(Credit: Alan Silfen/Rob Melnychuk/Brand X Pictures)
Willow Smith’s hypnotically repetitive single “Whip My Hair” makes one thing very clear. Willow likes to whip her hair back and forth. A lot. Like, A LOT a lot. And her new “Whip My Hair” video clears up any residual confusion once and for all–Willow Smith cannot, in fact, stop whipping her hair back and forth.
Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair” video involves Willow and her Warriorette dancers enacting a very real, very literal interpretation of the song’s lyrics. Perhaps inspired by Petey Pablo’s “Raise Up,” 9-year-old Willow Smith–she’s the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and has already been signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label–and friends whip their hair and necks around like helicopters, and they manage to do it almost as fast as a chopper going full speed.
But does all that neck-breaking hair-whipping do a body good? We were dubious and a little worried, so we asked a doctor if whipping your hair back and forth could be hazardous to your health. Here’s what Dr. Jason Ough, MD, a pain management specialist based in New York, had to say about the potential dangers of whipping your hair.
Whiplash injury, aka “headbanger’s neck” is usually caused by car accidents where the person’s head snaps forward and then abruptly snaps backward (referred to as a flexion-extension injury). Other common causes include sporting injuries (like a quarterback sack), and rocking out way too hard to classic Metallica, as well as whipping your hair back and forth (i.e., whipping it real good) to shake off all the haters.
You may have a whiplash injury if you have neck pain or tenderness, problems moving your head/neck around, muscle spasms and tightness, headache, and sometimes even pain shooting down your neck to your shoulder/arm. Many times the pain doesn’t set in for a day or so after you’ve been doing some good hair whippin’. You may also end up flinging paint all over your school’s cafeteria. You may get in trouble for that.
For at-home treatment, you can use ice (the cold kind helps a bit more than the blingy kind, but diamonds still help–am I right, Gucci Mane??), heat, massage or take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Also, avoid heavy lifting, hair whipping (sorry haters) and headbanging (sorry Lars) for a while until your neck feels better. If it’s not getting better or you’re worried it might be more serious, call 911 and tell them you were whipping your hair. You might need X-rays or a soft collar. You may even need one of those cones around your neck that dogs wear so they won’t bite their legs after they have surgery (but only if you have a leg-biting problem as well).
The best prevention for whiplash is to stop driving or playing sports. If you do decide to whip your hair, bring it down a notch and whip your hair in a slower, gentler fashion. For us regular folk, hater-shaking hair whipping is probably best left to the professionals (and by that I mean 9-year-old precocious pop stars), as unsupervised whipping may lead to problems and injuries as described above. Slower shaking will still shake the haters off, but you’ll avoid looking like a crooked-necked gimpasaurus.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor on the Internet, but I am one in real life, but that doesn’t count on the Internet. Go see a real doctor.