6 months ago

Can Dehydration Cause Back Pain? Why You Need To Drink More Water

Are you drinking enough water? If not it could have serious consequences for your back and the levels of pain you feel during the day.

Can dehydration cause back pain?

So what's the big deal with drinking water?

Well, water is our life source and you need to drink enough of it to keep your body healthy and working well.

In fact, when you think that our bodies are made up of around 60-70% water you begin to realise how important water is.

Basically without the H2O we are fcuked!

As it nourishes every single cell and organ in your body as well as flushing out the bodies waste and toxins and helping you to digest food.

So you need to keep yourself hydrated and get into the habit of drinking water regularly.

And this is something you need to be even more aware of if you suffer from back pain. ​

Because allowing yourself to become dehydrated can have dire consequences for your back.

Why Does Dehydration Cause Back Pain?

Drinking enough water is also vital for keeping your spinal discs healthy, which you need to do as these discs are crucial for keeping your back free from pain.

As they act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae of your spine by cushioning and supporting you as you move around.

And these discs are also made up mostly of water.

They are designed to lose some of this water as you move around before reabsorbing more water later to rehydrate themselves​.

And this reabsorbing process usually occurs during periods of sleep or rest and it's vital for keeping them healthy.

However, when you are dehydrated your discs can't get the water they need to rehydrate themselves, which can cause them to shrink.

And you then lose the shock absorbing support they are providing for your spine.

This means more pressure being put on your back and can eventually lead to serious problems such as:

  • Bulging discs.
  • Herniated discs.
  • Disc degeneration.
  • Joint stiffness.
  • A lack of spinal flexibility.

And more than anything else it will lead to more back pain in the present.

As this causes inflammation and stiffness in your muscles, as well as irritation on your nerves.

So make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day to keep your back fit and healthy.

Further Health Problems Caused By Dehydration

And it's not just back pain you need to watch out for if you become dehydrated. 

Because it can also lead to further health issues such as:

  • Migraines and headaches.
  • A lack of strength and energy.
  • Constipation.
  • Problems with your kidneys and a higher likelihood of developing kidney stones.
  • Lightheadedness and fainting.
  • Dry skin.

So you have more than one good reason to keep your water levels topped up throughout the day.

How Can You Tell When You're Dehydrated?

health problems caused by dehydration

As someone with persistent back pain it can be hard to tell if the pain you feel is caused by dehydration.

I mean your back hurts most days anyway right?

So how can you tell if you are dehydrated or ​just simply feeling pain because of something else?

This is a difficult one but if you stay hydrated you are at least ruling one potential cause of your back pain out.

And you can also get a clue by looking out for the signs of dehydration such as:

  • Feeling thirsty (yes, obvious I know!).
  • Having a dry mouth and lips.
  • Passing urine that is darker than usual (it should be clear or light yellow if you are well hydrated).
  • Feeling tired or dizzy.
  • Being low on energy.

​These are all signs you should be drinking more water.

However, don't wait until you see any of these symptoms before taking a drink.

Because if you feel thirsty it's a sign you've already started to become dehydrated.

So get into the habit of drinking water regularly throughout the day rather than just when you feel thirsty.

So How Much Water Do You Need To Drink?

I'm sure we're all guilty of not drinking enough water from time to time.

And there is no perfect amount of water that everyone should be aiming for.

But traditionally the advice has been to follow the '8 x 8' rule, which is drinking 8 glasses containing 8 ounces of water (250ml) every day.

However, there has been no scientific evidence to back up these amounts.

And most people won't want to drink this much every day anyway.

Also how much you need to drink depends on many factors including:

  • Your weight.
  • Gender.
  • How much physical effort you are expending.
  • The temperature where you are.

So instead try drinking small amounts of water at regular intervals throughout the day.

Also try drinking a glass of water when you first get up in the morning.

As this is a great way to replace fluids lost during the night and get your metabolic system started.

And staying a step ahead of your thirst during the day will give you more energy too.

As when you get into the habit of drinking small amounts of water regularly you may find you are hitting the 8 cups target anyway.

Don't Like Water? Spice It Up

So by now you may be seeing the importance of drinking more water.

But the problem is that not everyone enjoys drinking water and this can make staying hydrated a real struggle for some of us.

And unfortunately drinks such as tea, coffee, fizzy sodas, and alcohol can't be used as alternatives.

As they are diuretics that will make you need to pee more often and can actually dehydrate you rather than hydrate you.

So what can you do to get around this problem?​

One way is to try spice things up by adding some flavour into your water.

Now you've probably seen the bottles of water in the shops that are infused with various citrus flavours.

However, I'd steer clear of these as they are also pumped full of sugar.

So instead why not make your own versions at home?

For instance, adding fruit slices into your water infuses it with subtle but delicious citrus flavours.

You can get creative here and try anything from apples, strawberries, limes, lemons, berries. or grapefruit.

Also fresh herbs such as mint, ginger, and cinnamon sticks can give your water a real kick.

All of which will make drinking water a more pleasant experience if you can come up with a couple of flavours you enjoy.

So for more inspiration check out these 14 fruit infused water recipes to get you started.

Rounding Up

Dehydration is far from the only cause of back pain but it can be a contributing factor.

So it makes sense to get into the habit of drinking water regularly throughout the day to try and counteract it.

As not only will this keep your body (and spinal discs) healthy and functioning well.

It will also give you more energy, ward off tiredness and fatigue, and help you to be more productive.

So if you think you may not be drinking enough, try upping your water intake over the next few weeks and see if you notice the difference.

And while it won't solve all your problems it can certainly help to lower your levels of back pain.


Resources used in researching this article:

https://www.thejoint.com/2016/08/10/like-a-spine-out-of-water-hydration-and-back-pain​

http://www.losethebackpain.com/dehydration-and-back-pain-2/​

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Dehydration/Pages/Symptoms.aspx

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Daniel

I'm a psychology graduate and a veteran of 5 spinal surgeries. I want to help people learn how to fight back against persistent back pain just like I have.

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