Chiropractic Tips

Dehydration: The Importance of Staying Hydrated

Posted: August 29, 2023
By: Dr. Jan Ormsby

Dehydration is a condition that occurs when your body loses more fluids than it takes in. This can happen through sweating, urination, vomiting, diarrhea, or other means. When you're dehydrated, your body doesn't have enough fluids to function properly. This can lead to a variety of problems. If you experience any of the following symptoms of dehydration, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Dark urine
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • And even heat stroke


Dehydration in Hot Weather

The risk of dehydration is especially high in hot weather, regardless of the climate. However, the risk is higher in dry climates than in humid climates. This is because dry air doesn't hold as much moisture as humid air, so your body loses more fluids through sweating in dry climates. To stay hydrated in hot weather, it's important to drink even more fluids than usual. You should also avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, and take breaks to cool down if you do need to be active.

In a humid climate, the air is already saturated with moisture, so your sweat doesn't evaporate as quickly. This means that you don't lose as much fluid through sweating. However, you can still become dehydrated in humid climates, especially if you're exercising or working in hot, humid conditions.

Physiological Effects

According to research findings in Nutrition Reviews, dehydration has been shown to have numerous physiological effects. Examples include:

Cognitive performance

Mild dehydration can affect mood and cognitive function, particularly in young, old, hot climate, and individuals who exercise. It may impact aspects like concentration, memory, and alertness, however the effects are inconsistent across studies. Reintroducing fluids in mildly dehydrated individuals might improve alertness, while the impact on cognitive performance is variable. However, relatively little is known about the mechanism of mild dehydration's effects on mental performance. It has been proposed that mild dehydration acts as a physiological stressor that competes with and draws attention from cognitive processes.

Physical performance

Hydration's role in physical performance, particularly among athletes and in demanding conditions, is well-studied. Even slight dehydration of around 2% can impair endurance, increase fatigue, alter thermoregulation, and reduce motivation. Athletes, especially early in their training, are prone to dehydration risks, and children exercising might face greater dehydration risks due to inadequate recognition of fluid needs.

Gastrointestinal function

Fluid absorption happens primarily in the small intestine, with the gastric emptying rate influencing re-hydration speed. Constipation can be caused by factors like low fluid intake, and increasing fluids helps mainly for those dehydrated. Diarrheal diseases pose risks, especially for children, causing significant water and electrolyte imbalances that can be treated effectively with oral re-hydration therapy.

Kidney function

The kidney plays a vital role in regulating water balance, blood pressure, and waste removal. It maintains plasma osmolality (a test that measures the concentration of all chemical particles found in the fluid part of blood) within a specific range using hormones like arginine vasopressin (AVP) to control urine volume and water retention. The kidney's role extends to filtering waste via urine, with an obligatory urine volume needed for solute removal, and its capacity to concentrate and dilute urine declines with age. Overloading the kidney's output rate with excessive water intake can lead to hyponatremia.


Dehydration can trigger headaches, potentially even migraines, and providing relief through water intake is observed. While increased water intake may moderately reduce headache intensity and duration in some cases, its role in preventing headaches, especially in headache sufferers, is less clear and relatively unexplored in medical literature.


Water is essential for overall health, and it plays a vital role in keeping the skin hydrated and healthy. When the skin is properly hydrated, it looks plumper, smoother, and more radiant. Water helps improve skin elasticity and helps to keep the skin's collagen and elastin fibers strong and elastic.

In addition to drinking water, there are other things you can do to improve your skin complexion, such as:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Using sunscreen
  • Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Exfoliating regularly
  • Using a moisturizer

How Much Water Do You Need?

The amount of water you need to drink each day depends on a number of factors, including your age, activity level, and the climate you are enjoying. However, most experts recommend that adults drink 8 glasses of water per day. This is just a general guideline, and you may need to drink more or less depending on your individual needs.

Tips for Staying Hydrated

There are a few things you can do to stay hydrated throughout the day:

  • Drink plenty of water. 
    Especially when you're feeling tired or light headed. These can be signs of dehydration. Water is the best choice for hydration, as it doesn't contain any calories or sugar. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.
  • Set a timer. 
    This will remind you to drink fluids throughout the day.
  • Drink fluids first thing in the morning.  
    This will help to re-hydrate your body after a night of sleep and remind you to set your timer.
  • Avoid sugary drinks.  
    Sugary drinks can actually dehydrate you, as they can cause your body to produce more urine.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables.  
    Many fruits and vegetables are high in water content, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
  • Drink fluids before, during, and after meals.  
    This will help to prevent dehydration caused by sweating during the process of digestion.
  • Drink fluids before, during, and after exercise.  
    When you exercise, you lose fluids through sweating. It's important to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise to prevent dehydration.
  • Pay attention to your thirst.  
    Thirst is a good indicator that you're dehydrated. If you're feeling thirsty, drink fluids right away.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine.  
    These substances can have a diuretic effect that can lead to dehydration. To stay properly hydrated, it's a good practice to balance your consumption of these substances with an extra intake of water.
  • Schedule regular chiropractic adjustments!

Chiropractic Adjustments and Hydration. 

A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in 2011 found that chiropractic adjustments may help to improve hydration. The study looked at 60 adults who were randomly assigned to receive either real or fake chiropractic adjustments. The participants were then asked to drink a certain amount of water and to measure their urine output.

The results showed that the participants who received chiropractic adjustments had a lower urine output than the participants who received fake adjustments. This suggests that the chiropractic adjustments may have helped to improve the participants' hydration levels.

While it's not fully understood how chiropractic adjustments can help with hydration, it is thought that adjustments may also improve the function of the nervous system, which can help to regulate the body's fluid balance. 

Here are some other ways chiropractic adjustments may help with hydration:

  • Improving the alignment of the spine and other joints can help to improve the flow of blood and lymph throughout the body. This can help to deliver more water to the tissues.
  • Reducing inflammation can also help to improve hydration levels. Inflammation can damage the tissues and make it more difficult for them to absorb water.
  • Relieving stress can also help with hydration. Stress can lead to dehydration by increasing the production of adrenaline and cortisol, which can promote water loss.

While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of chiropractic adjustments for hydration, the available evidence suggests that adjustments may be a helpful way to improve hydration levels. Dehydration is a serious condition that can have a number of negative consequences. By staying hydrated, and getting regular chiropractic adjustments, you can help prevent dehydration and keep your body happy and healthy.

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