Are you drinking enough water to properly hydrate the intervertebral discs in you spinal column? Okay, maybe you’re getting your recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day but can I ask you this question. Is that enough water to replenish the water you lose in your intervertebral discs on a daily basis? This may not be enough.
Our adult bodies are 60% water at best and an infant’s body is approximately 78%. Water is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell and has many important properties. Water acts as the body’s first building material, it regulates our internal body temperature, helps metabolize our foods, is an important component for our blood, helps deliver oxygen throughout our body, and helps flush waste from our body. Water also acts as a shock absorber for the brain and spinal cord and helps lubricate all our joints.
At my chiropractic office in Joshua, Texas I commonly see patients with disc injuries and herniations. The intervertebral disc is a fibrous pad between the vertebrae in our spines. Intervertebral discs have an outer annulus that is made of of rings of collagen fibers and a liquid gel-like central nucleus that acts like a ball bearing allowing for better movement of the spine. The disc separates the vertebrae and allows our body a greater range of motion and also acts to absorb a small amount of mechanical stress on the spine. Our discs require water such as every cell in the body does and when our bodies are dehydrated so are our discs. Being dehydrated is not good for the health of our discs and can lead to injury when stresses are applied to our spinal column. A disc that is poorly hydrated has a much greater risk for injury than one that is adequately hydrated. Staying properly hydrated can help avoid injury to the intervertebral disc. Below are some things you should know about your intervertebral discs, risks of injury, and how to stay hydrated.
THINGS TO KNOW: DISC HYDRATION
During the day our discs lose water due to stress and the weight of gravity
At night while lying asleep gives disc the chance to reabsorb water (We are taller in the mornings and shorter as the day goes by due to compression on the spine and discs causing them to lose water)
As we age our discs lose their ability to absorb as much water
Avoid sodas, teas, coffee, and alcohol that can dehydrate your body
Avoid nicotine and other diuretics that can dehydrate your body
Drink more water, double the amount recommended during the hot summer days in Texas heat
Athletes playing summer sports or subjected to heat should drink water before, during, and after competition and practice
Just because I am a Chiropractor doesn’t mean I’m always the doctor, sometimes I’m the patient too. But, because I am a Chiropractor I’m aware of the obstacles that all healthcare providers go through on a daily basis that most often makes it harder to give our patients the thorough care they deserve. It’s stressful for both the doctor and the patient as insurance companies make it more and more difficult to let doctors give patients what they need. As a doctor of chiropractic, I understand the frustrations that today’s health care provider goes through and how they can lose hope and give in becoming an “insurance company’s puppet.” As a patient, I don’t what a puppet with somebody halfway across that country pulling the strings. Because of this I’ve come up with ten good questions to keep your health care provider on their toes and with your best interests at hand. Feel free to add to my list if you have a intelligent and positive question that you’ve asked your doctor. Remember we’re trying to help our doctors listen to us as patients not attack them.
Would you recommend this treatment, test, procedure, or medication to your wife, a family member, or to yourself?
Are there any complications? If so, what are the complications?
What are the side effects of the drugs being prescribed? Is there any research on long term effects after taking this drug?
What are the alternatives to this medication, treatment, procedure, test, or surgery?
Which health care facility or practitioner will best fit my needs as a patient?
Why do I need this particular test? What s the importance of this test?
How many times have you performed this procedure? How many patients have this particular condition or problem?
Why should I change my medication to a different medication if it’s been working okay?
Will these medications interact with my other medications?
Is there a NATURAL ALTERNATIVE to this medication or drug, treatment, procedure, or surgery?
By Dr. Joseph J. Thomas
Board Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner
Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support