The Importance of Hydration
Your body comprises mostly water, from cells to muscles. It’s intuitive, then, that staying hydrated promotes a stronger, healthier body that functions as it should. But is there a direct connection between hydration and headache relief or other symptoms?
You often hear people encouraging others to “stay hydrated,” and it’s critical for every process in your body, from proper digestion to cognitive function. Without adequate hydration, your systems begin shutting down to risk your overall health.
However, there’s more to hydration, including a key role in maintaining brain health and proper electrolyte balance. Learn more below.
What Is Dehydration?
Dehydration occurs when your body isn’t receiving enough water or when your body is losing more water than it’s receiving. This leads to a number of symptoms, ranging from mild to life-threatening.
For example, the following are some common symptoms of dehydration:
- Increased thirst
- Dry skin
- Cracked lips
- Infrequent urination
- Dark yellow urine
- Muscle pain
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heart rate
When your cells and tissues aren’t getting what they need, your body lets you know. Mild dehydration causes symptoms like thirst and darker urine, but prolonged dehydration causes more severe issues like increased heart rate and hypotension (low blood pressure). Cracked lips and dry skin are also notable signs that you need to drink water.
The Pain Is More Than Just a Headache at the Base of Skull or Between Eyes
Almost everyone experiences a headache at some point. However, anyone with frequent headaches understands the nuisance that headaches are when they impact your ability to function and diminish your quality of life.
There are several types of headaches, including these common ones:
- Occipital headache: headache at the base of the skull
- Frontal headache: pain above the eyebrows, along the forehead
- Sinus headache: headache behind the nose, between the eyes
- Cervicogenic headache: head pain stemming from the neck and shoulders
While all headaches are bothersome, occipital headaches can be excruciating. A headache at the base of the skull often originates from cervical spine issues, such as disc misalignment and posture.
The Link Between Dehydration and Headaches
To understand the link between hydration and headache relief, it’s easiest to look into what causes headaches in the first place. When it comes to underlying causes, headaches are divided into two categories: primary and secondary.
- Primary headaches come from structural issues in and around the head.
- Secondary headaches come from underlying conditions, such as brain tumors or dehydration.
Surprisingly, the mechanism behind why dehydration causes headaches remains unproven, but electrolyte imbalance is foremost in many theories. When you’re dehydrated, you lack electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Losing these electrolytes through dehydration can also cause brain fog, dizziness, and migraines.
Restoring your body and brain’s hydration provides the fluids and electrolytes they need, alleviating migraines and restoring cognitive function.
How Our Chiropractor in Plymouth, MI Can Help
Depending on the type of headache you struggle with, a chiropractic team can provide several solutions. For example, chiropractors will treat occipital headaches by addressing any issues in the cervical spine. Chiropractic care can also help resolve a headache at the base of the skull from misalignment.
Chiropractors also treat cervicogenic headaches, which originate in the neck and shoulders. Tense muscles along the neck and down the shoulder blades sometimes spread tension upward until it becomes a migraine. Deep tissue massage relieves tension to reduce the headache.
Headaches also stem from poor posture or sitting for long periods. Chiropractors provide guidance on improving your posture and sitting properly, reducing this tension in the head and neck long-term.
Tips For Staying Hydrated and Preventing Headaches
Are you struggling with occasional headaches from dehydration? The following expert tips can boost your fluid intake and relieve (or prevent) your resulting headaches:
- Set a reminder on your phone so that you don’t forget to drink
- Drink a sports drink containing electrolytes
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which both promote dehydration
- Eat foods with a high water content, such as fresh fruit
Would you like to learn more about the link between hydration and headache relief? Schedule an appointment with REACH Rehab + Chiropractic at 734-335-0212 to work with one of our chiropractic professionals.