Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Research Christmas 2008: Music

Head and neck injury risks in heavy metal: head bangers stuck between rock and a hard bass

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 18 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2825

Rapid Response:

Heavy Metal music as an educational tool

Patton and McIntosh's study into the risks of injury associated with
head banging to heavy metal music raises some important issues. I would
however take issue with 2 points.

The man playing the guitar in the photo accompanying the article was
clearly an imposter. While suitably hirsute, he was playing the guitar
upside down and had no visible tattoos or piercings. My guess is that he
is a lab technician and not a heavy metal guitar hero.

The authors' suggestion that substituting Celion Dion or Richard
Clayderman to reduce the risk of injury underestimates the importance of
heavy metal as an educational tool. Dion and Clayderman, while
accomplished musicians, simply lack the incisive sociological comment and
educational value of heavy metal.

For example ‘Psychosocial’, the latest single from the popular heavy
metal band ‘Slipknot’, is in fact a learned treatise on the factors
predicting chronicity, disability and sickness absence in simple
mechanical back pain. The full title of the song is ‘Psychosocial
predictors of failure to return to work in non-specific low back pain: a
systematic review’.

However, in a break from tradition, Slipknot’s next single (Effects
of PCBs, p,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDE, HCB and â-HCH on thyroid function in
children) is about being mad at your dad.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 December 2008
Steven B Nimmo
Consultant in Occupational Medicine
Derriford Hospital Plymouth PL6 8BG