#15-03 Mt. Elizabeth Medical Centre
3 Mt. Elizabeth, Singapore 228510


Water & Your Spine

There is an increase in people suffering from back pain and neck pain throughout the world. An important reason for this explains Dr. Prem Pillay, a Spine & Nerve Specialist based in Singapore and trained in the US; is our 21st Century lifestyle and workstyle. The use and overuse of computers with prolonged sitting and poor posture as associated causative agents are a major factor. Sports injuries and straining the back with carrying heavy objects are other reasons.

A common reason for back pain is spine disc wear and tear (degeneration) over time or with injury, that can cause the disc to protrude and irritate nerve in the spine. The spine discs are rubbery or gel like structures between the spine bones or vertebrae that allow flexibility in the spine. The spinal discs contain proteins like a type of collagen, complex sugar like substances and a great deal of water. Disc breakdown is associated with a loss of water states Dr. Prem Pillay. Lack of adequate water intake by a person can be a factor in disc degeneration and disc injury. Lack of water can also be associated with increased muscle tension and this too can cause back pain, neck pain and stress the spine.

Most people do not drink enough water during the working day. This relative dehydration with prolonged sitting in an office environment can be damaging to the neck and back of the spine. An intake of 8-12 glasses of water during the working day from 9 to 5 is recommended unless there are other health issues that don’t allow this (kidney failure for example), clarifies Dr. Prem Pillay. Adequate hydration relaxes muscles, improves your blood circulation and keeps the spine discs healthy.

Another use of water is as an external therapeutic agent, explains Dr. Prem Pillay. A warm water shower or a soak in a hot tub or warm bathtub can relax tight muscles and relieve back pain and neck pain. There are also advanced physiotherapy exercises that can be done in water. In water, you have a lowered body weight which allows less loading and stress on the spine during therapy exercises. Walking in water as in a pool against water resistance can be a good aerobic and core strengthening activity, states Dr. Prem. The core refers to the muscle groups that surround the spine and provide support and movement to the spine. A strong core is important to reduce and recover from spine injury including spine disc problems. It is best to meet physiotherapists experienced with aquatic based physio for a more complete program.

Dr. Prem Pillay concludes that water is an excellent therapy medium for the relief of back pain if used in the right way.

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