Have a bruise? Learn how to treat bruises with your FSA and discover how hot/cold therapy can help with injuries.
Preventing bruises with an FSA
Whether you've accidentally bumped into the kitchen table or got hit in a sensitive spot while playing a sport, we all occasionally get bruises. Bruises result from damaged blood cells connecting near the surface of the skin, leaving the black and blue mark that we often see.
Bruises are most commonly caused in athletes and weight lifters that exercise vigorously and tear blood vessels. Unexplained bruises can appear due to bleeding disorders, or more commonly, bumps into objects that you might not recall. Bruises also occur more often as you age because the skin becomes thinner over time.
While bruises can be painful if touched, the skin is not broken so there is no risk of infection. You should still try to treat the bruise right after the injury though, while the bruise is still reddish.
If the bruise is on your leg or foot, keep your leg elevated as much as you can during the first 24 hours after injury. A cold compress such as an ice pack is effective for reducing swelling and speeding up the healing.
You can purchase an ice pack through FSAstore.com with funds from your Flexible Spending Account. After about 48 hours, you should heat the bruise with a warm compress for 10 minutes or so two to three times a day. This increases blood flow to the bruised area so that the skin can reabsorb the blood more quickly.
H0t/Cold Therapy: Treating Bruises with your FSA
FSAstore.com has a wide array of hot and cold packs, some products can be used for both treatments.
Check out TheraPearl for the treatment of different types of pain for kids and adults!
If you need to take medication for pain relief, make sure to avoid Aspirin or Ibuprofen as they are both NSAIDs. This means they slow the blood from clotting, potentially prolonging the bleeding. The best option would be to take Acetaminophens, which are FSA eligible by prescription.
To prevent bruises in the future, make sure to wear protective gear (like shin guards) while playing contact sports. Keep furniture and obstructive objects like electrical cords away from common walking paths in your home. Tidying and mopping up regularly around the house is another way to prevent accidental bruises from happening.
Eye Care: Treating Bruises with your FSA
If you get a bruise on your eye, as long as you can move your eye in all direction and have no alterations to your vision, it should not be a serious injury. If the bruise occurs just above your eye, you can expect it to travel to below your eye, causing a black eye.
Get an TheraPearl Eye Mask with your Flexible Spending Account to soothe pain in the eye area.
Pain in your muscles and joints can be treated using hot and cold therapies. It’s a popular treatment option because it’s simple. Learn about it in the post
A lot of pain in your muscles and joints can be treated using hot and cold therapies. It's a popular treatment option because it's relatively simple, non-invasive, and non-addictive.
It's important to know the difference between the two so you know which is more appropriate to use for each situation. Luckily many products nowadays have a dual purpose and can be used for both heat and cold therapy.
In general, cold therapy is used first, for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury. Cold therapy is particularly good for treating sprains, strains, bumps, and bruises that may occur in sports or lifting. This is because of its role in slowing blood circulation to an area, reducing both pain, muscle spasm, and inflammation.
Cold is applied by an ice or gel pack to injured areas for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Every 10 minutes, the ice pack should be removed for 10 minutes before reapplying again.
Heat therapy, on the other hand, increases blood flow to the injured area. It should be applied if you have stiff joints or chronic muscle and joint pain. Increased blood flow supplies crucial oxygen and nutrients to reduce pain in joints and relax sore muscles, ligaments and tendons. Warmth also decreases muscle spasms and can increase range of motion.
Heat can be applied through both dry or moist methods, although the latter may penetrate better. Options include heating pad, hot water bottle, gel packs, or hot water baths all at a warm (not hot) and consistent temperature. Don't apply heat for longer than 20 minutes or use it on open wounds and stitches. Think about incorporating warming elements into your daily routine, such as warming your clothes in the dryer before dressing, or using an electric blanket and turning it up for a few minutes before getting out of bed.
FSA Store carries a wide range of hot and cold packs for you to choose from.
Hot and Cold Therapy with a Flexible Spending Account
Bunnies, and hippos and bears...oh my! Stuffed animals are covered by a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)?!
Yes, they could be, but these are not just any stuffed animals. The stuffed animals by Thermal-Aid aren't regular cute bears, elephants and hippos. They are 100% natural therapeutic hot/cold therapy products that can alleviate all types of pain - and that's why they're FSA eligible!
When kids are feeling achy or have a fever, the pain quickly becomes their main focus. But with Thermal-Aid Zoo Animals, soon they'll have lasting relief. When you think about treating a fever, of course medications and thermometers come to mind first. However, why not add a fun Thermal-Aid animal to the mix to soothe kids aches? Kids turn to their stuffed animal friends for comfort as is, so a hot/cold therapy animal from Thermal-Aid seems the perfect match.
Warm and cold therapy can effectively soothe different pains, reduce fevers and eliminate any discomfort, so kids can go back to being kids.
Using Thermal-Aid with an FSA
In addition to the variety of soothing stuffed animals, adults can also enjoy Thermal-Aid's 100% natural relief via the heating/cooling packs. Thermal-aid heating and cooling packs (available in different sizes) are designed to treat pain from sports injuries, headaches, and even athritis. Best of all, they can function as hot therapy items, or cold therapy relief. The packs are easily heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer. Thermal-Aid products are made from 100% natural cotton, and also use a specially engineered corn. Thermal-Aid packs are easily washable, so you can reuse them!
