Is Dehydration the Cause of your Back Pain?


You’ve heard it time and time again: drink more water! Water makes up over 50% of your body, and when you aren’t properly hydrated, you can suffer the side effects of dehydration, including headaches, dizziness, and even fainting. Did you know that dehydration could even be the cause of your back pain?

Dehydration takes water from the spinal discs located between every other vertebra, which causes your back to ache. When these discs aren’t hydrated, your spine ends up taking on the full shock of your body’s movements, resulting in pain. Here’s what you should know:

Dehydration and Back Pain

The link between dehydration and back pain are the small discs in your spine. Those little jelly-like discs are nearly 75% water. The outer ring, called the nucleus pulposus, and the inner ring are mainly water. In fact, but the end of the day, you could be up to a 1/2 in shorter than when you woke up in the morning. That’s because throughout the day, water is slowly released from your spinal discs. While you are sleeping, your discs rehydrate themselves, so you return to your full height in the morning. Your discs try to stay hydrated throughout the day, but it is challenging in an upright position. To help keep your discs hydrated, drink plenty of water and keep moving throughout the day!

When the discs of your spine are not adequately hydrated, they cannot properly support and protect your spine. The jelly-like discs are between every two vertebrae and they absorb the shock from your everyday movements while protecting your spine from wear and tear. If they are unable to function properly, more stress will be added to the spine causing swelling, which will become painful and can even cause the discs to bulge.

Are You Dehydrated?

Here are 10 signs to that indicate dehydration:

  1. Fatigue

  2. Bad Breath

  3. Dark Urine

  4. Muscle Cramps

  5. Dry Skin

  6. Headaches

  7. Dry Eyes/Blurry Vision

  8. Anger

  9. Dizziness

  10. Fever

You know how important it is to stay hydrated, but it isn’t always easy. Set a goal of consuming 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound that you weigh. So, if you weight 160 pounds, start with consuming 80 ounces of water throughout the day. Remember that your health (and the health of your spine) depends on proper hydration!

Tips to Stay Hydrated

  • Drink plenty of water

  • Drink water and additional electrolytes when working out

  • Don’t like water? Add flavoring like fresh mint or lemon juice to make it more appealing

  • Eat fresh raw fruits and vegetables

  • Monitor your urine

  • Purchase a reusable water bottle with a design that you like so you will feel good about carrying it with you

  • Set a timer to keep tabs on your intake of water, or download a water tracking app

Have other tips to stay hydrated? Let us know in the comments section! If you think dehydration might be the cause of your back pain and you’d like a professional opinion, contact us to schedule an appointment.