Hundreds of patient visit our Homewood Chiropractic Clinic in Fareham each year with back soreness. In many cases, their soreness is related to an injury that has occurred while working, playing sports, or exercising.
However, a surprising number of patients also have nutritional issues that are affecting their back and causing pain. The most common of these issues is dehydration, which can impact the health of the spine and other parts of the body.
How Does Water Affect The Spine?
Dehydration can impact the spine’s intervertebral discs. They are tough discs made from a sinewy outer layer called the annulus fibrosus, and a soft inner layer called the nucleus pulposis. The nucleus pulposis is a jelly like substance that contains water and a network of collagen fibres.
Spinal discs will naturally lose and regain water each day. Most of the water loss occurs as you move about and the spinal discs are compressed. Water is regained at a faster rate when you are sleeping as the discs have a chance to decompress. This process is called intradiscal fluid exchange.
When a person is dehydrated, it can reduce the amount of water available for the spinal discs. This results in the disc becoming less resilient and less capable of absorbing shocks to the spine. Frequently being dehydrated may lead to back pain and can increase the risk of injury to the spine, potentially leading to an unplanned visit to a chiropractor.
So, How Much Water Do You Need?
The amount of water you might need can vary based on several factors, including:
- Height, body weight, and sex
- The climate where you live
- The amount of physical activity you perform each day
- Health factors like fitness levels, kidney health, fever, illness or pregnancy
However, in general terms:
- Men will need about 13 cups of fluid each day (3 litres)
- Women will need 9 cups of fluid each day (2 litres)
- Pregnant women will need 10 cups of fluid while breastfeeding women will need 12 cups
Some common sense should be used when deciding how much water you should be drinking each day. If you are working outside in hot weather and sweating profusely, you might need to drink significantly more water to replace what is being lost.
It is important to note that some people should consume less water than the guidelines listed above suggest. For example, if you have a condition like heart disease, fluid retention may be a problem, so you may need to restrict water intake.
It is important to note that if you have chronic health problems, you must speak to your doctor to learn how much fluid you need.
How Much Water Do Kids Need?
The amount of water that kids need to drink will also vary based on their age, height, weight, activity levels and so on. However, children and teenagers will usually need between 6 to 8 cups of water per day. Young children (ages 4 to 8) need about 5 cups per day while toddlers should drink 2 to 4 cups per day.
Children should also be eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables each day, which are a great source of water. If a child is exercising intensively, give them water every 15 to 20 minutes.
Can You Drink Too Much Water?
Yes, you can. If you drink too much, it can begin to interfere with the levels of minerals in your blood, which is potentially dangerous. There are also several medical conditions where the amount of water you drink should be regulated. Consult with a doctor if any of the following apply to you:
- You have heart disease, thyroid disease, liver problems or kidney problems
- You take medications that can cause water retention
What Counts As Water?
You may have noticed that water intake recommendations mention ‘fluid’ and not ‘water’. That’s because recommended fluid intake includes drinking water, food, and other beverages.
Foods like watermelon, lettuce, celery, grapes, and oranges contain a lot of water. They have the added benefit of including some vitamins and minerals, which makes them a wonderful way to supplement water intake.
Beverages like fizzy drinks, coffee, tea and sports drinks also contain water. Even beer is consider a source of water. However, it’s important to note that some of these drinks have ingredients which may negatively impact your health in high doses, like sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
Some of these ingredients also have a diuretic effect if consumed in larger quantities, like alcohol and caffeine. This means they will eventually cause you to lose water if you consume enough.
How Do I Know I Am Drinking Enough?
If you don’t feel thirsty and your urine is clear or light yellow, then you are drinking enough water. You can also track the amount of water you are drinking using an app like Apple Health, WaterMinder or Hydro Coach.
What Other Benefits Are Associated With Drinking Water
We often advise patients visiting our chiropractic clinic to drink plenty of water because of the many health benefits it provides. These benefits include:
- Helping joints remain well lubricated
- Protecting the health of your skin
- Making it easier for the body to remove waste products
- Helping your body maintain a regular temperature
- Keeping your internal organs healthy
- Reducing the frequency of headaches
- Making it easier to maintain a healthy weight (reducing the load on your spine)
In summary, staying well hydrated is important for your health and wellbeing and this includes the health of your spine.
If you are suffering back pain, our experienced team of chiropractors at Homewood Chiropractic Clinic in Fareham are here to help you. To book an appointment simply call us on 01329 280 283 or you can book online on our website here.