The Link Between Dehydration and Back Pain
By Sara Butler
Summer is in full swing, and those high temperatures can make it easier to become dehydrated. In fact, the National Institutes of Health estimate 75 percent of people in the United States don’t drink enough water. So, what’s the big deal? If you suffer from back pain dehydration may just be making it worse. Here’s what you need to know about the signs and symptoms of dehydration and how they may be contributing to your back pain.
The human body is 60 percent water, and it’s constantly being moved through and getting lost. When you sweat, use the restroom and even breathe you are losing water. This is why it’s so important to your overall health to make sure you are hydrated. So, how can you tell if you’re not getting enough water? You may experience:
- Dry skin
- Dry mouth
Of course, those are the most common signs and symptoms, but here are a few you may not realize that could also mean you’re dehydrated:
- Headaches – Your brain is bathed in water constantly in order to keep it cushioned. When you don’t have enough water in your body it can cause headaches in a few ways. Either your brain has lost that cushion and is bumping up against different parts of your skull or your neck muscles have tightened due to dehydration and are causing a headache. Drinking enough water can help to relieve this symptom, and when you combine it with a chiropractic adjustment you may be able to find more relief.
- Back pain – The muscles in your back can become stiff and sore when you aren’t hydrated enough, and stiff muscles can lead to painful muscle spasms or even slipped discs in your back and neck.
What You Can Do
Aside from making sure you drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water each day to stay hydrated, you can try to treat any symptoms you have impacting your neck and back with some other treatments.
Of course, see your chiropractor to make sure you are properly aligned. You can also use ice or heat to help relieve any muscle pain and stiffness you are experiencing. You should use ice first if you experience muscle pain or stiffness, and for about the first 24 hours after. It’s also a great treatment for migraines as well as muscle sprains and strains.
Heat is best after two to three days of ice therapy, using it for about 20 minutes at a time with at least an hour between treatments.
The most important thing you can do for your health this summer is to make sure you’re drinking enough water. You’ll be amazed how much better it can make you feel!