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December 28, 1984

Breaker's Neck

Author Affiliations

Lincoln Hospital New York Medical College

JAMA. 1984;252(24):3366-3367. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350240016019

To the Editor.—  To be added to the rapidly growing list of socially acquired injuries,1-4 we report a case of traumatic cervical subluxation caused by a new dance technique. This technique, labeled "breaking" by its devotees, involves a modified head stand, in which the dancer, using his arms and hands for balance, spins rapidly on his head, neck, or shoulders to the rhythm of disco music. He then lowers his body to the floor and performs a series of rotational motions using his arms as a fulcrum.

Report of a Case.—  A 15-year-old boy was seen in our pediatric emergency room complaining that, on awakening two days previously, he felt a "snap" in his neck, followed by persistent neck stiffness. He reported having "danced on his head" the night prior to this incident. On physical examination, his head was tilted to the left with an inability to flex or

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Walker FW, Lillemoe KD, Farquharson RR:  Disco felon .  N Engl J Med 1979;301:166-167.
Powers RD, Lamb GC, Matyasz RC, et al:  Urban cowboy rhabdomyolysis .  N Engl J Med 1981;304:427.
McCowan TC:  Space invaders wrist .  N Engl J Med 1979;304:1368.