When it comes to flexible spending accounts (FSAs), you've probably heard about the tax breaks and benefits (not to mention being able to pay for health emergencies when they arise). But, what most people really want to know is what the term "eligible expenses" actually means.
This is especially true if you're having issues with pain, and you want to explore therapies like acupuncture or other types of alternative pain management.
So let's take a quick look at how FSAs classify acupuncture, as well as other alternative types of treatment.
FSAs and acupuncture
Acupuncture has been used in Asia for centuries to treat pain, but it's still a pretty new type of treatment here in the U.S.
Acupuncture is an eligible expense with an FSA because it's considered an approved treatment for pain. Even the IRS lists acupuncture as a qualifying medical expense that you can deduct on your annual tax return.
While acupuncture is FSA-eligible, you still may be required to get a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) that describes how acupuncture would help in the management of a diagnosis, cure, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a medical condition or disease.
Are there any other FSA-eligible alternative pain treatments?
Potentially. Each situation is unique and will likely be handled on a case-by-case basis by your FSA plan administrator.
Two common alternative treatments for pain include:
- Naturopathy – non-invasive treatments that promote self-healing
- Chiropractic – manipulation of the spine to alleviate pain and discomfort
It's at your doctor's discretion whether these alternative types of therapies would be useful in your treatment plan. If they are, and the service aids in diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, an LMN must be written, which may make the service eligible for reimbursement under your FSA. In short, any natural therapy could be eligible if it hits these marks.
The LMN must provide detailed information about how the alternative treatment would be used as part of your treatment plan and what the treatment would cover and how long treatment should last.
Regardless, your best option is to discuss alternative therapies with your physician to determine if there's an opportunity to integrate these treatments into your pain management plan.
From FSA basics to the most specific account details, in our weekly Asked and Answered column, our team gets to the bottom of your most-pressing flex spending questions. It appears every Wednesday, exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The headline says "5/4" but we bet more of you are going to celebrate tomorrow, when most of the country will put down their responsibilities and raise a glass to the Mexican Army's difficult victory over the French Empire on May 5, 1862.
(Rumor has it, there might also be some heavy partying.)
No matter what you have for going on this weekend, your FSA can help you ensure your celebration starts safe and stays safe. It might even help you enjoy May 6 as much as the previous day! In this week's FSA Friday, we put aside the news headlines to give you a few tips for enjoying a comfortable, relaxing, FSA-eligible Cinco de Mayo weekend.
It seems like just a few weeks ago, most of the country was still facing the possibility of snowfall. Today, the northeast United States is, once again, preparing for summer-like temperatures, clear skies, and perfect barbecue weather.
But it's been a long winter, and much of the country has been stuck indoors. So, it's probably best to avoid too much sunshine on the first warm weekend since September. Whenever possible, sit down in the shade, don't overexert yourself, and have that sunscreen ready. However, if you find yourself getting a little too much sun, we're happy to report that cold packs and other forms of cold therapy are FSA-eligible.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using these products to treat sunburns soon after you come out of the sun to fight the itching and burning from sunburns, as well as reduce any unwanted swelling and blisters.
(We like using them to just cool off, since they're drier and longer-lasting than damp towels or ice bags.)
Stay hydrated (inside and out)
I don't think we need to remind you how important it is to drink plenty of water (and no, beer, sangria and Coke Zero do not count toward your daily water requirements). Whenever you're outdoors and the temperature rises, you'll need to keep the water flowing, regardless of whatever else you're doing, eating or drinking.
In warmer weather, your skin needs some extra hydration, too. Even if you don't get a full-on sunburn, there's always the possibility your skin will crack and peel. Medicated moisturizers that are fortified with aloe vera are FSA-eligible with a prescription! Applying twice a day after being outdoors can help fight off gentle burns, and prevent your skin from drying out.
Ditch the itch
You aren't the only one looking forward to that outdoor fiesta. Bugs have been dormant all winter, and have likely planned their first summer meal at the same time as yours. But you can put the brakes on the buffet by using FSA-eligible sunscreen with bug repellent before stepping into the yard.
Should a few insects fight through the bug spray, it's a good idea to treat bites right away using hydrocortisone cream, which should immediately treat inflammation, redness and swelling before they happen.
