The importance of hydration
We have all heard that we should drink more water and that it is important to stay hydrated, but why? Dr Damien Ryan, Osteopath, takes us through some of the reasons and some handy hints on how to maintain adequate hydration throughout the day.
Did you know that our brains are 80% water? Well you do now, so you can understand the importance of remaining hydrated throughout the day.
But how does dehydration lead to headaches?
When the brain is dehydrated, it begins to shrink and pull away from the skull. This triggers the pain receptors surrounding the brain, producing a headache.
Yet this isn’t the only way dehydration can cause a headache. When dehydrated your blood volume drops, which in turn lowers the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This blood volume drop triggers further swelling and inflammation, worsening the headache.
Now all of that sounds quite painful and it can be easily avoided. Here are some handy tips to stay hydrated throughout the day!
- Firstly, monitor the colour of your urine. This is the best way to determine if you are adequately hydrated. A light yellow or clear colour is indicative of being well hydrated;
- Keep a drink bottle at your desk. This simple trick continuously reminds you to drink more water. See bottle, drink from bottle. Easy!
- Leave post-it notes on your computer to drink. This is another effective way to remind yourself to drink more water;
- Remember to have consistent small sips of water, rather than large gulps. This makes it far easier for the body to absorb the fluids you are taking in;
- Some fluids don’t always hydrate you! Caffeinated drinks like coffee and sugary drinks such as Coke are diuretics. These cause the body to excrete fluids faster than the normal rate therefore negatively affecting your body’s fluid mechanics;
- Water can be an effective way to cut out those afternoon sweets and snacks! Often thirst is mistaken for hunger in the body so next time you want a chocolate bar to get you through to dinner – try a glass of water!
But how much should I drink?
- Women should aim to drink about 2 – 2.5L of water a day
- Men should aim to drink slightly more 2.5 – 3.0L per day
Stand up, fill up your drink bottles and hydrate your brain!
It’s important to remember that dehydration is just one of the many causes of headaches. The Osteopaths and Myotherapists at our clinic see and treat many other types of headaches so if you are wondering whether your headache may be aided by Osteopathic or Myotherapy treatment please feel free to contact the clinic.