Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
A lot goes on inside your body when you’re dehydrated, including in your spine. Not getting enough water can wreak havoc on the strength and structural integrity of your spine, so it’s imperative that you make it a point to drink plenty of water throughout the day. To help hammer home the importance of staying hydrated, we’re going to take a closer look at what happens to your spine when you’re dehydrated.
Dehydration and Your Spine
Water plays a pivotal role in the health of your spine. For starters, the discs in your vertebrae need to be properly hydrated in order to best support the weight of your spinal column and body. When your body is dehydrated and these intervertebral discs shrink, vertebrae can actually touch one another and degenerate faster while also leaving you at a higher risk for disc rupture.
Dehydration also increases your likelihood of developing back pain, as muscles and other structures that aid in movement can’t move as easily when they are dehydrated. This can cause spasms, strains or cramps, all which tend to lead to back pain. Your spine also takes nutrients from the bloodstream, but blood can’t flow as easily when you’re dehydrated.
But that’s not all. Cartilage in your spinal joints can wear down if you have insufficient water intake. Your body is also going to begin taking water from sources within itself, including from your intervertebral discs. When that water is taken, there’s less room for spinal nerves, and compression can lead to shooting pain or numbness.
Finally, any activity that you perform while you’re dehydrated has a greater risk of leading to spinal injury. When your discs, muscles, spinal nerves and vertebrae aren’t adequately hydrated, they can shift, tear or fracture more easily. Athletic activity becomes a risky venture, while even mundane tasks like lifting objects or bending over can cause a spinal injury.
Hydrating Your Spine
The good news is that all of these issues can be prevented by simply making it a priority to stay hydrated throughout the day. Drink plenty of water, even if it doesn’t seem like you’re actively losing a lot through sweat, because your body is putting that water to good use. Other tips to stay hydrated include:
- Drinking water instead of caffeine or alcohol
- Knowing the signs of dehydration (dry mouth, fatigue, headaches, etc.)
- Carrying a refillable water bottle in your car or leaving one at the office
- Avoiding salty foods
- Avoiding tobacco products
- Rehydrating during and after athletic activity
If you don’t stay hydrated, you’re putting your spine and whole body at risk. Drinking enough healthy fluids is one of the easiest things we can do for our spines on a daily basis, so make it a priority. For more information or to talk to a spine specialist about your back injury, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.