Is Dehydration Increasing Your Back Pain?

How Your Lack of Water is Causing Increased Back Pain

You hear it every day, drink plenty of water, don’t get dehydrated, but do we really think about the reasons why water is essential for every day living? Water is important for several reasons. It allows nutrients to travel to all parts of the body which helps maintain function of organs, joints, and the spine. Without proper hydration, your body cannot perform optimally which can cause a variety of different health problems- including back pain.

Your intervertebral discs which are sandwiched in between your bones in your back are comprised of mostly water.  These discs serve a crucial role in absorbing shock while walking, jumping, and even sitting. Intervertebral discs are made to dehydrate and rehydrate with increased water intake. Without proper hydration, your intervertebral discs shrink and cannot function properly. This will put additional pressure on the disc. When this happens, many things can occur. Inflammation of the discs due to increased pressure can cause bulges or herniations. Degeneration (or breaking down) of your bones in your back can also occur over time. This will cause pain in the low back that can be prevented with a simple solution of drinking enough water throughout the day.

So how much water should you be drinking a day? The rule of thumb used to be 64 ounces per day. This may be true for someone small, but it is found that we should be drinking AT LEAST half our body weight in ounces of water today for optimal function. So, if you are 200 lbs, you should be drinking 100 ounces of water per day. Most water bottles are 16 ounces… So, if we do the math, a 200 lb individual should be drinking 6-7 bottles of water per day. This number can fluctuate depending how active you are. It is important to hydrate before, during, and after each work out. The easiest way to monitor your hydration is to pay attention to the color of your urine. If you are well hydrated, your urine should be a pale yellow-clear color. Dehydration will appear dark yellow or cloudy.

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will keep your discs well hydrated and prevent issues such as back pain. It is important to remember that not drinking enough water can do so much more than make you thirsty. Keep your spine and the rest of your body in check by staying well hydrated!