Date
20 July 2018
People must pay attention to the signs of dehydration and increase their water intake as needed to avoid serious health issues. Photo: Reuters
People must pay attention to the signs of dehydration and increase their water intake as needed to avoid serious health issues. Photo: Reuters

Dehydration can intensify pain

The summer arrived a bit earlier than usual this year. The unbearable heat in May and June makes July and August even more less-appealing.

The constantly high temperature has created a lot of problems. Heat strokes, drying reservoirs and bad tempers, to name a few. One thing often overlooked is the worsening of pains in such undesirable weather.

Insufficient water intake is one of the most common contributors to more serious pain. Our bodies naturally lose fluids in hot weather, and if one doesn’t drink enough water, dehydration is likely to take place.

Many people drink only when they feel thirsty, but the truth is, the body is already dehydrated when we feel parched.

Water is vital to the body and that cannot be said enough. Sufficient water helps the transportation of nutrients and oxygen from the blood to cells, maintains the humidity of the lungs, facilitates metabolism, helps absorption of nutrients by organs, regulates body temperature and detoxifies the body.

People might function without eating for six to seven days but cannot do so without drinking for two to three days.

Besides maintaining proper functions of the body, water is closely related to various kinds of pain. Two-third of a human body is made up of water, especially for the muscles, which are over 50 percent water.

A dehydrated body is like a machine without lubricants, where the muscles stick tight together. Just compare sliced dried beef with fresh beef as an analogy. Dried beef is not elastic at all because it has been dehydrated.

Our muscles are the same. If the muscles have been strained or damaged, they will get even tighter and obviously more painful when the body lacks water.

One type of dehydration-related pain is joint pain. There are synovial fluids between our joints to allow smooth movements. When the body is dehydrated, those movements will be hindered, leading to pain.

According to clinical observations, patients who drink insufficient amount of water have slower recovery rate and experience pain over a larger area. They will also feel their muscles being tightened up all the time.

Water is important to the body’s structure and functions. To live healthily during summer time, we should all drink lots of water.

With all these being said, dehydration is only one of the many factors leading to pain. Patients whose pain lasts for over two weeks should seek professional help immediately.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 25

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/BN/RC

Registered chiropractor

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