[PRO TIP - Hydrocortisone is also fantastic for reducing sunburn swelling and burning. Have it in your bag, no matter where your weekend takes you.]
Don't be too proud
Okay, after a day full of food, drink, sun, bugs and sprays, you might not feel quite like yourself once the sun sets on Cinco de Mayo. But, rather than try to ignore the pain, allow yourself to enjoy a little relief while you wind down the weekend. Over-the-counter pain relief like ibuprofen and aspirin (along with a lot more water consumption) should help take the edge off the previous day's celebration. And they're FSA-eligible with a prescription, so use our Prescription Process to make it even easier!
FSA Friday is a weekly roundup of the latest topics, tips and headlines to keep you updated on all things flex spending. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Last month, 98,247 entrants of all backgrounds, training regimens and fitness levels trekked through New York City with the common dream of completing the New York Marathon. Some finished with ease. Some never finished at all. But one thing is for certain -- all were feeling some serious aches and pains the following day.
But you don't have to compete in marathons or 10Ks to put stress on your feet, legs and joints. Sometimes, just walking around the office each day is enough to bring on nagging pains from head to toe.
Just because your finish line is in your office and not Times Square doesn't mean you shouldn't treat your injuries with anything less than top-notch care. For true treatment and care pain-relief, there is a world of options at your disposal -- and many of them are FSA-eligible!
As the third component of the vaunted "RICE" -- Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation -- method of recovery, compression has long been considered a vital treatment.
We've covered compression treatment extensively on these pages, and with good reason. From fitness enthusiasts to those suffering from leg disorders, compression garments serve a wide range of needs, helping countless people recover from exercise, disorders and more.
What's unique about compression garments, like socks, is that they are beneficial for bodies that see excessive activity, such as marathon runners, as well as those that suffer from long periods of inactivity, such as pilots, drivers, and the like.
Please note -- compression garments are eligible for reimbursement with an FSA, HSA or HRA (as long as they meet specific guidelines). This means the standard, exercise-grade compression sleeves are likely not eligible. However, there is a chance they may be eligible for reimbursement with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from a physician if used to treat a medical condition.
We don't think athletic tape gets enough credit. But just ask professional athletes where their careers would be if a roll of fabric athletic tape hadn't been available to add support and pressure on injured muscles and joints.
Still, athletic tape isn't exactly a product category with innovation, so when one comes along, we acknowledge it. More advanced support tape, such as KT Tape, is made from a highly engineered synthetic material, and might just be what you need for extra relief.
Built with flexibility in mind, these tapes allow athletes to provide more targeted support for specific pains through an elastic, waterproof design that even stays on tricky parts of your body, so you don't need to reapply often.
While traditional athletic tape is good for securing injured areas, KT Tape also lifts the upper skin layers to create a gap between the skin and muscle, which alleviates pressure on sore muscles and allows for greater movement.
Old-fashioned ice… in an all-new package
Sometimes, innovation is as simple as taking a classic idea and making it better. Despite years of research devoted to better forms of pain relief, how many ways have proven to be better than icing down an injury? Not many…
That's not to say companies haven't found a way to improve on an approach that works. Take for example, a more-advanced cold delivery pain relief system, which adheres directly to your joints, applying concentrated cold specifically to a target area, without the need for endless layers of tape, gauze, or fabric bandages. These items are FSA-eligible, and give you a more-efficient form of pain relief.
In the end, you may not be training to complete a marathon, but that doesn't mean your body isn't suffering with athlete-level aches and pains each day. Don't just rely on a few ibuprofen (also FSA-eligible with a prescription) and extended time on the couch (unless a doctor says to do just that).
Instead, treat these discomforts just like a marathon runner would … but expect funny looks if you sprint into your living room like you're crossing a finish line.
If you ask most business travelers, they will tell you that they have a love/hate relationship with the practice. While it's certainly exciting to see and experience new places, the daily grind of flying and an ever-changing slate of hotel rooms can weigh on even the most savvy business traveler.
So if you had a way to improve your comfort level, avoid chronic pain issues and maintain your overall wellness during travel, you wouldn't turn it down, right? Luckily, if you have a flexible spending account (FSA), your benefit covers a huge range of eligible products that will do just that. Here's how to use FSA money to boost your overall health during your next business trip.
