be massive Moshing and of course some crazy Headbanging. With my health professional head on firmly  between my shoulders I shall of course be ‘ observing ‘ for musculoskeletal dysfunctions as they happen in the real world. Top of my list this year will be ‘headbanging’, there actually is a H.n.S (health and safety) on it based on an article from the BMJ .

The researchers used a theoretical model of biomechanical analysis based on the injuries sustained in a ‘whiplash’  usually associated with road traffic accidents.  It basically stated  the angle of head twist and rolls can be quite acute  during a headbang session . Hey come on you’re not Regan McNeil guys ( that was the girl in the Film , Exorcist) . There’s a lot of piping and wiring passing from your head to your body and back the other way , damage that and it’s ‘ Adios Festival’.  Between each boney verterbrae is a shock absorber made of cartilaginous type tissue , its no holiday if you damage one.

The article also warns of headbanging past a threshold beats per minute .

A typical death-metal rhythm of 146 beats-per-minute or faster, combined with head-banging arcs of at least 45 degrees, is “predicted to cause mild head and neck injury,”

If the tempos were  faster tempos and wider arcs then

“there are definite risks of mild traumatic brain injury.”

Anecdotal evidence also points to the potential health hazards of ‘thrash rock’, the paper said.

“In 2005, doctors believed that Terry Balsamo, the guitarist from the band Evanescence, experienced a stroke from head-banging,”

So what’s the answer here ?

As always moderation even moderation itself , Dont let it spoil the party but be informed, dont get too competitive with ‘Beelzebub’ next to you at the Festival chances are he ‘ s half reptile anyway.  You could start  listening to Justin Beiber or Celine Dion , there wouldnt be any Rock Justice there!! , so its simple take it easy .

I  will be there in spinalsolutions’ festival gear’ which for my age definately includes ear plugs, say hello and share a ‘ham butty’ ; always on hand for advice .  Next article how not to get burnt by Ramsteins pyrotechnics.

The serious end of this blog is available as below

Head and neck injury risks in heavy metal: head bangers stuck between rock and a hard bass

2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2825 (Published 18 December 2008)