How Staying Hydrated Helps Overcome Spinal Arthritis 

 September 22, 2023

By  Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

hydration degenerative disc diseaseDegenerative disc disease (DDD), aka spinal arthritis, is an extremely common condition that happens when the discs in the spine start to break down over time. As the discs lose hydration and wear away, it can cause back and neck pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the arms and legs. While DDD is progressive, there are ways to prevent it from getting worse and even reverse some of the damage, including staying hydrated and seeking chiropractic care. Keep reading to learn more.

The Importance of Disc Hydration

The discs that lie between the vertebrae in the spine act as shock absorbers and allow flexibility and movement. They are made up of a tough outer layer called the annulus fibrosus and a soft, gel-like center known as the nucleus pulposus. This nucleus is composed mainly of water, which gives the discs their ability to compress and absorb force.

When the discs start to lose hydration, they become less flexible and prone to injury. As water content decreases, the discs start to collapse and shrink, causing the space between the vertebrae to narrow. This is what contributes to many of the symptoms of DDD like pain, stiffness and loss of mobility.

That’s why staying hydrated is crucially important for maintaining disc health and preventing DDD. Along with consuming plenty of water, it’s important to avoid foods and behaviors that can cause dehydration like excess alcohol, caffeine, smoking and high sodium intake.

Some research has shown that insufficient hydration leads to a cycle of disc degeneration. As water content decreases, proteoglycans which retain water also diminish. This causes even more water loss and accelerates disc degeneration. Keeping the discs properly hydrated with water intake and nutrient support can help stop this degenerative cycle.

The Benefits of Disc Imbibition

Closely related to hydration is the concept of disc imbibition. Imbibition refers to the discs’ absorption and retention of water. As we age, the ability of discs to imbibe fluid decreases. But research shows that in the early stages of DDD, discs can still uptake significant amounts of water when properly hydrated.

This disc imbibition allows the nucleus pulposus to take up water and regenerate, effectively reversing disc degeneration. Even in advanced cases, improving hydration and imbibition can potentially stop further degeneration and alleviate symptoms.

That’s why increasing water intake and utilizing treatments that restore disc imbibition are so beneficial for improving disc health. Some techniques like axial decompression therapy create negative intradiscal pressure to allow more water, oxygen and nutrients to diffuse into damaged discs. Other regenerative treatments like platelet-rich plasma therapy provide growth factors directly to discs that help regenerate and repair cartilage.

Chiropractic Care for Disc Health

In addition to proper hydration and disc imbibition methods, chiropractic care is instrumental for supporting joint health. Chiropractors utilize spinal adjustments and manipulations to improve mobility, decrease inflammation and spur healing.

Research confirms that chiropractic adjustments are effective for reducing pain and disability associated with DDD. Specific techniques like flexion-distraction can take pressure off compressed discs and stimulate healing. Spinal manipulation has even been found to increase disc hydration, imbibition and density on MRI scans.

Upper cervical chiropractic focuses on the top two vertebrae (C1 and C2) that strongly influence biomechanics, spinal alignment and nerve function. By realigning the upper neck, pain signals are dampened while the body can restore normal motion and healing.

At Stover Chiropractic in Mechanicsville, VA, Dr. Tripp Stover specializes in upper cervical chiropractic care for conditions like DDD. As a craniocervical instability specialist and chiropractic orthospinologist, Dr. Stover achieves outstanding results for patients suffering from degenerative disc disease.

Treatments at Stover Chiropractic are tailored to each individual but often include:

  • Spinal adjustments to improve joint mobility and decrease nerve irritation
  • Flexion-distraction therapy to take pressure off discs
  • Physical therapy and rehab exercises to strengthen supportive muscles
  • Lifestyle advice on nutrition, hydration, sleep hygiene and stress reduction
  • Axial decompression therapy to improve disc hydration and regeneration

By combining stayed hydrated, restoring disc imbibition, realigning the upper neck vertebrae and following individualized treatment plans, Dr. Stover is able to help patients find relief from DDD pain and improve spinal health holistically without drugs or invasive surgery.

Don’t Let DDD Progress – Start Healing Today

Degenerative disc disease is not an inevitable result of aging. By maintaining proper hydration, utilizing chiropractic care and supporting the body’s natural healing abilities, significant improvements can be made even in advanced cases.

If you’re suffering from persistent back or neck pain, numbness or lack of mobility, don’t wait. Degenerative changes to the spine will only worsen over time without intervention. Call Stover Chiropractic in Mechanicsville, VA today at (804) 559-1100 to schedule a consultation. Upper cervical chiropractic care combined with lifestyle changes can help you finally find relief!

This article is copyrighted by Blogging Chiropractors for its Doctor of Chiropractic members and may not be copied or duplicated in any manner including printed or electronic media, regardless of whether for a fee or gratis without the prior written permission of Blogging Chiropractors.

Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

Dr. Stover grew up in Richmond. He has been married to his wife Andrea since 2000 and they make their home in Mechanicsville with their children, Avery and Garnett.

Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

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