Hydration and Spinal Health: The role that hydration plays in preventing degenerative discs

Republished from July 9, 2013

Hydration is a subject most people know they need to improve, but did you know that it is also essential to be properly hydrated for spinal health? Hydration is important for our circulatory system, lymphatic system, excretory system, our skin, muscles, digestion, and brain. However, I want to help you understand why it is important for our spine in particular, our vertebral disc and nerves. Between every vertebra and spinal bone there is a soft cushion called a vertebral disc. You might have heard of this when people say they have a slipped or bulging disc. These discs serve several very important duties in the spine: they give structure and support, they connect bones together, they protect the spinal cord and nerves, and they allow for movement of the spine.

Protecting the spinal cord and nerves

In this article, I am going to focus on the duty of protecting the spinal cord and nerves. To understand this better, you need to know a little bit more about the anatomy of your spine and discs. You see, directly behind the vertebral bodies and disc (which are stacked on top of each other to make up the spine), is the spinal canal which houses the spinal column/cord. The spinal column/cord is the lifeline that sends energy/electricity from your brain, down the spinal cord, out the nerves at the level of every vertebra/disc, to all of your organs, tissues, and cells. This energy flow brings life to every part of your body. Without it, your brain and body would die (a very important area to protect, don’t you think?)

Between every bone, or vertebra in the spine, is a vertebral disc. This disc adds cushion and space between each bone so that nerves can exit out of little holes in the sides of the spine. These nerves go to every part of the body. so, if you have nice tall, healthy disc you will have holes where the nerves come out of the spine that are wide open and not closed off. On the contrary, if you have degenerating and thin discs you will have holes where the nerves come out that are narrow and closed off.

A few different types of things can occur that will obstruct the opening where the nerves exit that can potentially pinch down on the delicate nerve tissue. You can have a bulging disc, degenerative disc, subluxation, etc. (Other things like spinal stenosis, tumors, etc. can also occur.)

Bulging Disc

Most people have heard of a bulging disc, and to understand why a disc can bulge out onto the nerve, you need to understand the anatomy of the disc itself. Around the outside of the disc is cartilage. On the inside of the disc is fluid. A bulging disc is when the fluid from the inside of the disc pushes out and stretches the cartilage. When the outer cartilage is stretched, it can hit the nerve or the spinal cord. If this does happen, there are very specific things that can be done to help decrease the size of the bulge and take the pressure off of the nerve or spinal cord. This includes chiropractic adjustment, traction/decompression, hydration, or even surgery if it is bulging beyond repair.

Degenerative Disc

To understand how a degenerative disc can pinch down on a nerve, you must know the disc provides space between each vertebra. This space provides maximum opening for the nerves to exit from the spinal cord to the rest of the body. As the disc degenerates and becomes smaller/thinner, so does the hole where the nerve comes out. As the hole gets smaller, the nerve becomes pinched. This is where proper hydration is so important….do you remember what the inside of the disc is made out of? Fluid! What would happen to that fluid if you were chronically dehydrated? The fluid in the disc would dehydrate as well, and the disc would get thinner and pinch on the nerve. If this happened and blocked the nerve energy/electricity going out to the body, how would you feel? Some would say pain and they would be partially right. The truth is that symptoms are a bad indicator of the health of your body. A great analogy of this is looking at the health of our teeth… it is common (not normal) for people to have crooked teeth and cavities in their teeth without symptoms. Have you ever gone to the dentist for a regular checkup and you felt fine, but they found cavities? It’s the same with your spine. The majority of the population actually has a bulging disc and degeneration without pain. This is why it is so important for everyone to have to have their spine checked. These things can be prevented and corrected just like cavities and crooked teeth.

How and why does a disc degenerate or bulge

Hydration is an important part in preventing degeneration, but the most common culprit is due to injuries. Injuries can be big or small. Some examples of big injuries are car accidents, sports injuries, slips and falls, birth process, etc. Small injuries can include the birth process, learning to walk, falling off of a bike or playground equipment, sitting for hours with poor posture, etc. Sitting with poor posture and all of these injuries are to your spine what sugar is to your teeth!

How often do you or your family members have these types of injuries? On a daily basis! If you or a family member has never had your spine checked and maintained your entire life, what are the chances that you could have something going on? Let me ask that another way, if you or a family member had never had your teeth checked and maintained your entire life, what are the chances that there is something going on?

All of these injuries can cause your spinal vertebra to become misaligned and locked up. (subluxated) Subluxations will cause alterations and degeneration of the disc tissue leading to bluges and thinning of the disc. This can happen at any age. The youngest I have seen degeneration in the spine is at age 14. I have also seen a 91 year or without any degeneration because her spine was subluxation free.

Answers and Hope

So what is the answer to all of this? Have your spine and your family members spines checked early and often by a corrective/wellness chiropractor throughout your entire life. Stay well hydrated, stretch and exercise, have good nutrition, focus on healthy thoughts! We all have stress and big and small injuries throughout our life that can subluxate or degenerate our spine, so just like you take care of your teeth; make sure you also take care of your spine!

