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Can Back Pain Be the Result of a Lack of Water?

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 22 Jan 2016 | comments*Discuss
Back Pain Fluids Drinking Discs Inter


Is it possible that back pain can be caused by not drinking enough water. After weeks of bad lower back pain (which did respond to Ibuprofen but I did not want to take them regularly), I drank about 8 glasses of water. This morning I feel great! Have I been stinting myself on water? Some days I don't drink water until nearly lunch time from the previous day.

(B.P, 29 April 2009)


Hello and thank you for your question. At the current time there is little evidence to support the many theories that suggest back pain may be caused or made worse by a lack of fluids in the body. Although many professionals agree that there seems to be significant links between these two issues, the scientific research is fairly limited.

Most experts do agree though that muscle soreness and tissue pain is generally worse in those who do not drink enough or in those who drink the wrong types of fluids such as too much alcohol or too many caffeinated drinks.

There is also a train of thought that suggests pain due to disc problems is made worse by not drinking enough as these small but extremely important parts of the spine are predominantly made up of water on the inside and need the fluid lost during the day replenishing (most often at night) in order to function as they should the next day. Inter vertebral discs that do not contain the required amounts of fluid do not absorb as much of the impact from the spine as they should and are more at risk of injury.As you report to have had a higher intake of fluid and found your symptoms lessened, it would be easy to think that this is the solution. Why not try keeping a diary of how much you drink, the type of fluid you take and when it is consumed for a few weeks and see if your symptoms are made worse or better during times of adequate hydration?

However, back pain should not be ignored and it may be purely coincidental that drinking plenty of water has cured your problem. This does not mean you should revert back to not drinking enough as your whole body will benefit from taking plenty of fresh water even it does not particularly contribute to your improved back condition.

If your symptoms persist and they are not relieved by taking regular medication, please do seek alternative help and advice either from your GP, a physiotherapist or a chiropractor who may be able to suggest ways in which you can strengthen your spine and associated muscles to help relieve any symptoms.

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I keep having muscle spasum from left shoulder blade all down left side of back very stiff very painfully stabbing sharp pains down back around ribs and under shoulder blade. Muscles go hard as rock I put heat through area take muscle relaxants pain killers anti inflammatory drugs have massage this will last one to two weeks before pain and stiffness ease. Not sure what's causing it more painful every time I have aflare up.
Barbrich1972 - 22-Jan-16 @ 6:35 PM
i just had surgery on my lower lumber spine 4mos ago L4L5 i am still having pain like pinch nervefeeling like my low back is bulging cannot bend a degree of my back unless i have surverd spasm on both side of my hip on my right leg it feels like its swelling in my hips stll not walkin like my self have a tens to help with the spasm but the back is still like some one is inflating a balloon in it need some advice
mae - 27-Jul-12 @ 12:36 AM
For the last week i have had a lower back acke or burning at the base of my spine , caused from lifting the previous weekend , which it has been there all week, when i got up in the morning it took 5min or so to straighten up , if i sat down at any time would go stiff again ,last tonight while i was watching TV i decided to get up to make a cup of tea , instead i had 2 large glass of water , then went to bed.When i got out of bed this morningi thorough to my selfmy back not stiff , thinking it must be getting better , & thinking no more of it. Tonight i decided to have a drink so it was easy to just have a glass of water.While drinking it down , i thorough cant be the water that helped my back. So i went on the net tonight & found this site , so i will start to drink more water.
keith - 24-Jun-12 @ 12:13 PM
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