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Overcoming Your Pain with AFSPA

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Overcoming Your Pain with AFSPA

In honor of Pain Awareness Month, AFSPA is committed to supporting and educating members who are living with medical conditions that cause them pain. Imagine experiencing devastating effects, including poor functionality, quality of life, and mental health due to pain. Imagine not being able to participate in daily activities that should come as easy tasks. For nearly 100 million Americans, this is their reality.  

Pain is an uncomfortable or unpleasant feeling that occurs when something begins to hurt. There are two types of pain: acute pain and chronic pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), acute pain is a physiologic response to noxious stimuli that can become pathologic, normally has a sudden in onset, is time limited, and often caused by injury, trauma, or medical treatments such as surgery. In contrast, chronic pain is an underlying condition that affects daily work and life activities. Although acute pain and chronic pain are often interlinked, they are different. Here’s how:  

Acute Pain  

  • Doesn’t last longer than 1 month  
  • Often caused by injury, trauma, or medical treatments such as surgery  
  • Occurs suddenly  
  • Resolves when there isn’t an underlying cause for the pain 
  • Starts out sharp or intense and serves as a warning sign of disease or threat to the body  


Chronic Pain 

  • Lasts 3 months or longer  
  • Result of an underlying medical disease or condition, injury, medical treatment, inflammation, or unknown cause 
  • Can cause stress, which can produce physical conditions including lack of energy, changes in appetite, tense muscles, and more 
  • Can cause emotional effects including depression, anger, and anxiety  
  • If left untreated, it can cause short- and long-term disability  


It is important to know that if left untreated, acute pain can turn into chronic pain, which is the leading cause of disability worldwide.  

How AFSPA Can Help  

Although opioids are traditionally considered the most effective treatment for pain, there are other holistic options available, including chiropractic, acupuncture, and/or massage therapy. Not every treatment will work for everyone. Foreign Service Benefit Plan members are covered for 50 visits per service, per person, per calendar year (up to $60 per visit). It is highly recommended to find out which pain- management treatment works best for you.  

Hinge Health offers innovative digital programs for back, knee, hip, neck, and shoulder pain in easy-to-do 15-minute exercise therapy sessions. It is a free health benefit offered to FSBP members, that is designed to help conquer chronic pain from home. Hinge Health provides a tablet, wearable sensors, a physical therapist and board certified or accredited health coach, to decrease your pain through self-guided exercise therapy sessions. To apply or find out more information call (855) 902-2777, email, or visit Hinge Health online. 

Pain Management Program  

The Pain Management Program offers support for members with chronic pain who are either taking opioids or trying to avoid opioids. Members enrolled will receive coaching and support which includes assisting with identifying the availability of other treatment plans. These may include non-pharmacologic modalities for the treatment of pain such as, but not limited to, targeted digital exercise therapy, injection therapies, cognitive therapies, psychosocial supports, medical devices (e.g., nerve stimulators) and additional chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, or physical therapy visits. 

In addition, FSBP members have access to 125 total combined outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy visits per calendar year for all three listed therapies. FSBP will cover 90% of the plan allowance when seen by an in-network provider or any provider abroad. 

Care Management Programs provide education, clinical support, and access to digital support and well-being tools to help FSBP members better manage their health. Part of the program is designed to help cope with chronic pain. If you have questions, call 1-800-593-2354 from Monday-Friday from 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST). 

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