What Does Water Have To Do With My Lower Back Pain?
When patients complain of headache, fatigue, and lower back pain, the first thing I tell them to do is to drink a glass of water. Why? Because mild to moderate dehydration is a common problem and those complaints are symptomatic. We all experience days when it is difficult to take in enough fluid, however, not drinking enough water on a daily basis can lead to chronic dehydration which can undermine our health.
Every organ and cell in our body is affected when we are dehydrated; our heart must work harder to circulate the blood, it’s more difficult for our liver to break down and flush impurities, and our muscles collect lactic acid causing them to become stiff and sore.
Lower back pain is another problem related to dehydration. The inner jelly-like layer of the discs that cushion our spine are mostly comprised of water. This inner cushion supports about 75% of the weight that impacts the spine. Throughout the day, gravity and motion compress the disks, slowly squeezing out most of the water. At night, provided we are sufficiently hydrated, most of the depletion is replenished (this is just another reason why a good night’s sleep is essential). When we don’t have enough water to effectively rehydrate the disks, the cushions cannot support the weight of the spine and problems such as bulging discs, sciatica, and chronic lower-back pain are aggravated. Dehydration is only one of many factors that can lead to lower back pain, however, it is one of the easiest to avoid.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to ease or prevent lower back pain is to drink plenty of water!
The easiest rule of thumb for replenishing water in your body is to take your body weight in pounds and divide by 2; that is the number of ounces of water you need to consume in a day to remain sufficiently hydrated. Chronic dehydration can take as long as three months to remedy so it is essential that you make a point to stay on top of your hydration regimen. If you are not crazy about drinking plain water, here are some of my favorite summertime water supplements adding both flavor and antioxidants!
Water with lemon, water with cucumber, lime and mint, water with oranges and blueberries, water with lemon and raspberries and sparkling mineral water are nice ways to add diversity and hydration to your lifestyle!
The Healing Point Acupuncture Clinic
Xia Xin, L.Ac., CSMA