Learn more and shop forThermal-Aid.
Spring is in the air, and with the temperatures warming and the world turning a refreshing shade of green, you and your loved ones are undoubtedly eager to get out and enjoy your favorite outdoor activities. Whether you're an avid gardener, love camping and hiking or thinking about a fitness regimen, the spring season is the time of year when many people overexert themselves after a winter of inactivity, which can lead to muscle strains, pulls and other related injuries.
Luckily, if you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you can prepare beforehand for any injuries that may arise in the coming season with heat and cold therapy. Hot and cold packs are among the most basic rehabilitative methods available, but they can dramatically speed up your recovery times, alleviate pain and help you get back to enjoying your favorite springtime hobbies.
Best of all, these are FSA-eligible items and ready for purchase with your tax-free funds!Let's explore the benefits of heat and cold therapy and why they can be your biggest ally this spring.
Heat therapy is primarily used to alleviate pain and stiffness that comes with chronic injuries, rather than ones that have arisen due to a traumatic incident, reported Sports Injury Clinic. This form of therapy is primarily used to treat chronic pain, decrease the chances of muscle spasms and promote increased blood flow to the affected area.
Hot packs can be found in numerous designs, but you must first decide between dry and moist heat therapy. Electric heating pads are preferred by some and are the easiest to apply, while moist heat methods that utilize gel may offer a deeper penetration into the muscles. These products are heated in a microwave or placed in hot water, and after reaching their desired temperatures they can be wrapped in a towel and placed on the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time.
Ultimately, both methods come down to personal preference, but they are among the most reliable and inexpensive means of treating chronic injuries with comfort and relaxation.
As opposed to heat therapy that is meant to treat long-term injuries, cold packs are meant to treat injuries immediately after they occur. While cold therapy can be applied using a simple towel and ice cubes, cold packs are reusable and can be found in designs that are designed to wrap around an affected area. Considering these products are FSA eligible and can be stored easily in your freezer, picking up a few this spring is a no-brainer.
According to Patient.co.uk, cold packs are specifically designed to reduce bleeding in muscle tissues to reduce swelling and the duration of bruising. Additionally, cold packs can alleviate muscle pain and spasms, as well as slowly numb the area to cut down on inflammation.
Last but not least, many physical therapists ascribe to a method called contrast therapy, which alternates between the use of hot and cold packs to treat an injury. According to Human Kinetics, a cold-to-warm ratio of 1:3 or 1:4 minutes is ideal, and in many cases this method has sped recovery times for injured individuals. The best way to illustrate this is by looking at hot and cold packs as a pump: heat therapy will dilate blood vessels to increase blood flow of nutrient-rich blood, while cold therapy will constrict blood vessels and allow them to soak up as many nutrients as possible, thereby speeding the healing process.
Spring is already here, so be sure to visit FSAstore.com for all of your seasonal FSA-eligible products from hot and cold packs to bandages to sunscreen. Make sure you don't skip a beat this spring and take advantage of your FSA!
For runners, races are the perfect opportunity to test all the training they've endured. Maybe you've been working since early spring towards a 5K, 10K, or are aiming for marathons for next year. Maybe you enjoy jogging a few times a week, or running every once in a while in combination with other exercise. Fitness involves creating a routine, getting adequate nutrition, and giving yourself enough time to recover in between workouts to avoid injuries or strains.
According to WebMD, the most common running injuries include runner's knee, shin splints, ankle sprains and tendinitis. Running injuries tend to frequently occur when beginners are learning the ropes of warm-ups, stretching, and pacing. It's easy to be overly excited and outrun yourself hoping to speed up your time or distance, but proper pacing makes all the difference in keeping your exercise routing going. It's important to beware of your own limits and gradually build your fitness. Your body needs rest periods to recover and your nutrition should act as a means to refuel and repair muscles. Protein helps in the after-exercise recovery while carbs can energize pre-workout.
How a Flexible Spending Account fit into your workout:
- Get support for your body with FSA eligible elastics/athletic treatment products. This includes everything from elastic bandages to knee or ankle braces to wrist support.
- Injury tip: If you fear you've sprained an ankle, feel muscle strain, or hurt your knee, there are a few steps you can take. Most importantly, rest the affected body part to not add pressure. Apply ice to reduce inflammation and pain. Put on a brace or elastic bandage for additional support. Elevate whichever body part is affected to reduce swelling.
- Exercise apparel tip: Appropriate running shoes help with shock absorption and protect your feet.
- Keep muscles moving or minimize the effects of injuries by using FSA eligible hot and cold packs.
When do you use hot or cold packs?
- Use a heat pack for about 20 minutes to treat stiff joints or reduce muscle tension.
- Be sure to wrap the heat pack in a towel to protect your skin (do not apply it directly to your skin).
- Apply a cold pack for about 20 minutes to reduce swelling or when you experience acute pain.
- Similarly as with the heat pack, wrap a cold pack in a towel to avoid direct skin contact.
Below are a few examples of FSA eligible products for hot and cold therapy and foot care.