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Back pain is a condition almost everyone will have to deal with eventually.
It’s one of the most common reasons why people have to stay home from work, with half of all Americans having back pain symptoms every year and 80 percent at some point in their life.
Can a back massage offer pain relief?
A quality back massage can definitely help to loosen sore and stiff muscles.
When muscle tension is reduced blood flow to the area is increased which improves flexibility, so muscles aren’t as tight and painful.
If you’ve been suffering from back pain it’s time to do something about it.
Here’s our guide to the best home back massagers to help you relieve back pain easily and quickly, without having to book a massage or see a physical therapist.
Best Back Massager Reviews & Recommendations For 2019
Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager
This back massager is excellent for relieving tension in tight muscles because it has deep-kneading shiatsu massage nodes.
These change direction every minute on their own, so you can relax and feel like you’re getting a massage at a luxury spa.
This massager has adjustable straps that make it easy and versatile to use. You can even use these straps to attach the massager to a chair.
It has a car adapter so you can use it on the go.
Although the car adapter feature is generally standard in back massagers, as can be seen in the above table, the adjustable straps mean you can attach the Zyllion massager to your car seat.
It’s ergonomically designed to fit behind your neck, but it can also be used to massage other areas of your body, such as your back and thighs, because it is so compact.
You have to plug in this shiatsu massager for it to work. It can’t work on batteries, which is a drawback if you were hoping to use away from a plug.
This back massager costs just under $45. With its automatic massage nodes and compact design, it’s no wonder that it’s the top rated back massager.
This massager is a good purchase if you regularly want to reap massage benefits.
Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager
While this is marketed as a neck and back massager, you can safely and easily use it on other areas of your body. This versatility is a big plus.
This shiatsu massager has eight deep-kneading nodes that can help to relieve tension in tired, sore muscles.
It’s got an ergonomic U-design that makes it easy to use on your neck, but it can also be used on other muscles without a fuss.
It’s got a smart heat function that transfers warmth to your muscles, and it shuts down automatically after 20 minutes for your safety.
It’s got a removable dust-proof bag that’s easy to clean.
This massage unit has to be plugged into a power source, so it can’t be used cordless.
This Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager costs under $50, so it’s a budget-friendly option for a back massage machine that doesn’t skimp on all the important features you need to relieve pain in various areas of your body.
InvoSpa Shiatsu Back Shoulder & Neck Massager with Heat
Sometimes you want a massager that can be used in many different ways and intensities and actually feels like a person is giving you a massage.
That’s where the InvoSpa massager comes in as the best personal back massager.
This InvoSpa massaging system has eight massager roller balls.
A benefit is that there are four large and four small nodes that can be adjusted depending on how much you want to knead your muscles. This makes it one of the most flexible upper back massagers.
You can adjust the speed setting to three speed strength levels.
The massager makes use of infrared heat so that you can include heat treatments and with your massage.
It’s perfect to relieve muscle strains and tension, while boosting blood flow to help your muscles heal.
It has a bi-directional movement that makes you feel like you are getting a real neck or back massage.
This massager has two massage directions, but it auto-reverses every minute, which might be disappointing if you were hoping to control the message direction completely.
This InvoSpa massager costs just under $50 and can be used wherever you feel muscular strain.
Although it has to be plugged into a power source, it does come with a car charger. It also has a durable carry bag that makes it portable.
SNAILAX Vibration Massage Seat Cushion
This massager is great as a seat cushion and can help relieve your pain while you relax at the end of a hard day.
This product makes your massaging seat cushion fun to use. Let’s check out its specs in detail.
This cushion massager has six vibrating massage motors that are specifically beneficial for your back and thighs.
You can work on four different zones – your thighs, lower back, mid back, and upper back – simultaneously or target just one area.
You also can choose from four vibration intensities.
It has a heating pad that gently warms up your muscles.
It has a remote control from which you can choose different settings.
The massage seat has an auto shut-off timer for your safety safety feature to prevent overheating.
The cushion massager has adjustable straps that can be placed on a chair or car seat. It’s also equipped with a non-slip rubber bottom so it’ll remain in one place.
This product is only a vibrating massager – it doesn’t offer shiatsu or other massage benefits as other massagers in this guide do.
If you’re looking for extra massage functions, then this product is not right for you.
It costs under $45, so it is cheaper than other back massagers in our review.
If you’re fine with having a vibrating massager without extra massage perk but with a remote control feature, this may can be your choice.
TYMO Back Massager
This is a versatile, hand-held massager that can be used on the go and for various parts of your body.
The TYMO Back Massager has five nodes so that you can choose your massage experience focusing on different muscle groups, such as the muscles in the neck, back, and even your hands.
It’s perfect for people who use their hands a lot or perform repetitive motions, such as those who work on the computer all day.
It comes with rechargeable batteries that give you two hours of massage time.
It has five adjustable intensities, so you can choose if you want a gentle massage or something more powerful.