- Orthopedic Neck Pillow
If you experience chronic pain issues from sleeping in an upright position, you may experience additional pain throughout your business trip. An orthopedic neck pillow can contour to the neck and shoulders, and can be used in conjunction with traditional pillows to provide a comfortable sleep position that alleviates pain.
Check Out: IMAK HappiNeck Orthopedic Neck Support
- Acupressure Mat
Tackling pain on the road is tough, but instead of constantly resorting to over-the-counter pain relievers, acupressure mats may be the perfect solution. Acupressure mats target specific pressure points in the user's back, neck and shoulders to alleviate pain in various parts of the body. These mats are used to treat back/neck/shoulder pain, fibromyalgia pain and even migraines. Best of all, they are compact and can be stored in a suitcase with ease.
- Pain Relief Eye Mask
In addition to helping to block out light to help you sleep, pain relief eye masks are great options for business travelers who experience migraines, sinus pain or wake up with puffy eyes. After a short time in the refrigerator, these masks can provide cooling relief to fight pain and inflammation so you can wake up feeling your best.
Check Out: IMAK Eye Mask, Pain Relief
- Sun Protection with Daily Moisturizer
Is your face feeling as refreshed as it could be before a major business excursion? Daily moisturizers are usually not FSA-eligible, but those that offer broad spectrum protection and an SPF of 15+ are eligible for reimbursement with an FSA as long as their primary purpose is sun protection. These products can help refresh the look of your skin and safeguard your skin from the harsh effects of UVA and UVB rays.
- Eyeglass Repair Kit
If you wear glasses, you know the nightmare of having your eyewear break while on the road. Luckily, a surprising number of eyeglass accessories are FSA eligible, from eyeglass repair kits to cleaning wipes to cleaning sprays. Prepare ahead of time for these emergencies to give you confidence on your business trip!
Check Out: Flents Eyeglass Repair Kit
We've all had to contend with a headache from time to time, but if you've suffered from a migraine, you know just how painful and debilitating they can be.
Let your FSA help with migraines
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can provide relief,but migraine sufferers often must wait out the pain. Rest and relaxation are important to overcome migraine symptoms. If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), your plan covers a wide range of products to help you deal with migraine pain.
Here are a few ways totreat migraines:
Migraines can cause a great degree of sensitivity to light and sound. Many migraine sufferers will retreat to a dark bedroom to sleep off the worst of their symptoms. You can use a therapeutic sleep mask (warm or cold) to provide hot/cold therapy, as well as block out external light that aggravates symptoms.
Check Out: TheraPearl Hot or Cold Therapy Eye Mask
Migraines can cause significant neck and shoulder tension. While some people are more comfortable lying down and sleeping, others may prefer a seated position. A moist heat pack in the shape of a neck rest can relieve tension and bring relaxation to help migraine sufferers overcome the various stages of their headaches.
Cooling Gel Sheets
Cooling gel sheets could provide relief from migraine pain around your temples, forehead and eyes. The gel sheets are non-medicated and provide cooling relief wherever they are placed to relieve underlying tension and reducing pain.
Check Out: Be Koool Soft Gel Sheets, Adults, 4 ea
One of the best methods to treat a migraine "aura" (first stage of the headache associated with blurred vision, or temple/forehead/eye pain) is gentle cold therapy on the forehead. A headache band provides cold therapy evenly to the forehead and is a perfect complement to over-the-counter medications. You'll need a prescription for any OTC medications to get reimbursed with an FSA.
Check Out: Thera-Med Headache Band
Pain Relievers for Migraines
OTC pain relievers for migraines differ from regular pain relievers. Migraine pain relievers usually combine multiple analgesics (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.) with caffeine. Did you know caffeine can reduce inflammation associated with headaches?
Check Out: Excedrin Migraine Pain Reliever, 24 capsules (requires a prescription for FSA reimbursement)*
To keep you and loved ones healthy, shop at FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products!
What day can possibly compare with the Fourth of July? It's an entire holiday that centers around enjoying the great outdoors, fireworks, grilling and spending time with those you care about. But as you prep your menu, send out invites and check the weather forecast, the safety of you and your family should also be at the top of your to-do list!
