Surgery left me with chronic back pain and nerve damage down my legs. Sometimes the pain is so bad I feel suicidal. What do you recommend?

When confronted with damage to the nervous system, from sciatica to generalized back pain, we who practice Ayurveda typically investigate the nature of that damage as it relates to the Vata Dosha. One of the general areas we’re concerned with when considering Vata energy is movement within the body, which includes the relative strength or weakness of how well nerves move information to the brain in the form of pain and comfort.

While the nervous system is fragile to the point of being easily damaged as a result of the surgery you’ve experienced, the good news is that much of this pain is likely to be reversible. If you craft a lifestyle for yourself that puts an emphasis on balancing aggravated Vata energy (eating Vata-reducing foods, taking Vata-reducing herbs, practicing Vata-reducing yoga postures, etc.), you will likely settle down the amount of pain you experience. Though it would also be ideal for you to seek treatment from trained Ayurvedic practitioners, you may benefit from buying some sesame oil or herbalized Vata massage oil, warming it slightly on the stove, and massaging it into your skin — particularly in the places where you are experiencing pain. This oil will nourish the body and help to repair damaged nerves as well as relieve other toxicity in the body.

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Yogi Cameron is a former super model turned Ayurvedic healer and yoga master who uses ancient healing treatments to help people recover from their health issues in Z Living's TV show Yogi Cameron: A Model Guru. He left the world of high fashion in 1998 to seek the higher path available to all of us. He began his ongoing studies in Ayurveda at Arsha Yoga Vidya Peetam Trust in India under the guidance of his guru Sri Vasudevan after training at the Integral Yoga Institute in New York City and Yogaville of Sri Satchidananda. Since then, Yogi Cameron has worked with individuals throughout the world to provide them with these ancient methods to live healthier, greener, more spiritually-minded lives in accordance with the Ayurvedic and yogic path. Using a combination of treatments, meditation, herbal remedies and diet guidance, Yogi Cameron helps treat specific conditions and set his clients on a path to greater mental, physical, and spiritual health. A primary goal of this path is helping each person find their purpose and practice. Yogi Cameron has also brought Yoga and meditation to Afghanistan as part of the reintegration program to prepare the country for troop withdrawal in the coming years, and works with young girls rescued from sex trafficking practices in Cambodia in coordination with the Somaly Mam Foundation. Yogi Cameron has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Today Show, Extra and Martha, amongst others. He has also been featured in The New York Times, Men’s Journal, Wall Street Journal, The London Times and ELLE magazine, and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and Sharecare, a health portal which is part of Dr. Oz’s outreach program for health and lifestyle experts. The Guru In You, his first book, was published by HarperCollins in January 2011. His latest book, The ONE Plan (HarperOne January 2013) provides a realistic approach to the Patanjali teachings designed to penetrate one’s entire being to result in a positive transformation of one’s life. Through The ONE Plan, Yogi Cameron translates these complex, intricate teachings into practical daily tasks, routines and systems that can easily be incorporated into everyday life for an improvement in one’s overall physical, mental, and spiritual health.