Back pain

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!

Pinched Nerves

Pinched Nerves are also know as radiculopathy

Pinched Nerves are also know as radiculopathy.  Radiculopathy refers to a condition where a nerve root is compressed by some other tissue, which leads to pain, abnormal sensations, weakness and/or loss of muscle control down the course of the nerve.
 
Radiculopathy refers to the impingement of a nerve root or Radix at or near the spinal cord. However, there are other conditions that can mimic radiculopathy.  These occur when a nerve root is entrapped further from the spine by a muscle, bony structure or another tissue.  Examples of these include piriformis syndrome in the hip, or carpal tunnel in the hands. 
 
There are many other factors that lead to radiculopathy, these include degenerative disc disease, facet joint arthropathy, and arthritis. 
 
A skilled clinician can diagnose a pinched nerve in the exam room and MRI's are used for confirmation.  Symptoms originating in the neck or cervical spine can often be uncovered using compression tests such as Spurling’s test.  In the low body clinicians use straight leg test and slump test to look for low back nerve impingement.  Radicular problems are less common in the middle portion of the spinal column. 
 
Acupuncture treatment reduces radicular pain by alleviating pressure on the nerve root.  Accurate diagnosis, pin-point acupuncture treatment, and home exercises cure many pinched nerve situations!
 
There are situations where the degeneration is too advanced, or a spinal disc is too damaged to be managed with acupuncture and clinicians are trained to make referrals to appropriate doctors for these situations.