Your flexible spending account (FSA) covers a surprising range of products that will fit right into your Fourth of July planning and can create a safer environment to celebrate in. Here are a few FSA-eligible must-haves for your gathering!
- First Aid Kit
Are you prepared for anything in the event of a medical emergency? Every home should have a fully-stocked first aid kit to administer care in the event of an injury, and with a large group of people to look after, this becomes even more of a necessity. First aid kits are stocked with bandages, wound dressings and more to help you stabilize an emergency situation until medical care arrives.
- Sunscreen with Insect Repellent
Sunscreen is an FSA-eligible expense, but according to current IRS regulations, bug spray is not. Luckily, we here at FSAstore.com stock Bull Frog sunscreen, a qualified product that contains broad spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays that cause sunburn and a DEET-free insect repellent to keep mosquitoes at bay all weekend.
Check Out: Bull Frog Sunscreen, Lip Balms and Sprays
- Topical Anesthetics
A bee sting or insect bite can put a major damper on your holiday. Topical anesthetics are a great option to have around during your summer gatherings that can quickly ease the pain and itching that arises from bites and stings.
- Sunburn Pain Relief
Try as you might to prevent them, sunburns can happen to the most dedicated sun protection experts, and the itching and burning that will follow can be a nuisance for days. Whenever your sun care regimen slips, make sure you have a topical post-sunburn treatment you can apply to keep the discomfort at bay.
Check Out: Solarcaine Aloe Extra Burn Relief Gel, 8 oz
- Cold Packs
Last but not least, if you or family member suffers an injury over the course of your Fourth of July festivities, cold packs are always helpful to have around. Applying cold therapy to a sprain, insect bite or bruise can help relieve pain and combat swelling to speed the healing process.
Check Out: ACE Hot and Cold Compress, Reusable, 1 ea
For everything you need to keep your family healthy this summer, you can rely on FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA-eligible products to help you maximize the tax savings potential of your employee benefits!
Mother's Day arrives on May 14, 2017, and this holiday also kicks of National Women's Health Week, a national initiative that serves as a time to encourage women to take steps to improve their health and make wellness a priority.
If you're a working mom who's enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), you'd be surprised by just how many FSA-eligible products can help improve your overall well-being. Whether it's products to tackle chronic pain issues or to help you manage being a mom, it's your holiday - it's time to treat yourself!
Here are a few great FSA-eligible items that moms should consider this Mother's Day.
- Pain Relief Eye Mask
Do you have an issue with puffy eyes or inflammation? Or do you suffer from migraines and have extensive eye pain that accompanies headaches? Therapeutic eye masks can administer both heat and cold therapy, and are a great option for moms looking for a natural means of pain relief.
Check Out: TheraPearl Hot or Cold Therapy Eye Mask
- Acupressure Wrist Bands
Do you suffer from motion sickness during travel or experience nausea when a migraine hits? You may be the perfect candidate for acupressure wrist bands! These drug-free bands provide light pressure to key acupoints in the wrist to alleviate nausea caused by travel, headaches, morning sickness/pregnancy, anesthesia and chemotherapy. Best of all, they're waterproof, adjustable for a customized fit, and reusable.
- Mineral Sunscreen
How prepared are you for summer? If you'll be spending time at the beach this summer, be sure to pack the sunscreen! These products are eligible as long as they offer broad-spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays, and offer a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or above. Mineral sunscreen is not absorbed into the skin, does not degrade over time because of UVA/UVB rays, and is effective immediately after application.
- Lip Balm with SPF 15+
In addition to sunscreen, make sure your lips are protected all summer long as well! Lip balm is only FSA-eligible with an SPF 15 or above, so use your FSA funds to refresh the look of your lips and keep them protected from sun damage.
- First Aid Kit
There's a long summer ahead of day trips, vacations and outdoor excursions, so make sure you and your loved ones are protected with medical supplies to handle any situation. First aid kits are a smart buy for your home, car or boat and can help you respond confidently in an emergency situation.
Are compression garments for exercise FSA-eligible?
Compression garments are eligible for reimbursement with an FSA, HSA or HRA with a compression level of 30-40+ mm Hg. Compression sleeves for exercise typically do not reach this compression level and usually are not eligible. However, there is a chance they may be eligible for reimbursement with a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) from a physician if used to treat a medical condition.
