Rockers Beware: Head-Banging Has Its Risks
Australian researchers have released a study detailing the potential risks of head-banging. At first this appears to be a relatively obvious assumption: the violent yet rhythmic thrashing of shoulder-length 80's rocker hair can't be good for you. But the research shows that the tempo of the song and the rotational degree of the neck (i.e. how hard you thrash) determines the impact on the body.
After rockin' out with Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row and Whitesnake, among others, McIntosh and Patton got down to business. Based on the popularity of the up-down style of head-banging at the concerts, and the average tempo of 11 songs deemed the best for head-banging by a minion of local musicians, the scientists developed a mathematical model of how violently you'd have to shake your noodle to hurt yourself. Their conclusion? Head-banging to a song with a tempo of 146 beats per minute can make you dazed and confused (read: give you a headache and make you dizzy) if you're rotating your head by more than 75 degrees.
The average heavy metal song has a tempo closer to 180 beats per minute, at which one risks a neck injury.
"If the tempo is increased, you have to accelerate more to keep in time," McIntosh tells us. "You've got a limit to that range of motion. The more you're going through it, the higher the risk of mild brain injury or some sort of neck injury."
The study concludes that a neck rotation of less than 45 degrees will prevent any significant injuries and suggests considering a slower tempo. Though it is unlikely that those inclined to head-bang will heed such a warning, it trumps the alternative suggestion:
"You could have a stylish neck brace built into a leather jacket,"
Future studies will look at the impact of different accelerating or dampening hair styles.