Headbanging to every second beat could save music fans from head or neck injuries, a new study has revealed.

While heavy metal devotees may rush to concerts to bang their heads in time to riffs from their favourite acts, they could be risking hearing loss, stroke or mild brain trauma, according to an article published in the BMJ Online journal.

But headbanging with slightly less vigour, to lower tempo songs or while wearing a neck brace could save gig attendees from pain, researchers from the University of New South Wales claimed.

Declan Patton, Professor Andrew McIntosh and their research team attended hard rock and heavy metal concerts including Motorhead, Ozzy Osbourne and Skid Row, and identified that an up-down style was the most common headbanging technique.

Further research indicated that the "average headbanging song" has a tempo of around 146 beats per minute at which speed the listener could suffer headaches and dizziness, with neck injuries a risk at a higher tempo.

"Luckily, there are a number of possible ways to protect against these injuries," the authors claim.

"These include 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-headbanging warnings."

The team also advises that concert attendees limit their range of neck motion with training programmes or listening to alternative artists, including "Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Enya, and Richard Clayderman".

19/12/2008 00:31:01