How compression therapy works
Compression therapy can be used to treat major venous disorders, including leg ulcers/skin changes, leg swelling and leg pain, varicose veins and spider veins. Some physicians may prescribe compression socks and stockings to combat these specific disorders.
Compression hosiery works for individuals who experience long periods of inactivity, and those who are constantly on their feet. Airline pilots wear compression stockings to increase blood flow, energize, and invigorate their legs.
Is compression therapy useful for fitness?
Outside direct medical use, compression sleeves and socks have become increasingly popular with active individuals. Compression stockings can limit discomfort during exercise or speed recovery times after physical activity. A number of studies have been commissioned to study the efficacy of compression garment use.
One such study was a 2010 study conducted by Indiana University called "Lower Leg Compression Sleeves: Influence on Running Mechanics in Highly Trained Distance Runners." In the study, the researchers found no tangible impact on a runner's efficiency or mechanics. Runners reported mixed results ranging from shorter recovery times from heavy exercise, to increased support to decreased muscle movement.
Shop for additional FSA-eligible products at FSAstore.com
How caffeine affects pain relievers
We get our caffeine intake from a variety of sources, including coffee, soda, tea or chocolate. But, when this popular stimulant is paired with traditional over-the-counter pain relievers, it has a tangible effect on their efficacy.
Studies on pain relief
The Cochrane Library conducted a group study of 19 different pain reliever studies with more than 7,200 participants. These studies analyzed medications including acetaminophen and ibuprofen. They compared equal dosages of medications by themselves vs. the same dose of medication with added caffeine. Researchers found between 5-10 percent of participants rated their pain relief as "good" or "excellent" when caffeine was included. Non-caffeine group experienced "moderate to good" pain relief.
Numerous studies show that pain relievers with caffeine can be more effective than their counterparts. But, researchers struggle to explain why this is the case. Some researchers believe that caffeine assists drugs like acetaminophen and ibuprofen in entering the bloodstream more quickly. Some researchers believe that the stimulant has a mood-boosting effect that could increase the efficacy of pain relievers.
How much is too much?
Excessive caffeine use can lead to stomach issues, acid reflux and other problems. It's vital that you keep your caffeine intake to a minimum. Physicians advise that 300 milligrams per day is safe, which equates to about three 8-oz. cups of coffee. Headache sufferers should pay particular attention to these levels in their pain medications to avoid excess.
Be sure to check out FSAstore.com for pain relief products!
You never realize how much you use a part of your body until you injure it, and that becomes painfully obvious with an ankle sprain. Learn how to treat one.
There's no magic bullet to alleviate the pain and discomfort of a sprained ankle. But, you'll need rest and relaxation, but there are a variety of athletic treatments and rehabilitative products available that can speed recovery times - and they're FSA eligible!
Here are options to keep in mind for an ankle sprain:
Both cold and hot therapy are extremely helpful in treating acute pain issues, as cold therapy can alleviate pain and reduce inflammation, while heat therapy can open up blood vessels to ferry more oxygenated blood to affected areas to promote healing. This is a tactic called "contrast therapy," when hot and cold packs are used in tandem with one another. Whether it's a sprained ankle or other injury, hot and cold packs are great to have around the house.
Check Out: TheraPearl Ankle and Wrist Wrap
Elastic Bandages for ankle sprains
When you feel it's time to brave walking again after an ankle sprain, even a slight awkward movement can set your recovery back in a hurry. Give your ankle additional reinforcement in the latter stages of your recovery with an elastic bandage. This can be wrapped around the ankle joint to prevent additional strain injuries. These bandages have innumerable uses in the event of an injury, and they are great to have around the house for emergency situations.
Check Out: ACE 4" Self-Adhering Elastic Bandage
After your ankle has healed, you may be worried about re-injuring it in the future, so it's best to prepare before physical activity if you are susceptible to these types of strain injuries. Kinesiology tape is a great option for sore joints and muscles, and they can provide an additional means of stability on a troublesome area whether you're trying to prevent injury or recover from one.
If you're contending with the pain and discomfort of a sprained ankle, an over-the-counter pain reliever can help immensely. However, in the event of physical injuries, opt for NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen or aspirin, that contain ingredients that will have an anti-inflammatory effect that can curb swelling as well as alleviating pain.
