Water is an essential nutrient that is used by every cell, organ, and tissue in the human body. It is used to produce new cells, repair cellular damage, remove waste, digest food, and perform many other essential tasks.
The majority of patients visiting City Chiropractic Clinic in in Stoke on Trent are well aware of the important role of water for maintaining good health. However, we often discover that patients don’t appreciate how much hydration affects the health of the back.
The human spine requires water to rehydrate spinal discs, remove waste, and perform several other functions. If you don’t hydrate properly, it can contribute to back pain, impact your mobility, and increase the risk of certain back problems.
In this post, our Stoke chiropractor will explain why hydration is important for back health. If you have any questions, please contact our chiropractic clinic in Stoke on Trent by calling 01782 848 184 or emailing email@example.com.
Understanding The Spine
To learn how hydration affects the spine, we need to look at how the spine functions. The spinal column consists of a row of bones called vertebrae. Between each vertebrae is a spinal disc.
Spinal discs are disc-shaped objects with a tough exterior made from a ring of ligament fibres, called the annulus fibrosus. The annulus fibrosus encases a soft, jelly-like inner core, called the nucleus pulposus.
The primary role of spinal discs is to provide cushioning between the vertebrae and to protect the spine against sudden impacts. Spinal discs also prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against one another as you move about, protecting the vertebrae from damage.
The ‘squishiness’ of spinal discs largely depends upon how well hydrated they are. If you don’t drink enough water, they become thinner, which can lead to a variety back problems.
How Spinal Discs Use Water
As you move about throughout the day, the spine compresses, placing pressure on the spinal discs. This pressure forces the discs to release some of the fluid they contain.
The body will use any excess water that is available to rehydrate the discs throughout the day. However, the vast majority of spinal disc rehydration occurs at night as you sleep, when the body is in a horizontal position. The spinal discs will also use the time you spend sleeping to remove any waste products.
The important role of sleep for maintaining the health of spinal discs is one of the reasons why our chiropractors advise clients at our chiropractic clinic in Stoke on Trent to get plenty of good quality rest. It is essential for helping your spinal discs regenerate after a busy day.
Problems Caused By Dehydration
If you become dehydrated, the spinal discs may not have enough fluid available to successfully rehydrate their gelatinous centre. This causes the discs to remain compressed, placing more strain on the fibrous outer layer of the discs.
Eventually, the additional stress placed on the discs can cause pain, mobility issues, and increase the risk of back problems like herniated discs. It can also worsen conditions like degenerative disc disease.
Having dehydrated discs can even affect your mobility, as the spine cannot bend as easily. This loss of mobility can increase the risk of injury, particularly if you are a very active person.
We have found that a surprisingly high number of sportspeople visiting our chiropractors have back issues related to dehydration. They are often not meeting their hydration requirements.
How The Body Prioritises Spinal Disc Hydration
When you drink water, it is initially used to replenish vital organs like the brain, digestive system, lungs, eyes, heart, and kidneys. It is only after your vital organs have been fully rehydrated that the body begins to rehydrate spinal discs. The low priority of spinal disc hydration means you will need to remain very well hydrated and get plenty of rest each day to maintain the health of your back.
How Much Water Should You Drink?
It is often said that most adults need to drink about 8 cups of water per day to remain hydrated. However, the amount of water you need will vary greatly based on the where you live, your physical characteristics and your lifestyle.
A 6 foot bricklayer who is working in the sun all day will need much more water than a 4 foot office worker who is in an air conditioned environment. Athletes also tend to need much more water than an average person because they push their bodies harder and perspire a lot.
So, while health authorities do have recommendations on water intake (3.7 litres for men per day and 2.7 litres for women), these levels need to be adjusted based on a variety of factors.
Fortunately, determining the right amount of water to drink each is made easy by the invention of hydration calculators. You can either visit a website like Hydration For Health or download a hydration calculator app for your smartphone.
Remember to increase water intake whenever working in hot weather or exercising at a high intensity. Also, increase your water intake even more if you are consuming food, drinks, or medications which are diuretics.
Drinking plenty of water is a simple preventative measure that can protect the health of your back and help you avoid an unnecessary trip to visit one of our Stoke chiropractors at City Chiropractic Clinic. For more information on hydration and back health, contact us today on 01782 848 184 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take your first step towards better health and call us on 01782 848 184 today
From the team at City Chiropractic Clinic
Our Chiropractors in Stoke on Trent are here to help you