Can you eat after back surgery?

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “can you eat after back surgery?” We will also talk about what back surgery is, when you will need it and what are the risks of doing it. We will then discuss the type of foods and beverages you can eat and drink after back surgery, and what to avoid eating.

Can you eat after back surgery?

Yes, you can eat after back surgery. Before you leave the hospital, the nurse team will slowly transition your food from clear liquid to soft food.

As you leave the hospital, you should be able to eat normally. Pay attention to your doctor’s recommendations.

What is back surgery?

It is a surgery done to relieve pain from your spine. It is also called ‘spine surgery’ and the reasons to get through this type of procedure as well as its methods may vary.

Back surgery can be done with minimally invasive methods or more invasive ones, it will depend on the reason this procedure is being made, like having large or small lesions on the spine.

What can you eat after back surgery?

You can eat whatever you want after back surgery. Your body will be healing and will need calories for the process. However, make sure these calories come from a healthy diet.

Many vitamins are recommended to help your system heal faster, such as:

  • Vitamin A: found in carrots, leaf green vegetables (like broccoli, spinach and kale), tomatoes, milk and eggs;
  • Vitamin C: found in orange, lemon, grapefruit, strawberries and citrus foods in general;
  • Zinc: found in red meat, avocados and berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)

Because you will probably be taking narcotic medication, this can lead to constipation. So it’s nice to search for foods that are rich in fibers such as beans, grains, apples, potatoes and nuts.

Can I drink alcohol after back surgery?

You can drink alcohol after back surgery, but this is not recommended. Alcohol acts in your system as a depressant agent, and this is not positive for your recovery.

It is also important to remember that alcohol may interact with narcotic painkillers and other medications you may be taking. This can increase sedation and impair your body healing process.

What to avoid eating after back surgery?

Avoid eating full-fat foods in general after back surgery. You won’t be needing a strict diet after the procedure, but it is important to maintain good health with healthy eating habits.

You may also avoid dehydrated and dried foods as your stomach will be sensitive and these types of foods can leave you constipated.

When back surgery is needed?

You will need back surgery when other conservative ways have not worked to ease back pain. Despite back pain being really common, sometimes it is unbearable. In these cases, surgery is needed.

Some examples of problems that may require back surgery are:

  • Herniated disks: Disks separate bones in the spine,, and they can be ruptured or damaged. This is commonly caused by age-related wear, but sometimes there are no specific reasons.
  • Overgrowth of bones: When you have osteoarthritis, your bones can grow more than they should, and this can damage your joints in the back of your spinal cord. In this case, surgery will be needed to remove bone excess.

What are the risks of doing back surgery?

The risks of doing back surgery are plenty and include infection, blood clots, dural tear, leakage of cerebrospinal fluid, loss of vision, facial sores, nerve injury and paralysis.

Because we are dealing with a very sensitive spot in our body (the spinal cord), complications can be more severe than with other surgeries.


In this brief guide, we addressed the query “can you eat after back surgery?”. We also talked about what is back surgery, when you will need it and what are the risks of doing it. Then we discussed the types of foods you can eat after this procedure and what to avoid eating.

We hope that this guide was useful. If you have any doubts, please don’t hesitate to contact us!


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.