How Dehydration Affects Your Spine

Any medical professional will tell you that staying hydrated is the key to basic health. Hydration plays a vital role in the function of our body’s organs and tissues. Without it, the body is prone to aches, pains, and illnesses. For anyone with chronic back pain, drinking enough water can alleviate some of the discomfort.

Water keeps muscles and ligaments functioning smoothly, which is imperative for proper back care. There are a few other reasons that explain why drinking water helps reduce back pain.

The Link Between Dehydration and Back Pain

In the spine, vertebrae are separated from each other by a shock-absorbing disc that provides support during exercise and movement. Strong ligament fibers and a jelly-like core composed of collagen and water make-up the core of each disc.

If we don’t drink enough water during the day, the discs atrophy, limiting their ability to absorb shock and protect the spine. Over time, this can lead to back and neck pain as well as injury to the disc. When you drink water, the liquid flows through the spine and is absorbed by the discs, allowing them to rehydrate.

Signs of Dehydration

If you aren’t sure if you’re hydrated enough, the color of your urine provides a clue. It should be pale yellow; a darker hue can be a sign of dehydration. Other symptoms of dehydration can include:

  • Dry skin
  • Sour breath
  • Muscle cramps
  • Headaches
  • Cravings for sweet foods
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness

The human body is 60-70 percent water. When you don’t get enough, it will take a toll on your physical health. Pay attention to your body and your cravings!

Getting Sufficient Hydration

Although the general rule of thumb is that you should drink eight glasses of water each day, the actual number depends on a range of factors.

Consider your size and activity level. You also need to drink more water when you’re spending time in the sun or exercising. Be sure to drink water before, during, and after exercise. If working out for longer than 60 minutes, drink water along with a sports drink that contains potassium and electrolytes.

For maximum hydration, avoid beverages that contribute to dehydration such as coffee, tea, and soda. You can also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which have high water content and contribute to proper hydration. Staying hydrated may help decrease back pain and ensure a healthy spine. Even after your 8 cups a day, if you’re still having pain, consult with a spine expert. At Marc Cohen Spine Institute, our spine experts will assess your condition and find the right treatment for you. Call 973-607-2038 to schedule an appointment or contact us.