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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

How Does Water Dehydration Cause Back Pain?

Posted by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer D.C. on Thu, May 08, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

dehydrationThe Importance of Water

Water is a vital component for all life forms. As one of Earth's living organisms, it's imperative that you drink enough water to remain healthy, as it affects every organ and cell in your body. Not consuming enough water causes serious health-related problems, particularly damaging back pain. Check out how lack of water is directly linked to spine and back complications, as well as what you can do to resolve this devastating effect. 

How Chronic Dehydration Causes Back Pain 

Lack of water, or dehydration, has been found to be the source of back pain in several individuals. There's a disc existing between every two vertebrae which functions as a shock absorber that's resistant to the daily wear-and-tear on our backs. This disc contains an outer, flexible, but extremely tough, ring filled with a gelatinous substance called the nucleus pulposis and an inner substance that primarily consists of water.

Over time, gravity manipulates the spine and causes water to gradually leave the disks which are then programmed to rehydrate. Regular movement during the day keeps your discs hydrated because as the spine moves back and forth, the discs absorb what water is available. 

If there's not adequate water levels in the body, however, your disks can't successfully rehydrate themselves. As a result, the whole disc becomes compromised and loses the ability to function properly. The inner portion becomes dehydrated, leaving the majority of your weight to be upheld by the outer ring. Since your outer ring isn't designed to carry the inner portion's load, your back becomes riddled with pain, swelling, and even ruptures or herniations of the disc's outer shell. 

Watch how we can rehydrate your disc at the Illinois Back Institute here. 


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Who's Most Vulnerable to Back Pain Caused By Dehydration?

• Individuals who exert enormous amounts of energy on a regular basis, such as runners, entertainers, athletes

• Those who are often exposed to extremely hot weather

• Military personnel   

• Senior Citizens

Combating Back Pain Caused By Chronic Dehydration 

• Drink Plenty of Water

One of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce back pain is to increase your daily intake of clean, healthy water. Don’t wait until you're thirsty to drink water; take a proactive stance and consume considerable amounts beforehand. Otherwise, excessive bouts of thirstiness could be an indicator that you're already on the verge of dehydration.   

• Get Enough Exercise  

Light exercise is also beneficial. Be sure to flex your back and neck throughout the day to eliminate stiff or cramped muscles. It's best to consume water before, during, and after you begin any physical activities in order to avoid back spasm.   

How much water should you drink?

Contrary to popular belief, the recommend amount of water isn't 8 cups per day. Drinking levels usually depend on the different needs of each individual.

An athlete, for example, needs to drink considerably more water than someone who's not an athlete because athletes lose more water while exercising and need lots more to replenish. Another example is two individuals who are different sizes in weight. Heavier individuals require more water to stay hydrated. 

To simplify things, it's best to drink one cup for every 20 pounds of body weight. A 150-pound person, for instance, who doesn't exercise or dwell in hot climates needs about 7.5 cups of pure water. Try to limit consumption of non-water beverages, as High intakes of caffeine or sweeteners only make you more susceptible to dehydration. 

Water plays an important part of regulating your body's ability to function accordingly. Be mindful of your daily intake to decrease your chances of being dehydrated and to have a better quality of life. 

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Topics: water, dehydration, back pain relief, general back pain, lower back pain, Back Pain, causes of back pain