Is Dehydration The Cause Of Your Back Pain?

July 16, 2019
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You’ve heard it countless times before: drink plenty of water! The human body is made up of over 50% water and when you aren’t properly hydrated, you can suffer the side effects of dehydration. That includes dizziness, headaches, and even fainting. As if that’s not bad enough, dehydration could even be the cause of your back pain.

Dehydration causes the spinal discs to lose water, resulting in back pain. When those discs aren’t hydrated as they should be, your spine ends up suffering the consequences by taking on the full shock of your movements, which leads to pain. Here is what you need to know.


The small discs in your spine link dehydration and back pain. Those discs are filled with a jelly-like substance that is almost 75% water. Both the inner and outer ring (aka the nucleus pulposus) are made almost entirely of water, so much so that by the end of the day, you could be up to a half inch shorter than you were when you woke up in the morning. That is because water is slowly released from your spinal discs throughout the day.Your discs rehydrate while you are sleeping, so you wake up at your full height. Help your discs stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water and getting up to stretch.

When your spinal discs aren’t hydrated, they can’t protect and support your spine as they should. These jelly-like discs are between every two vertebrae of the spine and they absorb much of the shock from day-to-day movements while also protecting your spine. If they can’t do their job properly, even more stress is put on the spine which can cause painful swelling and even bulged discs.


Keep an eye out for these indicators of dehydration:

  1. Bad Breath
  2. Dark Urine
  3. Fatigue
  4. Headaches
  5. Dry Skin
  6. Muscle Cramps
  7. Dry Eyes/Blurry Vision
  8. Dizziness
  9. Irritability
  10. Fever

Now you know how important it is to stay hydrated, but it isn’t always easy. Sometimes water just seems boring or you simply forget. Try to set a goal of drinking a half ounce to an ounce of water per pound that you weigh (i.e. drink at least 80 ounces of water if you weight 160 pounds). Try to remember that your health and wellness (and that of your spine) depend on it!


  • Add fresh fruit or herbs like mint to make your water more refreshing
  • Drink water with added electrolytes while exercising or working outdoors
  • Consume more raw vegetables and fruits
  • Find a reusable water bottle with a design that you like so you can enjoy carrying it around with you and feel good about an eco-friendly choice  
  • Download a water tracking app on your phone or set a time to remind you to drink up

If you think dehydration may be the cause of your back pain, click here to contact us. We would be happy to help you find the cause of your back pain and get you on the path to pain relief!

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