How much water did you drink today?
For most people, the answer would be “not enough”.
From everything we drink and swim in, to the ice that reduces swelling, water is all around us (and even in us), a matter of fact – it basically is us!
Water makes up around two thirds of who we are, and influences every single process in our body – which probably explains why we feel a lot better when we drink enough of it.
Now you might be aware of the many ‘tips and tricks’ that are out there on “how to avoid a bad back”, and “how to relieve the pain” – but have you ever heard of drinking more water to help with that?
My guess is you haven’t!
I get that it might sound ‘too simple’ to make a difference, but dehydration really can be one of the culprits of back pain, and one of the reasons why it stays around for longer than it needs to.
Let me explain…
I know you already know that water affects every organ and cell in your body, but it also plays an enormous role in the health of your back and spine.
In between each section of the spine (the vertebrae) lies a disc – which are mainly made up of water. During the day when we’re standing up, they slowly become dehydrated, then at night when we’re laying down, they rehydrate themselves again (so long as there is ENOUGH water in the body!).
If there’s not enough water in your body, then this isn’t good news for your discs, and eventually this lack of water can cause pain, swelling, and even more problems further down the line.
Just like a car engine needs to keep lubricated to run properly – your body needs water for your joints, organs and muscles to function.
See why your water in take is so important now?
We all know it is! Just not many of us knew that without enough of it back pain can creep up, and stay around for longer.
So next lets take a look at a few things so you can start living a life with less back pain:
1. Signs that you’re not drinking enough water – so you can start drinking more of it!
2. What you can expect when you start drinking more water.
3. Helpful tips to help you increase your intake!
Lets dive in:
Signs That You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
How do you really know?
Well the most obvious is feeling thirsty, but here’s some not so obvious signs:
▪ Feeling tired
▪ Dry skin and lips
▪ Mood swings
▪ And… joint pain
The list goes on!… But one of the best and most reliable signs is to check your urine – if it’s dark and not a light yellow color, get more water in your system!
What You Can Expect When You Start Drinking More Water…
You already know that water is great for you, but after a few weeks of drinking more of it, what benefits can you expect to see?
Less soreness in your back for one
You’ll feel ‘healthier’, your eyes may not feel as tired, and you’ll feel more alert!
Additionally water can help you lose weight (if that’s something you’d like to achieve), your skin will look clearer and you’ll have a natural glow!
You’ll likely even find you don’t need to reach for the coffee 4 times a day because you feel much more alert.
How Can You Increase Your Water Intake?
Besides using a bigger glass to down your water with, here’s some other tips that might work better for you. I’ll start with my favorite – drinking a glass of water right after waking up.
Before I go to bed I make sure to place a glass of water on my bedside table, that way, when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I see is a glass of water right next to me.
It’s a great feeling knowing that I’ve already consumed almost 15% of my daily water intake before my day has even started. Give it a go, after a week or two it’ll be a new habit and you’ll feel more energetic for it.
Another way you can increase how much you drink is to switch it up.
I get it, water can get boring, but it doesn’t have to be.
Vary still and sparkling water, or add lemon, cucumber or other fruits to your water. Experiment with it and try to find something that suits you. You could even make your own lemonade, or mix it with fruit juices.
So there you have it, why you need to drink more water to help ease aches and pains, did you have any idea that water played such a huge role in your joint health?
Don’t let another day go by of being dehydrated – now you have simple tips to help you drink more water each day.
Dr. Tony Tanzi: Physical Therapist, Triathlete, Runner, Performance Coach