Can Dehydration Increase Chronic Pain?
Staying Hydrated is Key to Staying Healthy
Did you know that roughly 60% of the human body is water? While this number can vary between 45-75%, the majority of the human body is water. That explains why drinking water and staying hydrated are pivotal to your overall health. After all, if your body is dehydrated, it cannot function well. Dehydration has massive effects on your body.
Your body needs water to ensure all of your bodily functions work (such as digestion, maintaining internal temperature, and keeping cells alive). Without it, our bodies will struggle to perform these necessary tasks. The human body can only survive about three days without water, which shows just how vital it is to our health. However, did you know that dehydration can also increase your chronic pain?
That’s right. If you do not drink enough water, your chronic pain can get worse. Staying hydrated is a natural part of a healthy diet. Many pain management doctors will recommend staying hydrated to manage their chronic pain and find pain relief. But how does dehydration increase pain?
At Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we understand the importance of keeping your body hydrated. There are countless health benefits of drinking water, including pain relief. It is an excellent way to help your body recover better. However, if you stay hydrated and your pain persists, give our pain management clinic at TXP a call today.
What Does Dehydration Do to Your Body?
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it receives. When the water levels in your body are low, it upsets several balances in your body. Water is responsible for keeping your eyes and joints lubricated, helps improve digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps your skin healthy. It also lubricates blood cells, allowing them to flow faster and smoother.
With dehydration, your blood becomes more concentrated, triggering your kidneys to retain water. The more concentrated and thicker your blood is, the harder it is for your cardiovascular system to compensate for a rising heart rate to maintain blood pressure.
Additionally, your body will struggle to regulate body temperature, putting your body at risk of overheating.
Dehydration can occur for several reasons, including:
- Intense heat or cold
- Illness (such as persistent vomiting or diarrhea)
- Your diet
- Frequent urination
However, arguably the most common cause of dehydration is failing to drink enough water. When you don’t replace the body’s fluids, your sodium and electrolyte levels drop considerably. Dehydration usually causes someone to experience physical and cognitive impairments. An individual may struggle with their motor functions, as well as their executive functions (reading, doing math, decision making, memory, etc.).
If you recognize any of the below symptoms, you might be dehydrated:
- Dark urine
- Infrequent urination
- Muscle fatigue/muscle cramps
- Extreme thirst
- Dry skin and lips
- Frequent headaches/migraines
- Dry mouth
- Mental fogginess
Remember, dehydration is not always the result of not drinking enough water. It could be the result of a more serious underlying condition that you should get diagnosed as soon as possible.
Dehydration and Chronic Pain
Staying hydrated has plenty of health benefits. Many pain management doctors recommend drinking plenty of water for pain management. There is some evidence that supports that drinking water can lead to pain relief. Further research has shown that dehydration increases pain sensitivity and increased pain.
One of water’s chief functions in your body is to flush out toxins and waste. However, when you’re dehydrated, that doesn’t happen. Often, these toxins and irritants cause an inflammatory response. If you do not stay hydrated, these irritants remain, which can lead to inflammation.
The connective tissues in your body (tendons, ligaments, collagen fibers, etc.) contain most of the water. It helps keep them fresh and lubricated, allowing them to move more fluidly and easier. However, when your body loses this water, these tissues become stiff, putting you at a higher risk for injuries.
Dehydration also increases the frequency and degree of headaches and migraines. When dehydrated, brain tissue fluid decreases. Your brain volume and overall cognitive function decline, as well. There is no way to flush toxins from your brain, which can lead to headaches.
Joint pain is also a common problem dehydration causes. The cartilage in your joints acts as a cushion between bones, absorbing the impact and friction between them. They contain synovial fluid that keeps the joints lubricated, allowing for better movement and protection. However, when there is a lack of fluid, the cartilage loses its cushion, which causes the bones to absorb more pressure, leading to increase wear and pain.
Dehydration can wreck your body. In extreme cases, it can cause long-lasting impacts. Again, your body is mostly water, so naturally, it needs to stay hydrated to ensure all of its organs and bodily functions operate correctly.
Cases of dehydration vary depending on circumstances. The weather, your level of physical activity, your health, and more play a role in your hydration levels. Regardless, there are things everyone can do to remain hydrated:
- Drink plenty of water. Healthcare experts recommend that you should drink at least eight 8 oz glasses of water (roughly two liters) every day.
- Hydrate before, after, and during exercise. When you exercise, your body loses a lot of fluids. You must start your workout hydrated, hydrate while exercising, and replenish your fluids after your exercise is over. Hydrate with electrolytes for optimal recovery.
- Eat a healthy diet. Did you know there are foods that can help you stay hydrated? Foods such as melons, tomatoes, berries, and cucumbers all contain high levels of water.
- Watch what you drink. Other beverages can make you more dehydrated. Reduce your consumption of alcohol and fizzy drinks. Instead, choose an alternative like natural fruit juice or coconut water.
- Monitor your urine. Keep an eye on your urine throughout the day. If it appears dark, increase your fluid intake.
- IV. In severe cases of dehydration, you may need to stay in the hospital and receive fluids through an intravenous (IV) line to deliver fluids directly into your bloodstream.
Visit Our Frisco Pain Management Clinic
Hydration is just one part of finding pain relief. In most cases, dehydration is not the true cause of your chronic pain, but it certainly won’t make things better. Replacing the fluids in your body throughout the day helps your body recover. But some conditions may require further pain management treatment.
The pain management doctors at Texas Partners Healthcare Group have experience treating a host of different pain conditions, which gives us the skills and knowledge necessary to help you find pain relief. Give our Frisco pain management clinic a call today.