Proper Hydration

As temperatures lower one topic that usually gets on the back burner is hydration. Are you drinking enough to ensure you are replacing the electrolytes and nutrients we lose when we sweat? We’ve all heard we need to stay hydrated and need to drink water, but how much are we supposed to? Some people stick to 8 glasses of water, some stick to half of our body weight in ounces, and some people think if you wait until your thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. We’ve done some digging and found The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that daily amount of water should be about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women.

Now, that seems like a very intimidating number but what we always fail to remember is how much water we are getting from the food we eat. A lot of fruits and vegetables are made up of so much water it can help contribute to our daily intake. Another food that can help us in these winter months is soups and stews since they contain a lot of liquid to replenish what our bodies use throughout the day. But not all foods and beverages are created equal. Some liquids that contain excessive caffeine and sugar which could be causing more harm than good. Keep an eye on ingredients because even drinks labeled ‘healthy’ or ‘sports’ drinks can contain a bunch of hidden sugar and calories.

Our bodies are made of about 50-70% of water so it’s really important to make sure we replace all that water we lose inorder to make sure our bodies continue to functional properly. The important thing to keep in mind when you are outside in cool weather is water can actually help our bodies regulate temperature. A couple other “cool” facts about water are: it will help us gets rid of toxins, lubricates and cushions our joints and discs, and protects sensitive tissues. If trying keep track of certain water amounts is too much a good way to track hydration level is to track your urine color. If you are properly hydrated it should be a colorless or light yellow color.

As with everything, do your own research and talk to your doctor about whats right for you. Your doctor or dietitian can help you determine the amount of water that’s right for you every day.

The Truth About Imaging Findings

If you are experiencing musculoskeletal issues, then it is pretty commonplace that you may have undergone imaging of the area you are having trouble with. Oftentimes, when patients are seen by a physician to first investigate musculoskeletal type pain they will then be referred for imaging of the region including x-ray, MRI, and CT imaging. The results of these types of tests can many times feel very scary or provoke feelings of anxiousness. However, the good news is changes in imaging do not always mean this is the direct cause of your pain or that you are broken! This concept may be a new one for many of you as we traditionally heavily rely on this type of imaging to give as answers as to why we are experiencing discomfort. Through reading this blog, my hope is to imaging findings for all our readers!

So, you may have recently undergone an MRI or x-ray of your spine, knee, hip or shoulder — the next step is typically receiving the results of this imaging. The findings read ‘degenerative disc disease’ or ‘partial rotator cuff tear’ or ‘joint degeneration’. This verbiage can be very frightening and worrisome for many individuals, we begin to think there is something wrong or damage without our bodies. The good news is, these findings are normal as we get into the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th decades of life and beyond! As we age, findings on pictures we take on the inside of our bodies often reflect normal age-related changes. Just as we begin to develop wrinkles on the skin and gray hair as we age, we also develop wrinkles on the inside! Do wrinkles or gray hair cause us pain? Of course not! These ‘degenerative changes’ should be reconceptualized as ‘wrinkles on the inside’. Don’t believe me yet? Let’s talk about some statistics.

Studies show that 50% of people aged 65+ who have NEVER experienced shoulder pain or issues demonstrate partial rotator cuff tears or tendinosis on imaging 1

37% of individuals aged 20 y/o with no pain demonstrate degenerative spine changes 2

84% of asymptomatic individuals at 80- y.o. demonstrate disc bulges on imaging2

As you can see the above listed studies are performed on individuals without any pain or issues with movement, however they still demonstrate changes upon imaging. These changes mentioned previously are normal and can be reimagined as wrinkles on the inside!


Gill TK, Shanahan EM, Allison D, Alcorn D, Hill CL Int J Rheum Dis. 2014 Nov;17(8):863-71. Prevalence of abnormalities on shoulder MRI in symptomatic and asymptomatic older adults. Int J Rheum Dis. 2014 Nov;17(8):863-71

Brinjikji W, Luetmer PH, Comstock B, Bresnahan BW, Chen LE, Deyo RA, Halabi S, Turner JA, Avins AL, James K, Wald JT, Kallmes DF, Jarvik JG. Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015 Apr;36(4):811-6. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A4173. Epub 2014 Nov 27. PMID: 25430861; PMCID: PMC4464797.