When you get lower back pain, you might reach for an anti-inflammatory and a heating pad. Maybe you should be grabbing a glass of water as well, because dehydration can cause back pain. Most people are unaware of the link between proper hydration and the discs between your vertebrae.
How Does Dehydration Cause Back Pain?
How can not drinking enough water can cause back pain? Those small discs cushion the space between your vertebrae. They have a marshmallow-like consistency and include fluid inside. When the body is not hydrated, it reduces the amount of fluid in the discs, and they become smaller. This results in insufficient support for the spine. The resulting stress can lead to swelling, which causes the discomfort in your back. It may even result in a herniated disc.
Hydration plays a critical role in the body’s overall health. Lack of water can lead to similar pain in the neck or leg. Our body needs to maintain hydration levels for all our parts to function as they are supposed to.
Drinking Water to Relieve Back Pain
Does drinking water help get rid of recurring back pain? Yes, over time. While you may not feel immediate relief when you take a swig of water, establishing better hydration habits will provide a long-term means of alleviating back discomfort.
You can use these tips to up your water intake and ensure you drink enough to keep your discs healthy:
- Aim for 64 ounces of water per day: That doesn’t mean you have to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water, as the recommendations have always suggested. Your water intake encompasses all the liquids you consume in a day, including coffee, tea and soup. Even a big bowl of watermelon counts toward your daily water goal.
- Drink more when you work out: You need even more water on top of the daily 64 ounces on days when you are active. Swigging water throughout your workout helps, and make sure to drink more afterward. Many people forget to keep hydrating long after their workout is over.
- Drink before you are thirsty: By the time your brain signals you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Stay ahead of that thirst by sipping water throughout the day. Keep a tumbler of water on your desk at work and aim to refill it at least twice a day.
- Monitor your hydration levels: One of the easiest ways to assess dehydration is by looking at the color of your urine. Light yellow or clear is the goal. Dark yellow or cloudy urine indicates dehydration.
What If Increasing Hydration Levels Doesn’t Entirely Relieve Symptoms?
While hydrating your body is always a good idea, more factors could be causing your lower back pain other than dehydration. If you follow the above suggestions and find that your symptoms are not improving, consider taking these additional steps to address the issue and possible causes:
- MRI: An MRI can help medical professionals gain a better understanding of the condition of your lower back and what could be causing you pain. This imaging helps determine whether your pain is dehydration-related or caused by a different issue.
- Physical Therapy: A spine specialist may recommend physical therapy once they view the results of your MRI or hear about your back pain. This treatment method will teach you how to maintain proper posture and help you regain strength and mobility in the spine, in turn, reducing pain.
- Injections: Stem cell injections use your body’s own stem cells to treat low back pain and are a great alternative to invasive surgery.
- Second Opinion: If you’ve been working with a medical professional without results or would like another individual’s opinion, consider reaching out to International Spine Institute to learn more about your best treatment options.
Contact International Spine Institute Today
If your back pain is not relieved by drinking more water and you’re ready to move on to those next steps, you may want to consider enlisting professional assistance as soon as possible. International Spine Institute can help. We get to know our patients one-on-one to offer the best care for each situation. We provide the least-invasive surgery options to ensure a faster recovery time that will get you back to work. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.