We’ve all heard it before, drink more water! But many people are unaware of the importance of fluid intake as it relates to back pain and the overall role hydration plays in keeping our body healthy. Approximately 50-60% of our body weight is water weight. Our bodies need water to help with digestion and eliminate waste.
Water also helps to fill our cells with fluid which in turn cushions and lubricates our joints. The intervertebral discs of the spine are composed primarily of water, when we stand all day it results in compression of the disc and results in loss of water from the disc. When we lie down at night to sleep our body needs to re-hydrate our discs, which is where proper hydration comes into play!
Insufficient water intake can lead to muscle spasm and renal dysfunction. By the time our brain registers that we are thirsty our bodies are already in a dehydrated state. Furthermore, as we age our thirst mechanism decreases so individuals may not ever register thirst. Also, many of the other drinks we consume i.e. coffee, tea, and pop all contribute to dehydration.
A simple equation to determine fluid needs – for every pound of body weight you need about a half an ounce of fluid intake per day. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds x 0.5 = 70 ounces; 70 ounces divided by 8 = 9 cups of fluid per day.