Can Dehydration Cause Back Pain?

Dec 15, 2021

When you hear the word dehydration, it might bring to mind feeling very thirsty after a lot of activity on a hot day. However, you can also experience dehydration in your everyday life and not even realize it right away. When you don’t get enough water and electrolytes throughout your day, you can develop uncomfortable symptoms that you might not associate with dehydration. However, back pain is one problem that can occur if you experience dehydration. When your body doesn’t have enough water, it isn’t able to get enough nutrients to different parts of the body. If you are looking for Marietta back pain treatment, then you might be surprised to learn that your pain is caused by dehydration.

Symptoms of Dehydration

The more common symptoms of dehydration include extreme thirst and dry mouth. You can also develop dry skin, headaches, and lightheadedness or fatigue. Other symptoms of dehydration can include a decrease in urine output or darker colored urine. You may also experience dizziness, fainting, confusion, or irritability. When dehydration starts to impact tissues in your body, it can cause symptoms like back pain, numbness, tingling, and stabbing pain.

How Dehydration Can Affect Your Spine

If you struggle with chronic dehydration, then your spine may not be getting enough water and nutrients. The spinal discs that separate vertebrae in your spine are flexible and gel-like, providing cushioning and shock absorption. If these structures don’t get enough fluids, they can start to dry out, crack, and affect their functioning. If your spine isn’t properly lubricated, it can make everyday movements start to be more painful and uncomfortable, even if you weren’t recently injured and can’t pinpoint an obvious reason why. As the spinal discs lose their elasticity, they are not able to effectively absorb shock or prevent vertebrae from rubbing against one another.

Dehydration and Back Pain

If you are regularly experiencing back pain, then you might want to visit a chiropractor or spine doctor to learn more about the root cause of that pain. If dehydration is the culprit, then your doctor may recommend some lifestyle changes to help better support your spine. Here is how dehydration can affect different structures in your back and cause pain:


The spine is made up of a series of vertebrae that run from the base of your skull through to your tailbone. These vertebrae are encased in soft tissues that allow them to flex and move while also effectively supporting your head and body. The spine is also connected to the nervous system, and dehydration can affect your brain and its ability to effectively communicate through the nerves in your body.

Spinal Discs

Spinal discs are made up of a gel-like inner nucleus with a tough outer shell. Pressure on these discs can cause the tough outer shell to crack or tear, leading to conditions like a herniated or bulging disc. If the spinal discs start to lose their fluidity, they can become brittle and more likely to crack.

Muscles & Soft Tissues

The muscles and soft tissues that support your back can also experience pain and discomfort. If these muscles and ligaments are strained and stretched, they can lose their ability to effectively support the spine. Dehydration can also cause cramping in your muscles.

How to Stay Hydrated

Water intake is incredibly important to fighting dehydration and staying hydrated. Your body relies on water to transport nutrients effectively. Your body also needs other fluids like electrolytes to help you battle dehydration. Foods with high water content can also help you stay hydrated throughout your day. When you meet with a chiropractor in Marietta for back pain treatment, they will also want to talk with you about your nutrition and lifestyle habits. Making slight changes, like increasing your water and electrolyte intake, can significantly reduce your dehydration and subsequent back pain.

If you are looking for a Marietta back pain treatment center, then visit AICA Orthopedics near you. Our teams of multi-specialty doctors like chiropractors, orthopedic doctors, neurologists, and physical therapists all work together to provide you with quality, customized care.


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