Hydration and Spinal Health
Hydration and Spinal Health
Much like driving a car fueled by gas, our bodies can’t function properly without water. Without proper fuel, a vehicle’s engine will break down or become unreliable. Our bodies are made up of 70% water, and without proper hydration, our ability to function is diminished substantially.
Since childhood, we’ve been told to drink water so accepting this reality comes easy. However, if you look further into this, you’ll find that water is more important than you may realize. Water is key to regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients, and lubricating joints. Without proper hydration, the body is unable to function optimally. The health of the spine, in particular, relies heavily on proper hydration.
How Does The Spine Work?
As crucial as the spine is within daily activities, it is important to understand its mechanics. At its core, the spine is home to vertebrae, rows of bone that align vertically. Wedged between each bone is a disc which works to absorb shock when bending, twisting, or flexing. Discs between the vertebrae ensure the bones do not rub together, therefore, reducing shock.
Within each disk of the vertebrae lies a nucleus pulposus. The nucleus pulposus is mainly made of water and provides movement as the spine rotates and moves in various directions. From the loss of hydration in discs, the adult spine is capable of losing height daily. Without proper rehydration, disc height starts to gradually reduce creating other medical issues.
Spinal Issues Resulting From Dehydration
Dehydration deeply affects spinal health as discs become compressed or unable to refill. Unable to refill, discs that lack proper hydration remain compressed leading to potential spinal injury. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, water loss causes discs to collapse between vertebrae resulting in injury. Injuries like spinal stenosis, degenerative disc, and herniated disc can arise from a core of dehydrated discs within vertebrae. This creates an immediate need for treatment and subsequent preventative measures.
How Can The Spine Rehydrate?
As your entire body relies on proper hydration, it is important to not only drink plenty of water, but eat foods that hydrate, as well. Not only does direct water consumption hydrate but incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet also aids in hydration Watermelon, cantaloupe, lettuce, tomatoes, or strawberries are made of more than 90% water and also contain essential nutrients. Eating and drinking things that hydrate will help your spine function more efficiently.
There is a lot of question about the right amount of water to drink in order to ensure proper hydration. Common wisdom is to drink eight glasses (8 ounces each) per day but this general rule isn’t always the right amount for everyone. For example, if you are active or have a propensity to sweat a lot your needs will increase beyond this. We found a cool calculator to help determine your water needs based on things such as your age, size, and activity level.
While hydrating is a great starting point, water replenishment may not fully heal spinal injuries or back pain. Chiropractic care to include spinal manipulation or adjustments is recommended for those with injury in relationship to the spine. We offer extensive varieties of treatment, to include herniated disc treatment. We believe in positively impacting your health and wellness and know that chiropractic care and proper hydration are two keys to this.
Putting It All Together
Just as you keep fuel in the gas tank of your car, maintain appropriate hydration for the health of your spine and overall wellness. Proper hydration through daily water intake and a diet rich in fruits and veggies will keep you feeling and functioning at your very best. Remember: if the spine becomes dehydrated, chances of spinal injury increase. A combination of tailored chiropractic care and hydration through both food and water are key to repairing and preventing such injuries.
Feel Better. Live Better.
Whether you are suffering from pain, or are interested in learning how to live a more healthy lifestyle we invite you to reach out to the clinic location that is most convenient to you and begin to reap the positive benefits of chiropractic care.
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