Does Dehydration Cause Back Pain?

You may have back pain throughout the year – be it because of an injury, sprain, poor physical condition, or some other reason.

But if you notice, you may find that back pain tends to be somewhat high in summers. Now there’s not enough research on this matter to prove it, but your experience will make it evident.

Why is that, you ask?

It’s because, in summer, you have an additional cause of your back pain. Dehydration.

That’s right! Dehydration does cause back pain. Want to know why that is and how to prevent it? Keep reading!

Why Does Dehydration Cause Back Pain?

Like any shock absorber in a bike, your body has discs placed properly in your spine, which absorb the shock of every little movement. These spinal discs ensure you can walk, stand, sit, run or lift things comfortably.

You can think of these discs as cookies filled with jam in the middle. The disc has two layers – one outer layer (cookie) and one jelly-like layer in the middle (jam). Both the layers of these spinal discs are primarily made of water.

When you suffer from dehydration, the overall water content of the body gets reduced, including the water in these discs. 

With little water, each disc is equivalent to any flat pillow that hardly provides cushioning. That means when you move now, every shock of every little movement you make will affect the spine directly.

The effect can lead to bulging or a hernia in the spine as the pressure is put on the special nerves in the spinal column. Thus, resulting in back pain.

Wondering what happened to the cookie? Well, if the pressure doesn’t stop for a long time, it may crumble into pieces.

How to Prevent And Treat Back Pain From Dehydration?

Here’s something you should know about before you start treating your back pain. It doesn’t matter on which side you have the pain when you cure the root cause – you heal every side. 

So, it should be clear to you that dehydration can cause lower left back pain, upper back pain, or even lower back pain on the right side or any other area in the back. That’s because the two-layered discs we are talking about here are present all through the spinal column.

Our focus should be on understanding how to fix these discs after they lose their water. So they do their job of providing cushioning to our bones while we move about without pain.

The answer is in rehydration. 

Now don’t think drinking a cup of water will stop your back from paining instantly. Even 8 glasses of water for the next few days may not be able to help. 

And if it’s summer, if you keep working out without taking care of hydration, or if you don’t consume electrolyte-rich foods, be ready for more trouble.

Rehydration may take long if you are fully dehydrated, but you can trust it to relieve back pain by drinking water properly.

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However, once you get rehydrated completely, and your back pain has reduced to a great level, you should try to prevent it in the future. For that, you will need to stay hydrated at all times.

How to Stay Hydrated At All Times?

You may have heard it a million times before, yet it’s worth it to repeat — the human body is 60 to 70% water. 

So, to stay hydrated – all we need to do is maintain that water level. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Make a habit of drinking sips of water several times a day:

Some people might tell you to drink eight glasses of water every day, but hydration is personal to each of us. Our bodies are different, our lifestyle is different, plus our genes and environment (hot, humid, or cold) also matter, among other things. 

Eight glasses may be less for some of us and more for others. The best thing is not to depend on a random number but to make a habit of drinking sips of water. 

But why only sips, you ask? Why not gulp down a whole glass of water now and then? It’s because too much may lead you to another suffering called Overhydration

So, you need to keep a balance and keep a distance from any extreme conditions. 

  • Pack a bottle of water in your gym bag: 

When going to the gym, we take special care of our pre-workout and post-workout meals but often ignore the necessity of drinking water during the workout. 

You know, however, that you can lose a lot of water through sweat when exercising. 

It’s crucial to replace this water as soon as possible. This will help keep your back healthy, that too while increasing your performance in the gym.

  • Look out for symptoms:

Thirst is often the first symptom of dehydration. Alongside, you should be aware of a dehydrated tongue, dry mouth, dark urine, dehydration headaches, and muscle spasms, as well. These all happen due to a lack of water and an imbalance of electrolytes

If not cured fast, these symptoms may lead to more troublesome issues like kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and seizures.

If you find a symptom, take care of it by staying hydrated.


So, does dehydration cause back pain? Yes! But you can easily avoid it by giving special attention to your hydration, especially in summer

Also, if you are an athlete or a regular at the gym, find the right amount of water for you because you are more prone to back pain than other people with a sedentary lifestyle.

If you already have back pain, take advantage of water and water-rich foods to relieve it. And if that doesn’t help, make sure to consult a doctor to diagnose and treat your back pain. 

Remember, water is what provides lubrication and cushioning to our bones. Without enough water, there will be wear and tear and your body will suffer from day-to-day movements. This will not only lead to problems like back pain but also disturb your life in a significant way.

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