Water. It’s the most crucial component of our bodies. And drinking enough water isn’t just for the sake of keeping your skin looking its best, maintaining your weight or even the health of your internal organs.
Water is necessary for your spine and back, too.
How dehydration affects your spine and back is something everyone should keep in mind. And if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. So, if you’re one of those people who sticks their nose up at drinking enough water, then maybe it’s time to reconsider. Let’s find out why bumping up your water intake is important to spine health.
The Pillar of the Body
The spinal column is the pillar of your body, with the principle purpose of allowing you to walk upright, sure, but also to protect your spinal cord and central nervous system.
Made up of vertebrae, cartilage and discs, the spine’s discs need to be kept happy with enough water. Their job is to keep the vertebrae from making contact with each other.
Filled with a gel-like fluid, they’re protected by a hard outer coating which is also flexible enough to assist in the work of absorbing shock. When we exert ourselves, we lose vital water. That’s why we replenish the body with needed water as we perform physically demanding work or sports, so that water throughout the body is replaced, including in the spinal discs.
Gravity Sucks. Movement Depletes
Our spinal discs are subject to plenty of deterioration as we age. They also get thinner with time. So, when we’re out there moving around, we’re losing crucial fluid our discs need to perform their intended purpose – to cushion the vertebrae.
Gravity plays an important role, too. As water is lost in the discs, gravity applies pressure, which further sucks water out of your discs. Both movement and gravity contribute to the degeneration of spinal discs. These factors also cause the discs to shrink and when that happens, they lose the ability to protect your vertebrae.
Replacing water lost due to natural movement and the work of gravity is therefore an imperative.
Why Hydration Is Necessary
While it’s true that sleep helps our bodies repair themselves, if we’re not giving them the input they need, they’re not going to work properly. This is especially true of water.
As you sleep, your discs will rehydrate, using water stored during the day. But you need to understand that the first place the water you consume during the day will go is to your organs. That can leave your discs gasping for water – and shrinking.
Check Your Pee
Taking a quick glance at your pee is a good policy. If it’s dark, you are dehydrated. Aim for a very light yellow or clear (hydrated!).
You should be drinking 8 large glasses of water a day but do so gradually. Keep water at your side, no matter where you are. This helps you get the recommended amount to stay hydrated and healthy. Getting in the water habit isn’t that hard.
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