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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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