Back Pain, Disc Health, and Dehydration

How does dehydration affect low back pain?

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The discs in your spine are fibrous bundles with soft liquid centers. The discs are nearly 75% water. The outer ring is more fibrous and tough while the inner ring, also known as the nucleus pulposus, is mostly water. During a normal day, due to pressure, water is slowly released from the spinal discs.  By the end of the day you may be up to a half an inch shorter than when you woke up in the morning. During the night, while the pressure on the discs is low, your spinal discs will rehydrate and expand. 

Your discs attempt to stay hydrated during the day. However, the pressure of your body, lack of movement and poor water intake all limit their ability to maintain hydration.  In order to support your discs in their effort to stay hydrated it’s important to maintain good water intake throughout the day. 

When you’re dehydrated your discs are unable to maintain properly hydration. Without hydration they shrink and cannot support and protect your spine. The soft pulp in the center of the discs absorb the downward pressure of your body and the impacts of everyday movement. When they are shrunken more stress is put on the bones of the spine which causes swelling, pain, and contribute to bulgingdiscs.

8   signs of dehydration:

·     Thirst
·     Dark Urine
·     Bad Breath
·     Fatigue
·     Muscle Cramps
·     Blurry Vision/Dry Eyes
·     Dizziness
·     Headaches

Basic Hydration Goals

·    A daily goal of ½ ounce per pound of body weight is generally accepted as a good baseline for hydration. 

·    A 200-pound person should consume 100 ounces of water per day to stay hydrated. 

·    If you increase exercise and other activities this number may need to be adjusted upwards!