Check Out: Advil Advanced Medicine for Pain, 200mg, Tablets, 200 ea (Please note that Advil will require a prescription for FSA reimbursement)
For all of your health needs big and small, you can rely on FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA/HSA eligible products!
Back to school time is here. Learn about a few athletic treatments and therapeutic products to keep in mind as the school year gets underway.
It's hard to believe, but back-to-school season is in full swing, and if you're the parent of a student athlete, there's a good chance your son or daughter is participating in late summer practices to ready up for the coming fall sports season. Soreness, muscle strains and injuries can happen at any time. But there are a variety of athletic treatments that can help ease any soreness and provide additional drug-free pain relief. If you are enrolled in a flexible spending account (FSA), you can help keep your kids off the sidelines and in the action all season long.
Here are a few athletic treatments and therapeutic products to keep in mind as the school year gets underway!
Cold therapy is the most common treatment for acute sports injuries, as a standard cold pack can dramatically reduce pain, swelling and inflammation in injured muscles and joints. Use it for bruises, sprains and muscle pulls before and after physical activity to speed recovery times from injuries.
Check Out: Battle Creek
Heat therapy is especially helpful when treating sore muscles and joints and a great drug-free athletic treatment. Localized heat can open blood vessels and deliver oxygenated blood and nutrients to the affected area to reduce recovery times. Combining both cold and hot packs during rehabilitation may also be effective for some injuries.
Check Out: Cara Moist/Dry Heating Pad with Select Heat
If you're looking for a therapeutic product that can do double duty, sectionals that can be cooled in the fridge or heated in the microwave for larger areas like the lower back are a great option for student athletes looking to recover quickly from heavy activity.
Check Out: Thermal-Aid Small Sectional
Kinesiology Tape, also commonly referred to as K-Tape, is used to provide additional support to sore muscles and joints through strengthening taping methods. This synthetic tape can stand up to sweat, moisture and extreme temperatures to provide another layer of protection during heavy physical activity.
If your son or daughter has continual issues with knee sprains and associated injuries, he/she may benefit from the use of knee supports during physical activity. These sleeves are worn over the joint and provide additional support for the knee, but still providing a full range of movement. Wrist, elbow and other joint supports are also FSA eligible!
Check Out: TheraPearl Knee Wrap
Sports like football or wrestling typically have a weightlifting regimen that goes along with the conditioning process before the season begins. Lifters should aim to give their lower backs additional support when lifting to provide additional support and protection against injuries.
Check Out: Back-A-Line Back Support with Lumbar Pad
Plantar Fasciitis Support
Individuals with flat feet or wearing shoes with poor support are more likely to develop plantar fasciitis, the most common form of heel pain that can be extremely painful. Sleep supports are worn during the night to keep the foot and heel in the proper therapeutic position all night long to speed recovery times.
For everything you need to keep you and your loved ones healthy, visit FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible items to help you maximize the potential of your healthcare benefits!
Whether you're just getting started or are curious about exploring new fitness routines, your FSA can certainly play a role in keeping you on track.
During the winter, sometimes the last thing we want to do is go outside when it's cold or dark - especially if it involves exercising. But, sticking to your fitness is important year-round and exercise has many health benefits. Whether you're just getting started or are curious about exploring new fitness routines, your FSA can certainly play a role in keeping you on track.
Here are a few tips to help you stick to your fitness goals:
Be realistic. Setting goals is great and so is getting out there and doing what you enjoy when it comes to fitness, but you don't want to overdo it by working out too much or exerting too much strain on your body at once. If you do get muscle soreness, a great way to get some relief is through hot or cold therapy. Cold packs can reducing inflammation and pain associated with heavy exercise, and they're FSA-eligible!
Check out: TheraPearl
Tell friends or family. Having a level of accountability (telling your loved ones about your fitness routine and goals) will keep you motivated, and tracking exercise through an app can also be a great way to view your progress. If you'd like, you can even monitor your blood pressure with a handy bluetooth wireless monitor.
Sign up for a race or event. If you're looking for some extra motivation, signing up for a fitness event can be a good way to train and push yourself. Check out events listed online and in your community, or ask at the local gym. Add the event to your calendar and set up weekly goals and times to train for it.
