Can Dehydration Cause Pain?

Have you been battling frequent neck pain? Maybe you’ve noticed an uptick in shoulder stiffness or leg cramps. You might be tempted to blame your posture or sleeping habits, but don’t forget one crucial factor: water intake. Many people are surprised to learn that dehydration can cause pain in unexpected places like your neck, shoulders, and legs. Explore why this is and tips to avoid dehydration pain. 

man and woman drinking water to stay hydrated in Prince Frederick, MD

The Link Between Dehydration and Neck Pain 

You may wonder, does dehydration cause neck pain? The answer is a resounding yes. When you’re dehydrated, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your body tighten up, leading to stiffness in various places, including the neck. This stiffness can make even basic head movements difficult and uncomfortable. 

Proper hydration is crucial to prevent cervical disc degeneration, a common cause of neck pain. The discs between your vertebrae rely on water to maintain their alignment and cushioning effects. Therefore, staying hydrated can help you ward off neck issues in the long run. 

Shoulder Pain and Dehydration 

Dehydration can wreak havoc on your shoulders. These complex joints are packed with ligaments and tendons that require lubrication to move freely. Dehydration can lead to painful inflammation and restricted joint mobility. 

Don’t Ignore Dehydrated Leg Pain 

Your legs house some of the largest muscles in your body, all of which require a consistent blood supply to function optimally. When you’re dehydrated, blood flow decreases, starving these muscles of much-needed nutrients. The result is unwanted leg cramps and pain.  

Your knee, hip, and ankle joints are also affected by dehydration. The cartilage found in every joint in your body needs water to form a gel-like substance that acts as a shock absorber. As a result, your joints may become painful if you’re dehydrated. 

How to Stay Hydrated 

Making hydration a part of your daily routine is easy if you take the proper approach. Here are some tips to keep hydration at the forefront of your mind each day: 

  • Keep a pitcher of cold water in the fridge as a visual cue to drink up. 
  • If water isn’t your favorite beverage, flavor it with fresh fruit or opt for coconut water, low-fat milk, or unsweetened tea. 
  • Drink from a single glass or aluminum water bottle throughout the day to help you monitor your water intake. 
  • Many fruits and vegetables are about 90% water, so snack on these throughout the day to boost your daily hydration quota. 
  • When exercising intensely, supplement your water intake to counteract the hydration lost through sweat. 

If you’re dealing with unexplained neck pain, shoulder stiffness, or leg cramps, dehydration might be to blame. At Greater Maryland Pain Management, we offer customized pain relief with a team of highly skilled doctors who specialize in interventional procedures and medication management. We pride ourselves on being compassionate and responsive, with same-day appointments available for urgent needs. Ready to get back to feeling your best? Call us at 410-672-2255 or visit one of our six locations across Greater Maryland to receive targeted dehydration pain relief.