Do you ever notice that you suffer from severe lower back pain more in the summer than any other time of the year? Have you ever considered that maybe you weren’t getting the hydration needed for your body to properly function? Although it is recommended that we drink 64 ounces daily, we don’t always find ourselves meeting those numbers and when you mix the lack of water with high temperatures, the end result could lead to a very painful issue. As always, make sure that when you are outside and start feeling too hot that you take some time to cool off and rehydrate.
Make sure to consult with your chiropractic provider if you are having any symptoms of lower back pain that may or may not be related to dehydration.
LOWER BACK PAIN & THE WATER RELATIONSHIP
You’ve heard it countless times before: drink plenty of water! The human body is made up of over 50% water and when you aren’t properly hydrated, lower back pain can be the side effect of dehydration. That includes dizziness, headaches, and even fainting. As if that’s not bad enough, dehydration could even be the cause of your back pain.
Dehydration causes the spinal discs to lose water, resulting in lower back pain. When those discs aren’t hydrated as they should be, your spine ends up suffering the consequences by taking on the full shock of your movements, which leads to pain. Here is what you need to know.
BACK PAIN AND DEHYDRATION
The small discs in your spine link dehydration and back pain. Those discs are filled with a jelly-like substance that is almost 75% water. Both the inner and outer ring (aka the nucleus pulposus) are made almost entirely of water, so much so that by the end of the day, you could be up to a half inch shorter than you were when you woke up in the morning. That is because water is slowly released from your spinal discs throughout the day.
Your discs rehydrate while you are sleeping, so you wake up at your full height. Help your discs stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water and getting up to stretch.
When your spinal discs aren’t hydrated, they can’t protect and support your spine as they should. These jelly-like discs are between every two vertebrae of the spine and they absorb much of the shock from day-to-day movements while also protecting your spine. If they can’t do their job properly, even more stress is put on the spine which can cause painful swelling and even bulged discs.
SIGNS OF DEHYDRATION
Keep an eye out for these indicators of dehydration:
Bad Breath, Dark Urine, Fatigue, Headaches, Dry Skin, Muscle Cramps, Dry Eyes/Blurry Vision, Dizziness, Irritability, Fever
Now you know how important it is to stay hydrated, but it isn’t always easy. Sometimes water just seems boring or you simply forget. Try to set a goal of drinking a half ounce to an ounce of water per pound that you weigh (i.e. drink at least 80 ounces of water if you weight 160 pounds). Try to remember that your health and wellness (and that of your spine) depend on it!
TIPS TO STAY HYDRATED
Add fresh fruit or herbs like mint to make your water more refreshing
Drink water with added electrolytes while exercising or working outdoors
Consume more raw vegetables and fruits
Find a reusable water bottle with a design that you like so you can enjoy carrying it around with you and feel good about an eco-friendly choice
Download a water tracking app on your phone or set a time to remind you to drink up