As a sought-after spinal surgeon located in the heart of New York City, Dr. Albert focuses much of his time on the treatment of advanced conditions such as degenerative disc disease. In addition to treating conditions related to the deterioration of spinal structure, we also want to offer support to our patients and those who read our blog by presenting information related to the prevention of those conditions. Here, we want to talk about the impact of water on the spine.
Most people are well aware that water is necessary for overall health and wellness. When we become dehydrated, our digestive function declines and our skin ages more quickly. Dehydration can lead to cramping in the feet and legs, and it impairs cognitive function. The effects of having too little water flowing through the body are widespread because every cell in the body contains water.
The spine is a column of bones we call vertebrae. Each bone is stacked on another, from bottom to top, with points of contact at the sides. In between each of our vertebra is a disc or cushion. Discs are what prevent pain when the force of walking and moving affect the spine. Without discs, the bones would rub together, and the spine would not be capable of its varying movements.
Fluid is at the center of each spinal disc and is encased in a tough but flexible ring. The ring near the core of the disc has a gel-like consistency that also relies on adequate fluid content for flex. At the outer ridge of the disc is another ring that is denser and more protective of the softer material beneath.
The Need for Hydration
Every time we move, from the time we get out of bed, the pressure is exerted on the spine. That means the gel-like discs are compressed numerous times throughout every single day. This compression causes the water at the center of the discs to leak out. When we consume water as recommended, discs can rehydrate. Without adequate available water in the body, this step does not occur as it should. Over time, chronic dehydration can play a major role in the drying out, or degeneration, of spinal discs.
How easy is it to keep a water bottle nearby and sip throughout the day, especially when you recognize the immense necessity the body has for water?