Living Well

5 drug-free pain relief options for National Physical Therapy Month

October is National Physical Therapy Month, a yearly health initiative sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) that raises awareness among consumers about the risks of opioids and the benefits of physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative for long-term pain management.

According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, more than 100 million Americans contend with some form of chronic pain, but thankfully, developments in drug-free pain relief have evolved by leaps and bounds in recent years to deliver targeted therapy in the comfort of your own home. Best of all, many of these products can be covered by flexible spending account (FSA) funds! Here are a few options that could be a solution for acute and chronic pain issues.

  1. TENS Machine

One of the most popular at-home pain relief therapies is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, also known as a TENS machine, which gives users the ability to apply electrotherapy to sore muscles and joints to alleviate acute and chronic pain. While some studies have shown that electricity can block the transmission of pain signals through the nerves, others have shown that electrotherapy can promote the release of endorphins, a form of natural pain reliever that can reduce instances of pain in a variety of situations, according to Medscape.

  1. Multi-Pulse TENS Machine

For those who need targeted pain relief therapy for multiple trouble spots, TENS machines are available with multiple electrodes to affect different areas of the body with varying levels of pulse energy. This is a great option for those who have multiple joint or muscle ailments, or for a more comprehensive therapy session on a particular area.

  1. Quell Wearable Pain Relief

For some individuals, daily pain management can't wait until they come home and apply therapy to their trouble spots. For those who need an all-day solution to combat pain, the Quell Wearable Pain Relief device is the perfect drug-free solution! This device is worn on the upper calf and fits comfortably all day long to stimulate sensory nerves. It is ideal for people with nerve pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, arthritic pain and other forms of chronic pain. Quell even features Bluetooth compatibility and a smartphone app to make it easy to monitor pain therapy, sleep quality, and customize device operation.

  1. Acupressure Mats

If you or a loved one suffers from neck or back pain, acupressure mats are a fantastic drug-free pain relief method that is perfect for at-home therapy. Acupressure targets specific pressure points in the neck and back to alleviate pain related to fibromyalgia, sciatica, nerve pain, back/neck/shoulder pain, headaches and migraines.

  1. Hot/Cold Packs

Last but not least, your FSA covers an impressive range of cold and heat therapy products, which are perfect for major and minor injuries that pop up over the course of the year. The Mayo Clinic reports that cold therapy is ideal for pain relief and inflammation from joint sprains and muscle pulls, while heat therapy is effective in opening blood vessels to increase circulation and aid the healing process.

For everything you need to stay healthy year-round, rely on FSAstore.com! We have over 4,000 FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/self-care-approaches-to-treating-pain/art-20208634

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/325107-overview

http://www.painmed.org/patientcenter/facts_on_pain.aspx

Eligibility

Head back to college with these FSA-eligible products

One of the most important regulations to emerge from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the expansion of dependent care benefits for children of account holders, who can now stay on their parents' plan until they turn 26 years old. Parents of young scholars who are heading off to college, may be surprised to find out that their flexible spending accounts (FSAs) fall under these regulations as well. So before you head to the pharmacy or big box store, shop with your FSA first! Your benefit covers a huge range of qualifying health products to keep your son or daughter healthy throughout the semester. Need some inspiration? Here are a few smart FSA-eligible products to keep in mind.

  1. Sunscreen

The early fall is still very warm and chances are your college student will spend many long afternoons on the quad soaking up the sunshine. All those UV rays aren't good for your son or daughter's skin, so use your FSA to pick up broad spectrum sunscreen that will protect them wherever they're headed year-round.

Check Out: Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen, Clear Continuous Spray, SPF 30, Twin Pack, 6 fl oz

  1. Pain Relievers

Do you know how bad a headache can be after an all-nighter? The stress that comes with higher education can lead to its fair share of headaches, so make sure your young scholar is prepared. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers require a prescription for FSA reimbursement, but our Prescription Process makes this easy!

Check Out: Advil Advanced Medicine for Pain, 200mg, Tablets, 200 ea

  1. Cold Packs

We've all done dumb things in college, it's par for the course. So whether it's an unexpected injury, or a simple mishap on a walk to class, having a cold pack handy is a smart thing for any college student. These compact cold packs can fit into any mini fridge and can ease pain and inflammation from acute pain injuries.

Check Out: Thera-Med Universal Reusable Cold Pack, 5 X 9 1/2 inches, Small

  1. Vision Care

If your son or daughter needs contact lenses, eyeglasses (prescription or reading glasses), or contact lens accessories such as solution, carrying cases or replacement lenses, you can buy them all pre-tax with your FSA! Visit our Optical Store to purchase contact lenses or prescription glasses, and explore our selection of eye care products to ensure your child can see clearly all semester.

Check Out: Eye Care Products and Accessories

  1. Condoms

Better to be safe than sorry, right? College is a time when many young adults become sexually active, so to ensure that your kids are safe from STDs and other complications, make sure they have the means to protect themselves. We have a great selection of products to choose from - the awkward conversation is up to you!

Check Out: FSA-eligible Condoms

For everything you need to keep your family healthy year-round, rely on FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!

