Neurology India
menu-bar5 Open access journal indexed with Index Medicus
  Users online: 2738  
 Home | Login 
About Editorial board Articlesmenu-bullet NSI Publicationsmenu-bullet Search Instructions Online Submission Subscribe Videos Etcetera Contact
  Navigate Here 
 Resource Links
  »  Similar in PUBMED
 »  Search Pubmed for
 »  Search in Google Scholar for
  »  Article in PDF (405 KB)
  »  Citation Manager
  »  Access Statistics
  »  Reader Comments
  »  Email Alert *
  »  Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this Article
 »  References
 »  Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded42    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal


Table of Contents    
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 478-479

Head banging associated with basilar artery thrombosis

Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

Date of Submission02-Feb-2011
Date of Decision02-Feb-2011
Date of Acceptance04-Feb-2011
Date of Web Publication7-Jul-2011

Correspondence Address:
Bengt Edvardsson
Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University Hospital, Lund
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.82756

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Edvardsson B, Persson S. Head banging associated with basilar artery thrombosis. Neurol India 2011;59:478-9

How to cite this URL:
Edvardsson B, Persson S. Head banging associated with basilar artery thrombosis. Neurol India [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Dec 8];59:478-9. Available from: https://www.neurologyindia.com/text.asp?2011/59/3/478/82756


Head banging is a type of dance which involves violently shaking head in time with music, most commonly heavy metal music. Head banging can be up-down, circular swing, full body, or side-to-side. It is considered that head banging to loud music, while "making you more metal," has associated risks other than acquired hearing loss. Several case reports have indicated the inherent risk in this activity, especially of head and neck injury. [1] We describe a patient with a history of intensive head banging and basilar artery thrombosis (BAT).

A 20-year-old man presented with neck and head pain and vertigo of three weeks duration. His medical history was otherwise normal including drug exposure or abuse. He was a musician and had a history of intensive head banging. He had sought medical help for these symptoms at other facility, but was not worked up to establish the diagnosis. The symptoms progressed in severity and he had intermittent loss of consciousness. On physical examination, vitals were normal and neurological examination revealed left hemiplegia with dysarthria. Computer tomography of brain, electrocardiogram, electroencephalogram, complete blood picture, and blood biochemistry were essentially normal. Magnetic resonance imaging including angiography could not be performed as he was very anxious. Possible diagnosis of BAT was suspected and he underwent cerebral digital subtraction angiography under general anesthesia, which revealed BAT [Figure 1]. No underlying dissection or vascular malformation could be detected. He was treated with intra-arterial fibrinolytic agents. However, the outcome was complicated by a locked-in state and no obvious improvement has been observed during the follow-up.
Figure 1: Digital subtraction angiography demonstrating basilar artery occlusion

Click here to view

The neurological complications described in association with intensive head banging include subdural hematoma, [2],[3] vertebral artery aneurysm, [4] carotid artery dissection, [5] whiplash injury, [6] odontoid fracture, [7] and vertebral artery dissection with vertebrobasilar ischemia or infarction. [8] It is believed that Terry Balsamo, the guitarist from the heavy metal band Evanescence, experienced a stroke from head banging. [1] In the young, the causes of ischemic stroke may be other than atherothrombosis and hypertension. [9] A high index of suspicion of vascular injury in young persons presenting with persistent unilateral head or neck pain even after a minor trauma should be maintained. This index of suspicion should be even higher in patients with posterior circulation symptoms with antecedent trauma. Examples of trivial blunt trauma to the head and neck resulting in vertebral artery dissection include chiropractic manipulation, tennis, seat belt use, yoga, and head banging. [8],[10] Literature survey did not reveal incidence of BAT associated with head banging. Vertebrobasilar ischemia or infarction as a result of extremes of cervical motion is probably due to the fact that the vertebral arteries are fixed in the transverse foramina, rendering them susceptible to occlusion or shearing from extremes of neck motion. Rotation occurs first at the atlantoaxial joint before any rotation occurs in the cervical spine, leading to stretching and compression of the vertebral artery. Occlusion and spasm of the artery has been documented. An intimal tear can occur with formation of an intraluminal clot, which may result in embolization in the posterior circulation. [4],[9],[10],[11] Probably this might have been the mechanism of ischemic stroke in our patient. It remains unclear whether head banging and BAT in this single case is just coincidental or causally related. However, the temporal relationship between intensive head banging and the posterior circulation stroke is striking, suggesting a possible causal relation between the two and also no other risk factor could be found. Unfortunately, in our patient, the therapeutic intervention had resulted in significant neurological disability.

 » References Top

1.Patton D, McIntosh A. Head and neck injury risks in heavy metal: head bangers stuck between rock and a hard bass. BMJ 2008;337:a2825.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Neyaz Z, Kandpal H, Sharma R, Kale S. 'Head banging' during rock show causing subdural hematoma. Neurol India 2006;54:319-20.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
3.De Cauwer H, Van Giel R, Mortelmans L, van den Hauwe L. An uncommon cause of headache after head banging at a party. Eur J Emerg Med 2009;16:212-3.   Back to cited text no. 3
4.Egnor MR, Page LK, David C. Vertebral artery aneurysm-a unique hazard of head banging by heavy metal rockers. Case report. Pediatr Neurosurg 1991-1992;17:135-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Jackson MA, Hughes RC, Ward SP, McInnes EG. "Head banging" and carotid dissection. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:1262.   Back to cited text no. 5
6.Kassirer MR, Manon N. Head banger's whiplash. Clin J Pain 1993;9:138-41.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Zijlstra WP, van Raay JJ. A 65-year-old patient with an odontoid fracture caused by 'head banging'. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 2008;152:1743-5.   Back to cited text no. 7
8.Malek AM, Halbach VV, Phatouros CC, Meyers PM, Dowd CF, Higashida RT. Endovascular treatment of a ruptured intracranial dissecting vertebral aneurysm in a kickboxer. J Trauma 2000;48:143-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Hilton-Jones D, Warlow CP. Non-penetrating arterial trauma and cerebral infarction in the young. Lancet 1985;1:1435-8.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Showalter W, Esekogwu V, Newton KI, Henderson SO. Vertebral artery dissection. Acad Emerg Med 1997;4:991-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Bakay L, Sweet WH. Intra-arterial pressures in the neck and brain; late changes after carotid closure, acute measurements after vertebral closure. J Neurosurg 1953;10:353-9.  Back to cited text no. 11


  [Figure 1]

This article has been cited by
1 Traumatic Brain Injury After Music-Associated Head Banging: A Scoping Review
James B. Meiling, David R. Schulze, Emily Hines, Leslie C. Hassett, Dmitry Esterov
Archives of Rehabilitation Research and Clinical Translation. 2022; : 100192
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article
Online since 20th March '04
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow