You always hear “Drink 8 glasses of water a day” but it never seems manageable. We drink our coffee in the morning without missing a beat. We make our smoothies for our ‘cleanses’ and don’t bat an eyelash. But consciously remembering to drink our water takes effort. Not drinking enough water daily isn’t a huge problem for most people. But for chronic pain patients, it’s not something they can afford to ignore.
Patients who suffer from chronic pain due to arthritis, cancer, or even musculoskeletal disorders have enhanced pain signals jolting through their bodies because they are not hydrated enough. The last thing a chronic pain patient needs is to add more pain. The physical stress a dehydrated body experiences becomes entwined in a cycle of pain.
The College of Health in New Zealand decided to test its theory of dehydration and pain being linked. The test results confirmed the connection between increased pain and lack of hydration. The test patients were told to change nothing about their diets or routines, simply to refrain from taking in any fluids. Then their feet were submerged in ice cold water, called the cold pressor test. According to Dr. Mündel (who led the research), this clinical test is a great way to “measure how ‘normally’ a person’s cardiovascular system is working” (NeuroSceience News).
Dehydration amplifies pain and reduces brain blood flow response. So what does this mean? It means not only does the pain feel worse, but your body’s natural response to eliminate the pain senses is slowed down. Dehydration can also affect your medication regimen. They can become less effective and diminish any progress made by cognitive behavior therapy practiced when coping with pain.
Today’s lesson: We all know drinking water is good for your body. It sharpens your thoughts, is great for your skin, and helps the various systems of the body get moving. But if that body is already taking a hit in terms of chronic pain, don’t amplify the problems.
By making a purposeful habit of drinking water, you’re boosting the ability of your medication to work properly. What’s the point of having a parachute if there’s a hole in it? None. Don’t hinder your body’s healing with a simple denial of water. DRINK YOUR WATER.
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