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Smoke Headache. How Do I Cure It?
January 23, 2006 7:49 AM   Subscribe

How do I prevent a non-drinking related "morning after" headache from occurring?

It never fails; our band plays a show in an ungodly smokey bar. All is fine for the duration of the show. We tear down our gear, go home and the next morning I wake up with the worst headache ever. Everyone in our band has the same thing occur. They've tried different remedys to prevent them but to varying degrees of success. Our lead singer inhales salt water to clear out the nasal passages. I tried this and it didn't work. Aspirin before bed doesn't seem to have any effect. I'm sure others who work in smokey environs have had the same thing. Any ideas on how to prevent these smoke headaches?
posted by KevinSkomsvold to Health & Fitness (31 answers total)
 
I'm interested in trying any home remedies no matter how wacky they may sound. Teas, herbal (no not THAT herb) or homeopathic ideas whould be greatly appreciated.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:51 AM on January 23, 2006


Maybe sleeping with a humidifier on those nights?
posted by amro at 7:52 AM on January 23, 2006


Drinking lots and lots of water. Staying hydrated isn't just a good idea, it's...Well, actually it really is just a great idea all around.

If there's a possibility that allergies are in play here, pop a Benadryl (or half a Benadryl, if you're sensitive) in addition to the water at bedtime.
posted by Gator at 7:53 AM on January 23, 2006


Rather than asperin before bed, try a couple Excedrin. They've knocked out the worst headaches on occasion.
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 7:57 AM on January 23, 2006


Are you sure it's smoke and not volume or a change in hours? Assume you've done a control by playing in a similar-sized non-smoky room...

When I was in a band and played the occasional smoky room (as a non-smoker) I always felt much better if, no matter how late it was when I rolled home, I took off all the smoky clothes, put them into a containment, and SHOWERED. Waking up in the morning still stinking of groupies-I-mean-smoke is a disgusting feeling, even if you don't have a headache. Along with that, as suggested above, hydrate. But I think I had more damage from volume (fender twin AND 100w sovtek side-by-side seemed like a good idea at the time) than second-hand-smoke, so your mileage may vary.
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:01 AM on January 23, 2006


Excederine has caffeine and if I took one right before bed I'd be in even worse shape...
posted by sohcahtoa at 8:02 AM on January 23, 2006


I wouldn't recommend Excedrin before bed. One serving of Excedrin has as much caffeine as a couple cans of Coke.
posted by rxrfrx at 8:03 AM on January 23, 2006


1) Is your band using ear protection? Please say yes. If not, you are absolutely decimating your hearing and that's the problem.

2) If yes, I second 2 things: Shower before bed (it's refreshing, you get the smoke stink out, etc), and drink lots of water. Many headaches are caused by mild dehydration.
posted by twiggy at 8:04 AM on January 23, 2006


Amro: That was suggested to me and I've done that. It didn't seem to have any effect.

Gator: Good point re: allergies. I've not tried Benadryl and will give that a go after our next show. Thanks!

SSB: I did try Excedrin and it seemed to have no effect whatsoever.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:06 AM on January 23, 2006


I was going to mention the noise possibility as well, but thought it might come off as being cheeky. Personally never experienced smoke headaches from back in the days when I used to go to smoky bars and not drink (thankfully now they're all smoke free), and it seems odd that you would *all* have the same reaction to somke. Any smokers in the band, or is it all non-smokers? Just out of curiosity...
posted by antifuse at 8:07 AM on January 23, 2006


I used to work in a smokey bar. On the weekend nights, no matter the decibel levels, I'd wake up the following mornings with horrible headaches. I eventually figured out that the combination of extra smokers and not enough water was doing it. I got into the habit of drinking water all night instead of soda. When I got home I showered and drank a small container of a sports drink. All but eliminated the headaches.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:09 AM on January 23, 2006


Wow, the shower thing is a great idea! I'm usually so dead tired I just flop into bed so maybe that'd be the key to prevention. I usually want to burn my clothes after a show, they smell so bad, but normally I just bag them and toss em in the hamper. I'll definately try showering and see how that goes.

Re: Ear protection. We are an alt-country band and usually keep our stage volume so low we can converse on stage, its so quiet. However, you point is well taken. Maybe even at that volume, something is amiss. Earplugs are worth a try.

Keep the ideas coming. Y'all are great and I thank you!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:18 AM on January 23, 2006


Antifuse: Ironically, I am the only smoker in the band yet this problem does seem to affect all of us on some level. I do plan on quitting sometime this week (another story altogether) so I'm sure that'll go a long way toward prevention as well.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:21 AM on January 23, 2006


Teas, herbal (no not THAT herb) or homeopathic ideas whould be greatly appreciated.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:51 AM PST on January 23


Just for your information, homeopathic remedies do not contain any active ingredients. It's essentially distilled water that may have touched like duck liver or almond extract at some point in the past. It is indistinguishable from water distilled in a laboratory.

