Chronic pain affects a massive number of people. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, it affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined, and is the most common cause of long-term disability. Despite that, though, chronic pain sufferers have a notoriously difficult time being diagnosed and an even more difficult time being treated. And every time there’s a crackdown on opioids, chronic pain sufferers have more trouble accessingone of the few viable treatment options.
This often leaves people with chronic pain with one major way to try to lessen their pain: Learning their chronic pain triggers and how to avoid them. As someone who lives with chronic pain after having an ACL reconstruction surgery in 2014, I’ve learned there’s a broad range of triggers that tend to apply to a lot of people, but also that chronic pain is a uniquely individualized problem. For example, I can ride a horse through grueling exercises for hours with no issues, but walking a mile or so, even wearing the nicest shoes, will have me in pain for days.