Living Well

5 FSA-eligible must-haves for cyclists

Summer’s here, and that means warm weather, long days, and plenty of opportunities to hit the road on a bike. While there’s something to be said for getting out and forgetting the worries of everyday life, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you spent more time preparing for your mid-ride lunch stop than ensuring your safety while out on the road!

Luckily, saving money on some simple purchases to improve your cycling experience is easier than ever. And you can pay for them through an unexpected source - your flexible spending account (FSA) funds! Here are a few great FSA-eligible items that could make your ride safer and more comfortable.

  1. Sunscreen

If you don't plan ahead for your ride with the right sun protection, you may end up with an epic burn instead. Last year's sunscreen may have a limited shelf life, so make sure that you're prepared for the new season with the most effective sun care regimen. Sunscreen with broad spectrum protection against ultraviolet rays and SPF 15 or above is eligible for FSA reimbursement, so make sure you and your loved ones avoid sunburn wherever you're headed.

  1. Lip Balm

With the constant flow of wind in your face while biking, which may result in chapped lips for days afterward. While not all lip balm is FSA-eligible, those that are, follow the same eligibility requirements as sunscreen. As long as lip balm is SPF 15+ and offers broad spectrum protection, it is FSA-eligible!

  1. Allergy Medicine

Being in the great outdoors comes with its own set of challenges, not the least of which are high pollen counts that could trigger your allergic symptoms. Allergy medication can help you breathe a little easier when you’re out on the road, and over-the-counter medicines are eligible for FSA reimbursement with a prescription from a doctor.

  1. Hot/Cold Packs

Whether you're an avid cyclist or a total newbie, a long ride can leave your muscles sore for days after physical activity, but your FSA can help tackle that as well! Hot and cold packs are eligible over-the-counter products that can administer targeted heat and cold therapy to soothe sore muscles, curb swelling and reduce pain so you can get back on the road faster.

  1. Crash Pack

Last but not least, we never want to think about it when we're out on the road or on the trail, but falling off your bike in an emergency can lead to a serious injury that could be worsened without the right preparation. Every cyclist should keep a crash pack handy, and your FSA can help cover an extensive selection of bandages, braces, first aid kits and—worst-case scenario—crutches.

No matter where you're headed this summer, make FSAstore.com a part of your plans! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to keep you and your loved ones healthy year-round.

Eligibility

5 FSA eligible products to avoid snow shoveling injuries

Do you live in a part of the U.S. that will see significant snow accumulation in the coming months? Chances are, you'll be outside with a snow shovel clearing away snow and slush, and no matter what age you are, this is a strenuous activity that could lead to significant injuries if you don't make the proper preparations.

As an flexible spending account (FSA) user, you have a unique advantage this winter in that your benefit can cover a huge range of qualifying products that can safeguard you and your loved ones from potential snow shoveling injuries. As the 2017 FSA plan year kicks off, here are a few products you can purchase with your FSA card to prevent major injuries this winter.

  1. Back Braces

Shoveling snow, especially wet snow, can be especially trying on your lower back and can put you at serious risk for orthopedic injuries. Overworking specific areas that aren't used to regular heavy activity can lead to muscle, ligament, tendon and other soft tissue injuries, which is why a back brace is a smart purchase for this season. Back braces can immobilize the lower back to prevent strain injuries, as well as limit the pressure on the spine by maintaining proper posture.

Check Out: Sportaid Back Brace with Suspenders Black, 32"-44", Med/Lg

  1. Cushioned Insoles

Slips and falls during snow shoveling can happen to anyone, and if your shoes fit poorly or do not provide proper support, this can result in painful accidents if you're not careful. Luckily, cushioned insoles are FSA eligible to provide additional comfort underfoot, enhance the fit of your shoes and lessen the impact of heavy activity during snow shoveling.

Check Out: Men's: Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Men's Outrageous Comfort, Size 8-13

Women's: Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Women's Outrageous Comfort, Size 6-10

  1. Vision Correction

One of the leading causes of snow shoveling injuries is poor eyesight, as some men and women may not be able to see icy patches and other risky areas before it's too late. If you've been putting off investing in new glasses or contact lenses, now is the perfect time to make a change for the better. Visit our Contact Lenses page to shop a huge selection of qualifying lenses, or our Rx Glasses page for a huge selection of designer frames and lenses. And don't forget our huge range of eyeglass & lens accessories!

  1. Cold Packs

If you suffer a bump or bruise while shoveling snow, make sure you have a cold pack ready when you come indoors! Moving from a cold environment to a hot space can speed inflammation and can make bruises even worse, so make sure you have a form of cold therapy ready to apply to the affected area to curb swelling and pain in the event of an injury.

Check Out: ACE Instant Cold Compress Twin Pack

  1. Kinesiology Tape

Heading out to shovel snow with existing muscle soreness or another injury can cause it to worsen, which is why kinesiology tape is such a great investment. This synthetic tape provides additional support where you need it most, whether it's a sore shoulder, knee or other joint issue. Kinesiology tape can provide the support and continued range of motion to help you tackle day-to-day tasks without pain.

Check Out: KT Tape PRO, Pre-Cut, 20 Strip, Synthetic, Jet Black