Proper Hydration and Healthier Discs

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.



  • 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

Written by Joseph J. Thomas, D.C., CCSP










Smart Travel Tips For Your Summer Vacation


Summertime is here! School is finally out and many families are getting ready to take their summer vacations. Vacations are meant to be relaxing and rejuvenating escapes from the stresses of every day life. However, sometime vacations can turn out to be even more stressful and exhausting than the rat race we run in our cumbersome stress filled lives. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “I need a vacation from my vacation.” While if you’ve ever caught yourself saying these words I’m here to help you avoid coming home from your summer vacation feeling exhausted and cheated. Here’s a few tips you can use to make the most out of your next vacation.


  1.  Proper Planning – Make yourself a checklist of what you need to pack to avoid forgetting important travel necessities. Make sure you have the proper directions if you’re visiting somewhere new. You may also may want to make a list of activities to allow for a smooth running vacation schedule. Don’t forget to make time for a little R&R (rest & relaxation). Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
  2. Use Proper Packing & Lifting Techniques – Don’t overload your bags heavier than you can carry without straining yourself. If you carry a backpack it should not be heavier than 20% of your body weight. Both straps on a backpack should be used when carrying it to avoid an uneven load that’s pressure can cause your spinal column to misalign. Make sure heavier luggage is equipped with wheels and a extractable handle to avoid awkward lifting. WHen loading your vehicle lift with legs and keep your back flat while holding your bags closer to your body. Try not to overextend, lean, or reach excessively because doing this puts your back and joints in unfavorable weakened positions. When storing bags overhead you should lift carefully and make sure the object is not heavier than 20 pounds or what you can handle comfortably. Ask for help with heavier luggage.
  3. Take Pitstops – The human body wasn’t made to be seated in a cramped car seat for hours upon hours. Making a few quick stops along the way is a great idea to stretch out and get the blood flowing again. Poor sitting posture in a car or airplane is hard on your pelvis, spine, nerves, and bad for circulation as well. If you’re flying get up every 30 minutes to stretch. Take a rest from the busy highways to give your nerves a break from stressful traffic. If the stress from other travelers speeding by is making you drive “white knuckled” then its definitely time to take a break from the roads. Driving breaks can vary from every 2 hours or less depending whether or not you already suffer from pre-existing back or spinal conditions. Besides, what’s the rush? You’re on vacation right?
  4. Stretch! – If you happen to be sitting in first class then you can skip this section. Back in coach with the rest of us the seats and isles are cramped! At 6’4″ I’m already feeling it as I duck and take my first step while boarding. Get up on a regular basis to stretch throughout the flight every 30 minutes. If you’re in my height bracket try to ask for an isle seat or to sit in the emergency exit row for more leg room. If you’re driving to your destination than stretch at every stop.
  5. Use Supports and Cushions – Most seats do not have enough support to maintain the proper alignment and curves of the spine while traveling resulting in fatigue and poor posture. Purchase a lumbar support cushion to maintain the curve in your lumbar spine and take pressure off of the intervertebral discs. U-shaped cervical pillows are a great way to support your neck form injury while sleeping on a flight. I suggest buying a higher quality cushion or support form Core Products that will last you for years. If you use a special cervical pillow for sleeping at home then take it along with you to prevent a stiff neck or worse. Hotels typically don’t have the same special pillows that people with neck issues require,
  6. Pre-Cautions for Pre-Existing Back and Neck Problems – If you’re already experiencing low back or neck discomfort, a muscle strain, or other injury you can pack a small cooler with reusable ice packs. Ice can be used for 20 minutes every 2 hours to reduce inflammation. If your pain is more serious you should consult with a health care professional and try to reschedule your trip for a different time. I hope some of there tips come in handy for your next trip.


Safe Travels and Happy Trails,

Dr. Joseph J. Thomas

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support









Good Posture = Good Health


Leaning Tower

The month of May is “Posture Awareness Month”.  At Joshua Spine and Health Center our staff is challenging our patients to improve their posture and encourage their families and friends to improve their posture too. Do you have good posture? When you look at a person with slouched shoulders, head tilted towards the ground, and a rounded back, do you think they appear healthy? I don’t. When I see a person with poor posture I see a lack of muscular strength, weak structure, low energy – a defeated person with poor health. When you see a person with good posture what do you think of them? When I see a person with good upright posture I picture them as confident, youthful, full of energy, and healthy.