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Denny Warren, DC, CCWP


Do Children and Babies need Chiropractic Adjustments?

Did you know that Dr. Mandy and Dr. Denny are certified in pediatric chiropractic care? Did you know that babies and young children need chiropractic adjustments too? Watch this video where Dr. Denny explains why chiropractic adjustments are necessary for kids too. If your child needs a check-up call the office at (479) 442-2755 to get them scheduled. For the month of August we are offering a new patient exam with x-rays and dr’s report for $50. Half of every exam fee will be donated to Apple Seeds to assist their efforts to inspire healthy living through garden-based education. They are a fantastic organization and this is an amazing deal and great opportunity to get your whole family checked.

Toxicity and Deficiency


Deficiency. Toxicity. When you hear these words, do you think in terms of things that are unhealthy and in decline? Or do your thoughts take you down a completely opposite path, where things are healthy and thriving? The truth is, if something is affected by deficiency or toxicity, it will show signs of poor health and decline. So let’s talk a little bit more about how this works.

Have you ever tried to grow a plant? Whether you’ve planted a garden or just tend to a houseplant, it’s fairly easy to see when plants are in a healthy state. Their leaves are lush. Their stalks stand up. They’re growing and thriving, and it’s all perfectly natural for them to exist in this way.
But what happens the second you see the plant’s leaves start to wilt? You water it…because it has a deficiency that prevents it from thriving. Most likely, it will return to a natural and healthy state as soon as you water it because you have given it what it needs and eliminated its deficiency.
If the plant doesn’t go back to its natural state, you try to figure out if there’s anything besides water the plant might need to thrive. Sunlight? Certain plants do better with different amounts of sunlight. Some prefer full sun while others grow best in shade or indirect sunlight. Soil nutrients? These levels may be insufficient for the type of plant you’re growing, warranting adjustments be made to bring them back up to par.
Now that you’ve addressed all of the plant’s water, sunlight and nutrient deficiencies, its healthy self is back. Everything’s growing good. Then someone comes along and starts pouring toxic substances into the soil. How’s that plant of yours thriving now? It’s not. However, it can, if you can find a way to address the toxicity.
Can you stop the toxins from being dumped in your soil? Can you fix the toxicity issues already present in your soil? Sure you can. You can address the toxicity just as you did all the deficiencies I mentioned. And once you do, your plant will be back on its way to reclaiming its health and returning to its natural state.
How do I know? Well, Calvin Bey, Ph.D is a good friend of mine. He also happens to be an expert on growing plants and teaching people how to grow nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. He is often asked about the different diseases that affect plants or the bugs that attack plants. Calvin’s answer to these questions is always the same, “We need to do a soil analysis and see what toxicities or deficiencies you have for that plant.”
He responds this way because when plants are affected by disease or by bugs, there is always a toxicity or deficiency involved. These things only happen in weak plants. It’s nature’s way, breaking down weak plants so their nutrients can re-enter the soil and allow other plants to thrive.
There’s been a lot of discussion about plants here simply because it’s a great way to illustrate how deficiency and toxicity work. But did you know the laws of deficiency and toxicity can be applied to all living things, too, including humans?
If our bodies are missing something they need in order to function, or if we put something in them that is toxic, they will react much like a plant does. Our bodies will start to show signs of declining health. Our cells will get out of balance and lose function. And, over time, they will cause weakness to a point that allows bacteria and viruses to take over. In some cases, it will even allow disease to develop in our bodies.
Understanding the principles of toxicity and deficiency are essential when it comes to our health. It can help us create an environment that is more pure and sustainable. It can help us create a lifestyle centered on maintaining and nurturing health. And it can help us enjoy the health and vitality we need and deserve in order to thrive.
If you would like more information on the type of environment and lifestyle your genes and epigenetics require to function at their healthiest, come join us at one of our monthly workshops. We’re always happy to teach you more about staying active, eating healthy and being happy.

Denny Warren is a doctor of chiropractic at Generations Health and Wellness Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas. When he and his wife, his business partner and fellow chiropractor, aren’t teaching others about staying active, eating healthy and being happy, they’re busy blazing new hiking trails with their two young children. You can follow Dr. Denny and his team at http://www.generationshwc.com/blog.

Improve your ability to learn and think clearly

Clear Thinking and Learning

In this fantastic video, Dr. Denny talks about the connection between our brain and exercise and how that affects our ability to think clearly and even to learn.

This is also a fantastic example of working with kids. Jude is putting on quite the show. He loves to look at himself in the phone while Dad is recording from Wilson Park in Fayetteville, AR. Rae looks like she wants the sun out of her eyes. 🙂

Love the video? Subscribe to Generation’s YouTube channel for more good stuff. Anything in particular you want to see Dr. Denny cover in a future video? Tell us in the comments and we’ll make it happen!