We all know that staying hydrated is important, but you may be wondering, what does hydration have to do with chiropractic care? Well, for starters, water helps regulate our temperature and transports oxygen and nutrients to the cells in your body – and, the list of benefits can go on and on!
Many don’t associate drinking water with spine health. However, water is essential to your chiropractic care routine, explaining why chiropractors never stop reminding you to drink up. It’s particularly crucial to hydrate yourself before and after a chiropractic treatment.
Read on to learn more about your spine, how it benefits from water, and how much water you should drink to maintain good spinal health.
How Does the Spine Work?
The spine consists of 33 vertebrae arranged on top of each other with jelly-like cushions in between. These cushions are called intervertebral discs and act as shock absorbers for the spine. They also prevent the vertebrae from moving against each other and getting damaged.
The intervertebral discs are naturally squishy but become thinner over time if you don’t drink enough water. And this can lead to a series of back issues that affect daily life.
What Does Water Have to Do With Your Spine’s Health?
You can think of your spine’s intervertebral discs as little sponges made up mostly of water. The movements you make throughout the day create a squeeze and release effect, causing them to dispense and reabsorb water.
Your spine uses any surplus of water in your body to rehydrate these intervertebral discs, which is why it’s vital to keep hydrated. Most of the reabsorption happens at night while you’re resting, so it’s equally important to get enough hours of quality sleep.
Unfortunately for your spine, it’s the last on the hydration priority list. Your body will rehydrate vital organs like the brain, heart, and lungs first, and only then will it cater to the spine. Make sure there’s enough water left for your spine by keeping yourself well-hydrated.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Drink Enough Water?
Constant dehydration slows down the repairs that your spine needs. It can lead to a slew of severe back problems, including the following:
Dehydration causes your intervertebral discs to weaken and become less elastic. They’re not able to absorb impact anymore and become more prone to bulging. Herniated discs are one of the most painful consequences of not drinking enough water.
Thinned, weakened, and herniated discs could cause gradual wear and tear to your vertebrae. It can then put pressure on the nerve root found at the base of your lower back and cause pain and discomfort.
Dehydrated intervertebral discs are thinner and will cause your vertebrae to be closer to each other. This makes it harder to bend, twist, and perform other movements with your body.
How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?
As the old saying goes, everyone should drink at least eight cups of water a day. But this isn’t an accurate rule of thumb because our bodies are vastly different from one another. Halving your body weight in ounces is a better gauge of how much water is appropriate for you. If you weigh 130 pounds, for example, you should aim to drink 65 ounces of water daily.
Aside from staying hydrated, you can keep your spine and joints in good health by having regular chiropractic treatments. If you want to know more, you can call Fletcher Chiropractic today at 402-261-5766.