How Dehydration May Be Causing Your Back Pain

Water plays a critical role in the management of many conditions. Comprising approximately 70 percent of the human body, water is a vital component in the health of every bodily system, including the musculoskeletal system and the management of chronic pain. In fact, dehydration can have a profound effect on the health of the spine and surrounding musculature, leading many to experience chronic pain and discomfort while performing a range of activities.

How Does Dehydration Affect Spine Health?

The spine is comprised of a series of vertebrae that are separated by spinal discs. These discs are composed of two parts: the outer ring and the inner gelatinous material. These components function to absorb shock to the spine that may occur as a result of regular daily movement patterns. As the day progresses, gravity continually exerts force on the body’s structures. This force causes water to slowly leach from the discs throughout the day.

At night, while the spine is no longer subjected to the force of gravity, the discs rehydrate. While this process is normal and recurring, inadequate hydration leaves the discs in a compromised condition. Without adequate water for rehydration, the discs can no longer absorb shock or force as they are designed to do. This may result in inflammation, discomfort and even bulging or herniated discs.

How to Hydrate Adequately

While the recommendation for water intake is approximately eight cups per day, this may not be appropriate for everyone. Athletes, for example, will need to consume far more water than those who are sedentary or perform very little physical activity. Similarly, those who reside in warm or arid climates will require more water for proper hydration.

As a general guideline, divide body weight in pounds by two. The resultant number will be the volume of water, in ounces, that one should consume on a daily basis. Following this guideline should ensure that you adequately hydrate your body, enabling the spine to function to the best of its ability. It is also necessary to take any physical activity into account when determining appropriate water consumption. After exercise or strenuous work, it is necessary to replace any fluid lost through perspiration.

For those who do not currently consume enough water on a daily basis, proper hydration may help decrease pain and discomfort. Adequate water intake is essential to optimal health, making hydration a powerful, yet simple tool to combat daily aches and pains. If your pain seems to be unwavering, have a spine expert assess your condition. Marc Cohen and the spine experts at the Spine Institute have experience helping the people in New Jersey alleviate back pain through patient-specific methods. Contact us at one of our many locations to today.