As you can imagine, not many people start off coming into our office with good posture. As a chiropractor it’s one of my first duties to improve this problem as it has many detrimental effects on a person’s overall health.  Poor posture can result in more than just back and neck pain. As a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner I know the importance of balance and symmetry for the body to function at it’s fullest potential.  Poor posture can be even more serious than you think as it progresses.  It can lead to severe problems such as headaches, breathing problems due to the compression of the lungs, mood problems, depression, blood pressure problems, degenerative joint or disc disease, and it can even cause problems with the body’s hormone production.

How can you tell if you have poor posture? Remember that your body is symmetrical from side to side. If a line is drawn down your center, everything on the right should match everything on the left.  Signs of structural and postural problems will be seen in uneven shoulders, uneven pelvic bones, inward pointing or uneven knees, or feet that show inward or outward pressure instead of an even stance.  When assessing posture from the side view of a person, you should be able to drop a line straight down from your ear that should pass through your shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle. If any one of these structures is offline than you have structural issues that should be assessed by a healthcare professional. For example, forward head posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal weight to the spine. It can then lead to neck and upper back pain, headaches, arm and hand tingling and weakness, and sometimes carpal tunnel syndrome-like symptoms.

During Posture Awareness Month we are asking our Joshua Spine and Health Center friends to check the posture of their family members at home by using our postural grading chart. Be aware that poor posture leads to poor function and then poor health. If you should find a problem in a family member or yourself you should be scheduled for a complete postural and spinal evaluation. Here are some helpful tips to promote good posture:

  • Keep your shoulders in line with your ears and chest up at all times including sitting in front of your computer, couch, or in your car driving
  • Make sure your workspace is set up properly to prevent any forward head tilt down or excessive reaching
  • Do NOT sit on a wallet, sit on your leg, or cross your legs at the knees (crossing your legs at the ankles is permitted)
  • Do NOT spend hours looking down at your cell phone texting or reading your kindle (Hold your device up higher and maintain a chin that is level)
  • See your Chiropractor for preventive or wellness care adjustments to maintain proper spinal and pelvic alignment

If good posture feels bad and bad posture feels good, then you definitely have a problem and should seek out a qualified health care professional’s help.

Thank you,

Joseph J. Thomas, DC, CCSP

Joshua Spine and Health Center



New Frontiers: Texas, Sports Chiropractic, and Family

Dr. Joe, Jess, Bella (boxer). & Howie (dachshund)

Dr. Joe, Jess, Bella (boxer). & Howie (dachshund)

My name is Dr. Joseph Thomas and I am the chiropractor and owner of Joshua Spine and Health Center, PC.  My wife and I moved to Texas at the end of 2013 to start a new adventure by purchasing a chiropractic office in the town of Joshua.  For the past 11 years I worked in group practice in central Pennsylvania and felt it was long overdue to spread my wings and expand my horizons in my own practice. While in Pennsylvania I completed my Sports Chiropractic training and became a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner or CCSP for short. In order to fully utilize my expanded education I decided it was time to have a clinic of my own in a place with a great enthusiasm for sports and family life. After a long search of exploring different regions of the country, we decided that Texas was the right place for us.

Owning and operating a chiropractic clinic focused on family wellness and sports in the state of Texas was a perfect fit for us. We could raise our future family, grow a practice, and help people in need in an place that was focused on community togetherness through youth sports, family values, and a foundation of sound beliefs.

We are happy to be in Johnson County and look forward to sharing more about health, chiropractic, and ourselves with our healthy-living bloggers and family of patients.

Thank you for reading,

Dr. Joseph Thomas

Board Certified Sports Chiropractic Practitioner by the ACBSP

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support

Chiropractic, Massage, Corrective Exercise, and Nutritional Support