Nutrition and Wellness

Eating Right and Healing Quick, Post Spine Surgery

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Getting back to the house and eating a regular meal post a spinal operation is one of those moments when more is better. This means more:

  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Healthy foods to help the body recover quicker

The time after neck or back surgery is not only a time for the spine to heal, but for the entire body to go through a recovery process. It is a generally slow progression, but once you are able to eat normally, a high-quality diet/meal plan will help ensure a smooth and speedy recovery.

The first few days after arriving home there could be nausea, which is common coming out of anesthesia and beginning pain medication. Appetite could be diminished, which is just fine because the gastrointestinal tract needs time to get back functioning properly after spine surgery.

A positive sign that the digestive system is beginning to work properly is the ability to pass gas. Recovery in a hospital, the surgical team slowly transitions from a clear liquid diet to a soft diet and finally to solid food.

Once out of the hospital, the body should be ready to eat normally. Your surgical team will discuss and provide the individual with a specific meal plan, but a general approach to a post-spine surgery diet typically follow these parameters:

More Calories

Post spine surgery, the body’s metabolism increases in order to heal. So the body needs extra calories, around twice as much for proper recovery. It is very important that these extra calories are from healthy foods like:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

These will provide the body with extra vitamin C and other nutrients that the body needs for healing a wound and the recovery process that goes with it.

High-Protein

Protein is the key nutrient required for post-surgery healing and recovery. Extra calories should come from:

Low-fat dairy is a good source of protein that provides calcium and vitamin D for bone restoration. High-protein foods are often high in zinc, which is essential in fighting infections.

Eat More Small Meals

Rather than eating three regular-sized meals, try to eat four to six small, well-balanced meals. These should be spaced throughout the day into the evening. These will be easier on the digestive system, especially when increasing the calorie intake.

Supplement Shakes or Smoothies

Smoothies and shakes are a great way to boost calories and protein post-op. Make them with milk, soymilk, yogurt, or other high-protein food or beverage as the base. There are also prepared shakes or smoothies at the supermarket or drug store that are specifically prepared to boost calories and protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

The surgeon will more than likely recommend vitamin and mineral supplements, along with other dietary supplements to promote healing. Be sure to get a doctor’s approval before taking any other supplements during recovery.

Water and Fiber

Pain medication can cause constipation. The most important thing to do is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. This is vital to the healing process. Eat plenty of high-fiber foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. There is also a natural laxative effect from drinking prune juice or eating prunes, which are dried plums.

If there is any trouble following the post-op diet plan or any questions about food or supplements, contact the surgeon, dietitian, or a health coach/nutritionist. At a follow-up appointment, ask how long the special diet will have to last so you can plan accordingly.


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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Eating Right and Healing Quick, Post Spine Surgery" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.

Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*

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