Did you know that your body is made up of approximately 2/3 water? Proper hydration is the KEY to long term health. Some of the functions of water include:
- Detoxify the body
- Boost absorption of vital nutrients
- Regulate the body temperature
- Protect the organ systems
- Moisturize and protect the joints and muscles
In my office I frequently see people with chronic pain conditions. The one most common trend I have found with patients in this condition is dehydration.
Symptoms of dehydration include:
- Muscle cramping
- Joint Pain
- Dark yellow urine
Chronic dehydration can manifest as rigid and tight muscles, daily/weekly headaches, and even flattening of the disc spaces within the spine. These are also some of symptoms of chronic pain. Most often people with chronic pain start off the day with a cup or two of coffee, one glass of water at lunch, a soda in the late afternoon, a glass of water with dinner, and then either a glass of wine or tea at the end of the night. While most think that they are getting a lot of fluids throughout the day, very little water is actually consumed. Coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol are all very dehydrating. For each one cup of non-water that you consume, ideally you would need to drink two glasses of water to make up for it.
I am often asked how much water is needed in order to keep the body hydrated on a daily basis. Traditionally drinking 8, 8oz glasses of water per day is a great starting point. For my patients who are undergoing spinal decompression therapy to eliminate chronic pain conditions, I recommend drinking at least 10, 8oz glasses of water per day in order to help the spinal discs to rehydrate.
Another key to hydration is to consume more electrolytes. The electrolytes in the water are what actually rehydrate your body. Have you ever noticed that when you drink a lot of water, you tend to just urinate more frequently that day? This means that you are not absorbing the water, you are drinking it and then releasing it. The way to prevent this is to increase your electrolyte intake. Electrolyte infused water, Emergen-C packets, coconut water (without added sugar), or electrolytes in the form of supplements are all effective ways to increase your hydration levels.
For some, increasing your water intake means making a big life shift and may take quite a bit of focus for the first few weeks. If you are able to commit to proper hydration, you should notice an improvement in your health!
**As a side note, chronic pain typically cannot only be treated by increasing hydration alone. However, increasing hydration is vital to include into your holistic regimen to treat long standing pain.