It is hard to imagine how simply drinking water can help decrease your back pain. Therefore, I have written this article to help you understand how important water is to you spine.
During the summer when the weather is hot, I noticed that patients with back pain may be associated with a lack of water intake. Proper hydration level is very important for the body to reach its maximum healing potential. Back pain can be greatly relieved by simply increasing daily water intake. Or to put it another way, back pain in many cases is caused or exacerbated by chronic dehydration.
To realize why water is so important, we must first understand the structure of the spine. The spine is made up of many bones (vertebra) joined together by a disc. The disc, the cause of severe back pain, is very flexible and allows the spine to move in many different directions. This structure is made up of a tough outer ring fibers and a middle gelatinous substance called the nucleus pulposis, which is primarily WATER. During the day, when you are standing or sitting, gravity causes compression of the disc, thus, squeezing water out. At night when you sleep, water is reabsorb and the disc is rehydrated. If you measure your height in the morning and compare it to at night, you may see yourself taller in the morning. It is similar to a sponge increasing in size when it absorbs water. That is why you may have to adjust the rear view mirror when you drive to work in the morning.
Once we understand why water is so important to the spine, we must be able to identify the signs of dehydration. Dehydration can range from mild signs, such as, thirst, loss of appetite, dry skin, dark coloured urine, dry mouth, fatigue or weakness, to more advance signs, such as, muscle cramps, headaches, tingling of the limbs and extreme fatigue. These are not the only symptoms of dehydration that may manifest, but are simply the most common. Symptoms of dehydration will differ from person to person because the body is a complex network of systems and everyone’s body is different.
Treatment for dehydration is very simple – drink water. A simple formula for how much water to drink is to consume 40-50 percent of your body weight in ounces of water. One glass of water is approximately 8 oz. Therefore, if you weight 150lbs, you should drink about 7 to 9 glasses of water a day. Soda, coffee, alcohol, and black teas are not included for a good sources of water because of their diuretic effects. In addition if you work in a hot environment or out in the sun, your water consumption should be greater than average.
Therefore, if you want to avoid back pains, a simple solution during the summer months is to drink a lot of water.