A 50-year-old German man went to a neurologist’s office for treatment of serious headaches. They had only been going on for a couple of weeks, but the man found he was disabled by them, and they seemed to be increasing in severity.
It turns out the headaches were caused by a rare but deadly complication of headbanging to metal music.
Finding the Headache Cause
With no head trauma and no drug use–according to his testimony–doctors were hard pressed to identify the source of his headache. Unable to track down the cause of his alarming headaches, they sent him for a CT scan, which revealed he had developed a subdural hematoma. In a subdural hematoma, bleeding develops in the space between the skull and the membranes around the brain, which increases pressure on the head. This increased pressure can cause pain and can even close the blood vessels, depriving the brain of oxygen and leading to sudden death.
The cause of the hematoma turned out to be unusual:he had gone to a Motörhead concert about a month before where he had engaged in vigorous headbanging. A literature search by the doctors revealed three previous cases of headbanging-related subdural hematoma, one of which was fatal.
In the case of this man, draining the excess fluid from the skull alleviated his symptoms and he recovered without lasting injury. But if you engage in headbanging and notice severe headaches afterward, it’s important to see your doctor to determine if this rare but potentially fatal complication is the cause.
Tell Us Everything
Headbanging can also lead to neck injury and may aggravate TMJ, which is a great reminder that it’s important to tell us all details about any unusual activities or events that preceded your onset of symptoms. Anything you tell us can potentially help us narrow in on your condition and give you a true diagnosis and proper treatment.