Get support. If you're dealing with muscle soreness or needed additional support, your FSA can help with various items. Kinesiology tape or K-Tape,can add that support, and so can knee or ankle braces. Again, stay realistic and don't overlook pain or muscle soreness. Take breaks and give your body a chance to rest and heal properly.
Check out: KT-Tape
Treat (chronic)pain symptoms.TENS therapy relies on an electric current that treat muscle and joint pain in a drug-free way. TENS therapy stimulates the nerves in an affected area, and can treat regular muscle soreness but also chronic pain.
Check out: Icy Hot TENS Therapy
What are the most OTC pain relievers and what do they treat? And, can I still buy these with my Flexible Spending Account? Read more on the blog about that.
Remember that there are still thousands of OTC items sold at FSAstore.com that do not require a prescription to be eligible.
Here are more details aboutOTCpainrelievers and what they treat:
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
This classification typically refers to drugs that manage mild to moderate pain involving the musculoskeletal system. In addition to pain relief, these drugs have anti-inflammatory and fever-reducing properties, which makes them ideal for alleviating pain relating to joint and muscle issues, headaches, arthritis symptoms, and everyday aches and pains. The most common over-the-counter (OTC) drugs include aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen and naproxen, while more advanced NSAIDs can also be found in prescription form.
For more advanced pain symptoms that NSAIDs may not be able to alleviate, doctors may prescribe opioids for issues that may not respond well to OTC medications. Opioids bind to receptors in the brain, spinal cord and other areas of the body to reduce pain by blocking pain signals on their way to the brain. Opioids come in a variety of strengths and prescription levels, but the most common forms include codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, acetaminophen, methadone and more.
Pain relievers are also frequently used in tandem to create synergistic effects to combat multiple sites of pain, treat non-pain symptoms, inflammation and even allergic symptoms. Typically, NSAIDs are combined with weaker opioids to attack multiple pain points, or matched with additional drugs to treat multiple symptoms. For instance, antihistamines are typically combined with NSAIDs to reduce allergic symptoms, while providing pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you need pain relievers or anything else to support you and your loved ones' good health, be sure to visit FSAstore.com! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to help you make the most of your healthcare benefits!
Dealing with workout soreness? Learn about the ways an FSA can relieve the pain, so you can get back into your fitness routine again.
While rest and relaxation is the most reliable means of alleviating workout soreness, we here at FSAstore.com know a few tips and tricks to help you bounce back from workout soreness with an FSA and stick to your fitness goals.
Getting into the swing of your new workout plan is a significant mountain to climb. Adjusting your schedule to get into the gym, developing a routine and sticking to it is hard enough when discomfort of muscle soreness rears its ugly head.
Soreness is the natural byproduct of heavy exercise, which results in stiffness, weakness and pain to the touch in overworked muscles.
Here are a few ways to get started:
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, also known as TENS therapy, utilizes low-voltage electrical current to treat muscle and joint discomfort. TENS therapy works by stimulating the nerves in an affected area and effectively "scrambling" normal pain signals to reduce pain. These machines are FSA eligible and can treat everything from muscle soreness to chronic pain issues.
Check out:Icy Hot TENS Therapy
Cold packs are one of the most reliable methods of reducing inflammation and pain associated with heavy exercise, and best of all, they can be purchased with tax-free income from an FSA, HSA, or HRA! Be sure to wrap the cold pack in a towel to avoid discomfort against your skin, and rotate it on and off the affected area in 10-20 minute intervals.
Check out: TheraPearl
Pre- and post-workout stretching
We all know that jumping headlong into a workout without properly stretching can expose you to significant injury, but it's the post-workout stretch that can make a huge difference in eliminating lingering soreness after a workout. This can eliminate some of the tightness that is associated with heavy exercise, as well as increasing your range of motion, promoting blood circulation and reducing cramping.
Kinesiology tape is a flexible elastic tape with a variety of therapeutic benefits that can help you bounce back from muscle soreness and other related injuries. Also referred to as K-Tape, the tape will provide a passive lift to the skin to allow lymphatic and venous systems to drain from inflamed areas. Additionally, K-Tape can inhibit movement in specific areas to prevent further injury, as well as providing muscular support to improve recovery times.
Check out: KT-Tape
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