3 Ways Dehydration Affects Your Body

The summer months are fast approaching, and we’re all a bit relieved.  Finally, sunny days and warm evenings are in sight.  Most of us can barely get outdoors quickly enough on those first balmy days.  But, beware.  In these warmer days, dehydration can occur quite easily.  On average, Americans don’t drink enough water.  Add heat to the equation, and symptoms of inadequate hydration quickly begin to pop up.

A few symptoms of dehydration are easily recognizable.  These may include dry skin, increased thirst, and decreased urine output.  Yet, dehydration can also be far more subtle.  Here are a just a few symptoms which may be hints about your body’s own need for more water:

Back Pain from Dehydration

Every part of the body runs most efficiently when fully hydrated, including the spine.  Comprised of individual vertebrae, spinal structure relies on spongy discs to act as shock absorbers between these bones.  Each disc is formed with a tough, flexible outer structure and a gelatinous center that is composed primarily of water.  With each movement of the spine and compression of these discs, a little water is squeezed out.  When our bodies have adequate amounts of water thanks to regular hydration throughout the day, these discs can rehydrate themselves.  However, when water levels are too low, this rehydration process suffers.  Over time, the lack of water can contribute to disc damage, degeneration, and resulting back pain.

Headaches from Dehydration

While all the potential links between dehydration and headaches are not known, we do know that these links exist.  Poor hydration has long been associated the development of headaches and is even known to trigger migraines.  One potential explanation is the narrowing of blood vessels in an effort to control fluid levels.  As this occurs, less oxygen rich blood is able to reach the brain.  Fortunately, all it takes is water consumption to eliminate these types of headaches.  As for headaches that may occur due to muscle tension or spinal misalignment, chiropractic care can help bring relief.

Constipation from Dehydration 

When we eat, food travels through the stomach to the large intestine or colon, and if the body is dehydrated, the journey can stop there. When inadequate amounts of water are available, the large intestine will absorb water from food waste.  In turn, stools become harder and more difficult to pass. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of chronic constipation, and over time, if the problem continues, it may also become another contributor to back pain.

How to Prevent Dehydration

Dehydration can lead to many unpleasant symptoms.  The good news is that these are easily resolved with water intake and some simple precautions.  A standard rule for good hydration is to drink at lest 64 ounces of water each day. However, it is also important to keep in mind that certain settings and activities will deplete water from your body quicker than others.  For this reason, it is important to always have water available while exercising, hiking, or spending time in the hot outdoors.  Additionally, there are certain foods that can be incorporated into your diet that also serve as good sources of hydration.  These include many fruits such as watermelon, strawberries, and oranges, as well as vegetables like zucchini and celery. 

Are you ready to live your healthiest life?  Eating a healthy diet, exercise, and drinking enough water are all key to maintaining good health, and regular chiropractic care can help enhance these efforts.  To learn more about how chiropractic can help you, click the button below to request a consultation with SouthEast Chiropractic: The Motion Centers.