Before we get too far into this post, I want to point out that I am not talking about drinking alcohol to numb your back pain. That might help in the short term, but it’s not a long term solution and not part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, regular alcohol consumption may dehydrate your body, which brings me to our topic…
In practice I discovered that some patients did everything right, but still experienced pain in their muscles and joints. In these cases the missing component for pain relief was hydration.
It’s amazing how something as simple as drinking more water could be the key to feeling better.
Keeping your body fully hydrated is an important part of health. If you find that you’re doing everything right, but still experience muscle and joint pain, the missing ingredient may be hydration.
Your body needs water to work properly and if it doesn’t get enough you may have some issues.
Every day your body uses water to…
- carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells
- flush bacteria from your bladder
- aid digestion
- prevent constipation
- regulate body temperature
- protect organs and tissues
- lubricate and cushion joints
If you’re not consuming enough water your body will not be able to function optimally. When it comes to your muscles and joints; that could mean less cushion, more friction and more pain.
The discs in the spine separate each vertebrae (bone) and act as shock absorbers protecting your spine from wear and tear.
This activity causes a daily loss of water from within the disc. When things are working properly, your discs will absorb more water to replace what has been lost.
If your body is dehydrated the discs will shrink in size and lose their ability to protect your spine. This makes the disc less effective as a cushion and can lead to degenerative disc disease or degenerative joint disease.
For healthy movement, your skin, nerves, muscles, and connective tissue all need to stretch and slide. Being dehydrated can create stiffness in the tissues of your body and lead to decreased range of motion.
Being dehydrated will reduce your range of motion, stiffen your connective tissue, decrease flexibility, and can be an underlying cause of your pain.
Proper hydration is important for pain relief and overall health.
Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration can include:
- Dry skin
- Dry mouth
- Tight and stiff muscles
Here are a couple tips to keep your body hydrated.
- First, drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is not necessarily correct. Each of us has unique water requirements based on weight, activity level, use of medications, overall health, diet, breast feeding, and living environment such as temperature, humidity, and altitude.A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day.If you weigh 160 lbs divide by 2 = 80 ounces of water or ten 8 ounce glasses. Be aware there is no standard size drinking glass and most are 12 – 16 ounces. At 16 ounces you would only need 5 glasses to reach 80 ounces. This is just a starting point, depending on your lifestyle and activity level, you may require more or less water.
- Another source of water is through the food you eat. Your body will absorb water from fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have a high water content and will help to keep you hydrated.
- Other beverages such as juice, milk, and herbal teas can also help to meet your daily intake of water. Choose carefully because these drinks may have extra calories, sugar, and caffeine.
For best results drink water and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.
Remember keeping your body fully hydrated is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
It’s also an essential component to keeping your muscles and joints healthy and flexible. If you’ve already taken the necessary steps to heal your back or muscle and joint injuries, but you’re still having pain, you may need to drink more water.
Questions: What would you like to learn specifically about health, wellness, back pain, mobility, or musculoskeletal aches and pains? Please let me know in the comments.