You already know you’re supposed to stay hydrated when it’s hot, or when you’re exercising. And you probably know the side effects of dehydration include dizziness, headaches, muscle aches, and even fainting. But what you may not know is that dehydration could also cause back and joint pain.
You might think your spine is mostly bone. But there’s actually a lot of water in the spinal discs that are tucked in between the vertebrae, or bones of the spine. Those discs are made of a jelly-like substance that is up to 85% water.
These discs act as shock absorbers. They enable the spine to support weight and provide flexibility to the spine. The large water content of the discs helps them carry out these roles.
When the discs lose water, they no longer work as well as they did before, which can cause back pain and other symptoms. The discs naturally lose some water as you age. But dehydration can also occur when you are not getting enough water, either by itself or in your food. If the dehydration is severe enough, it may increase the risk of injury to the spine or aggravate an existing spine condition.
Studies show most of us are walking around in a state of dehydration: One survey of over 3,000 Americans found that 75% of us are chronically dehydrated. Chronic dehydration is also believed to be the factor in roughly 20% of kidney stone cases.
Think you're drinking enough water because of all that coffee, alcohol, and those sodas you guzzle? Think again. Caffeine and alcohol cause dehydration, as does the typical American’s high sodium diet.
So, if you’re even a little thirsty (a sign that you are already 1-2% dehydrated), drink a tall, cool glass of water. There is some evidence that drinking cool water helps boost your metabolic rate by up to 30% - and water is good for your spine.
Make a commitment to your health today.
Stay well adjusted,
Dr. Dan Kammer