This post, excerpted from Spine-Health.com, was written by Frank Bodnar, DC, MS on December 18, 2017. Find the link below to the original article.
Drinking water helps to keep your lower back healthy by removing waste and carrying nutrients to the area. But are you getting enough water on a daily basis?
Clearing up confusion about water intake
Over the years, you may have heard different suggestions as to how much water you need to drink. These suggestions can vary wildly, from drinking 6 cups of water to 16 on a daily basis.
To clear things up, as a general rule drinking at least 8 large glasses of water a day is consistent with a healthy diet. But it is important to recognize that not everyone needs to drink the same amount of water every day, just like not everyone needs the same caloric intake.
I suggest that people determine the specific amount of water they need to drink each day based on the following 3 factors:
- Weight. People who are heavier generally need to drink more water than people who are lighter. As a starting point, take your weight and divide it by half; this is approximately how many ounces of water you need to drink each day.
- Additional fluid intake. Most people drink other fluids during the day besides water. An occasional can of soda, cup of coffee, or sports drink can count towards your 8 glasses of water; but aim for at least half of your daily fluid intake to be water.
- Physical activity. For every 30 minutes you exercise per day, drink an additional 10 ounces of water.
Do I need to drink more water if I have back pain?
You may be wondering if you need to drink more fluids than the suggested daily intake if your back pain is severe. The thought behind this is that if water brings nutrients to your lower back, a lot of water will bring even more nutrients.
But the reality is that an intake of fluids in excess of the recommended daily amount has almost no significant health benefits. On the flip side, excessive fluid intake can result in health complications for individuals with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or swelling in your lower legs.
Tips for drinking more water
If you are not currently meeting your recommended daily intake of water, there are several small changes you can make to help you meet your goal. These include:
- Drink a glass of water every morning before you brush your teeth.
- Fill a reusable water bottle and keep it with you throughout your day. Consider purchasing a water bottle with a built-in infuser—which allows you to add fruits and veggies for flavor.
- Treat water like an appetizer; enjoy a glass before each and every meal.
- Download an app to your phone to help you keep track of your fluid intake goals (e.g. Daily Water & Waterlogged).
I hope all of the above advice will help you drink enough water every day; which in turn can keep your spine healthy and happy.