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Head banging started out back in 1968 at a Led Zeppelin concert but developed into a collection of distinctive head banging styles such as the up-down, the circular swing, the full body and the side-to-side.
What the head banger don’t know is that these motions increase the risk of head and neck injury. The effects of an injury can be lessened though with reduced head and neck motion, head banging to lower tempo songs or to every second beat, or by using, not so attractive, protective equipment such as neck braces.
Head banging injuries range from hearing loss, stroke and mild traumatic brain injury, but there has been little formal research into head banging.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales, attended hard rock and heavy metal concerts including Motörhead, Ozzy Osbourne and Skid Row, to analyse the injury risk from head banging and examined possible ways to protect against these. They found that the most common head banging technique was the up-down style. After constructing theoretical head banging models and calculated their average tempo of their favourite head banging songs, the authors found that there is an increasing risk of neck injury beginning at tempos of 130 beats per minute related to the range of motion in the head banging style.

The average head banging song has a tempo of about 146 beats per minute. The authors suggest that at this tempo head banging may cause headaches and dizziness if the range of movement of the head and neck is more than 75º. They report that at higher tempos and greater ranges of motion there is an additional risk of neck injury.

Some of the possible ways to protect against the injuries would be calling for bands such as AC/DC to play songs such as "Moon River" instead of "Highway to Hell", public awareness campaigns headed by musicians such as Cliff Richard and the labelling of music packaging with anti-head banging warnings.


Head bangers can likewise reduce injury at rock concerts by getting into better physical shape, and by spot-training their neck muscles using weight and stretching exercises. A brief warm-up period prior to attending a concert can also help reduce injury.