Drinking water reduces back pain.
If you plan to spend any time outdoors this summer, don’t treat your body like the desert.
Make sure to drink plenty of water because the health of your back may depend on it.
Not drinking enough water, especially during the hottest days of the year, can cause back pain. The spine needs to top off its tank just like the rest of the systems in the body.
How does dehydration cause back pain?
Between every vertebrae lives a disc. There are 23 of these and they play an important role in supporting the spine. They are like little shock absorbers that protect the spine from damage when we walk, run, jump and play.
There are two parts of a disc. A tough outer ring of ligament fibers called the Annulus Fribosus, and a jelly-filled inner core called the nucleus pulposus. The jelly-filled center is made up of collagen and, you guessed it, water. Both the outer shell and inner core work together to absorb shock and support the spine.
Throughout the day, the discs lose water and need to rehydrate. When we don’t drink enough water, the inner core of the disc shrinks, losing some its shock absorbing capability. The outer shell then must shoulder more of the burden, causing an imbalance.
When there is an imbalance in the partnership between the outer shell and the inner core of the disc it can lead to more back pain and, potentially, wear and tear on the anatomy. Eventually, it can lead to pain and swelling and even a bulging disc or herniated disc. Drinking water to adequately replenish the discs with the amount water needed to work properly can reduce the likelihood of developing back pain.
How much water should you drink?
Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is the advice most people have heard; however, there is no scientific evidence to support it. It’s just an easy thing to remember.
How much water you should drink really depends on a variety of factors, such as your health, how much you weigh, how active you are and where you live.
A person who just ran a marathon needs to drink a lot more water than a person sitting in an air-conditioned office staring at a computer screen all day.
The Institute of Medicine determined men should drink about 13 cups a day and women 9 cups.
Another way to figure out how much to drink every day is body weight. Drink one cup for every 20 pounds of body weight. For example, a 180 pound person who doesn’t exercise or live in a hot climate needs to drink about 9 cups of water.
Drinking soda, coffee or tea do not rehydrate, in fact they do the opposite because they are filled with artificial sweeteners and caffeine that will dehydrate you.
The best advice is always let your thirst be your guide. Listen to what your body is telling you. When you are thirsty, don’t ignore it. Drink enough water to quench it.