That said, I will send you a vial of homeopathic water that's exactly the same as that which you buy in the store. I'll charge half of whatever you'd pay normally.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:27 AM on January 23, 2006


If you have a porch or something, I've noticed that the cigg smell goes away if you leave your clothes outside for a couple days. Cheaper (and lazier) then washing them.

I can't get back from a smoky club without taking a shower, because the smell is in my hair. Ugg.

But yeah, you're probably having issues from not drinking enough water.
posted by delmoi at 8:27 AM on January 23, 2006


Just for your information, homeopathic remedies do not contain any active ingredients. It's essentially distilled water that may have touched like duck liver or almond extract at some point in the past. It is indistinguishable from water distilled in a laboratory.

Actually, that's not true; in some cases some scientists have noticed effects in the lab, although I don't think anyone has shown any medical benifits.
posted by delmoi at 8:33 AM on January 23, 2006


There's also been measurable results shown on human cells on samples diluted to the point that only 1.36 molecules on average would have been in the solution. This study was done by a skeptic, hoping to disprove homeopathy, IIRC.

If you want to oppose pseudoscience, you should probably not use pseudoscience yourself
posted by delmoi at 8:38 AM on January 23, 2006


Drink a couple of cups of water before you go to bed. It may help to detoxify your systerm.
posted by Radio7 at 8:42 AM on January 23, 2006


Smoke depletes vitamin C. Make an extra effort the day of a gig to eat C-rich foods and/or make sure to take your vitamins. Helps immensely with the smoke hangover.
posted by desuetude at 8:59 AM on January 23, 2006


Actually, that's not true; in some cases some scientists have noticed effects in the lab

The experiment referenced in your link was not high-dilution.

W/r/t your PubMed link, I have no idea. I've never read that journal and I don't have any clue as to its trustworthiness.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:36 AM on January 23, 2006


If you want to oppose pseudoscience, you should probably not use pseudoscience yourself

Relying on the vast, overwhelming majority of studies that indicate that homeopathy is pure crap is hardly pseudoscience.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2006


Yeah, a single citation to a very obscure journal isn't not really very persuasive in the face of all the studies that show that homeopathy isn't significantly more effective than a placebo.

If there was any good evidence that homeopathy worked, it would be big news, and go into NEJM, JAMA, or the Lancet.
posted by grouse at 9:50 AM on January 23, 2006


I didn't say it worked better then placebo, what I said was that it was not indistinguishable from pure water in a lab. I have no idea if that research is good or not, I suppose that there could have been an experimental error in the result.
posted by delmoi at 11:38 AM on January 23, 2006


Back to the question, two herbs come to mind,gingko Bilbao works by stimulating blood flow to the brain, and Fever few, studied for migraine relief ,because of it's long use in folk medicine as headache remedy. These are available as supplements and most likely work better if you take them with water,like a lot of medicine.
posted by hortense at 11:56 AM on January 23, 2006


Ginkgo Bilboba
posted by hortense at 11:59 AM on January 23, 2006


In my anecdotal experience, don't oversleep the following morning. In other words, if you're used to waking up at 9, wake up at 9 the morning following a show, even if it means only four or five hours of sleep. I feel more on top of things when I do that, but YMMV.
posted by ori at 1:39 PM on January 23, 2006


Headaches after breaking routine can sometimes be the result of caffeine withdrawal. If you usually drink coffee in the evening, but don't do so on the evening of a gig, it could contribute to the headache.
posted by zadcat at 3:53 PM on January 23, 2006


30c homeopathic tabacum.
posted by brujita at 10:24 PM on January 23, 2006


I'd opt for a couple Alleve before bed over Aspirin or Excedrin.

If you want more of an alternative option, I read recently about l-cysteine in You: The Owner's Manual as a supplement for keeping the lungs clear and healthy. I checked PubMed, and it seems like it might have some basis. It's an amino acid that doesn't seem to have any bad effects, and it's not too expensive. I pop two or three before I go out to a club now and two or three after I get home. Seems to help keep my asthma away, maybe it will help with headaches too.
posted by booizzy at 9:30 PM on January 24, 2006


I'll second several recommendations here, as I used to do the smokey bar band thing ten years ago.

1) Water is your friend.
2) gingko/feverfew/ginseng
3) Watch the caffeine, the backlash is deadly.
4) The shower does wonders, especially if you're doing two nights in a row...
5) If you haven't been showering after gigs, change or air out your pillows. Smoke+hair=stinky pillows.
6) Watch what you're eating, too. You might be aggravating a food allergy with something you eat only at gigs. (I found out I was allergic to corn because I was eating too many nachos!)

Hope some of this helps!
posted by erisraven at 10:59 PM on January 24, 2006


30c homeopathic tabacum.
posted by brujita at 10:24 PM PST on January 23


That's a dilution of 1:10^60. Not one molecule of active ingredient would be in that dose. But hey thanks for the voodoo magic suggestion I bet it works real well.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:59 AM on January 25, 2006


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