The benefit of this is that you can use it for relaxation or as a massager for tired, sore muscles.
The TYMO Back Massager has a warm function that delivers heat to your muscles at the touch of a button.
This is important for treating sore muscles because it boosts blood circulation.
The buttons on the device aren’t backlit, which can be a nuisance at night or if you’re in a dim environment.
The TYMO massager costs under $60, but it’s worth the money because of its versatility and because you can use it on the go without a fuss.
Back Massager FAQ
Are back massagers good for you?
Back massagers allow you to give yourself a massage and relieve muscle tension.
They can be very relaxing, such as after a gym session or when you’ve been on your feet all day.
Back massagers have become popular because they are so practical. Whenever you need a massage, you can use a back massager in the comfort of your own home.
You don’t have to worry about booking a massage or asking someone else to massage you – you have the best home massager right in your hands.
Simply plug in the electric back massager and you can give yourself a quality massage that will you relax and target areas on your body that need some extra care.
With some products, you don’t even have to plug them in – for example the TYMO massager is completely portable and runs on batteries.
Many back massagers are good for you because they can give you either a deep or a light massage, depending on your specific needs.
This can have many health benefits to include boosting your circulation, loosening stiff muscles, and helping you relax.
In addition, if you’re using a massager instead of reaching for a bottle of pain pills, that can be much better for your health!
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine took a closer look at what would happen when 400 adults with moderate to severe lower back pain were given different types of care.
Some people in this group were given massages and others were given other types of treatment, such as muscle relaxants or painkillers.
After monitoring the participants for 10 weeks, the patients treated with massage experienced a greater improvement in their pain compared to the ones treated with medication.
Research has also found that massage therapy has many health benefits, such as improving your sleep quality, reducing anxiety and depression, and relieving tension headaches, as reported by Reader’s Digest Best Health.
Give yourself some TLC with a lower back massage machine and reap all these benefits.
How long should you use a massager for?
When you use a massager and feel the effects of its vibration and heat, it’s tempting to want to use it all day long. However, it’s important not to overdo it.
If you use a massage chair or device too much, this can lead to adverse effects such as muscle damage and even bruised tissues.
That’s why moderation is key. Stick to sessions that aren’t longer than 10 minutes.
That might sound too short, but it makes sense when you consider that a traditional body massage will take an average of 20 minutes, but an electric massager can give you all the benefits you need in 10 minutes, as Expert Massager reports.
Make sure that you use the massager only when you need it, such as when your back is sore or you’ve overdone it at the gym and need the extra TLC.
By being able to target the massager to the area of your body that needs the vibration and heat, this enables you to focus on what needs to be massaged so you get the most benefit from it in a short amount of time.
And it should go without saying: always read the device’s manual before you plug it in and use it to learn how to use it safely as there might be other safety precautions that you need to consider.
How often should you use a massager?
The question of how often you should use a massager depends on what you’re using it for.
If you have persistent or chronic pain, such as in your neck, back, or shoulders, you can use your massaging device three or four times per week. Avoid using it more frequently as you can actually do damage to your body.
Overuse can also minimize the benefits from the massager device and could lead to side effects.
Overall you want to be consistent in using your massager if you have chronic pain. If you want to use the massager daily, stick to using it for no longer than 10 minutes.
If you don’t have much pain, or you just want to use the massager to relax, then you can use it a few times a week or less.
It’s important to read the manual that comes with the back massager in case there are specific rules, as each product can be different.
The important thing is to use the massager to help you relax and feel better and if you ever experience pain or discomfort stop use right away.
Is there any side effects from back massagers?
As with any therapy, there are some side effects that can occur from using a back massager. Here are a few common ones.
- Since a back massager aims to loosen sore and stiff muscles, it can help you to feel more relaxed. But if you use it too much that can backfire. If you have to concentrate it can make it difficult to stay focused. So if you have to perform tasks that require concentration it may be better to wait until you are done.
- Increased pain. You might find that after having a massage, your back and neck pain is worse at first. This is not unusual as it may take some time for the benefits of pain relief to show up. Keep track of how long the pain lasts and if it sticks around for longer than a few days, give your massaging device a break and visit your doctor to get checked out.
- Potential risk of strokes. Although it’s scary to imagine that a massaging device can lead to a stroke, this risk is linked to using the product incorrectly. You should never use a massaging device on the front of your neck as it can cause internal carotid artery dissection or blockages. When the carotid artery is irritated, this can lead to a stroke.
It’s important to know what’s causing your persistent pain before you use a massaging device.
While you might think that applying vibration or kneading to your back or neck that’s constantly sore is a good thing, for some conditions this can have the opposite effect.
For example, if your pain is as a result of a broken bone or blood clot, these could actually become worse if you massage the areas in which they’re located.
So, if you think your pain could be coming from a serious injury or condition, get it checked out by your doctor before proceeding with the use of a massaging device.
Investing in a back massager can be very beneficial to you, especially if you have chronic pain that you want to target.
These devices can also help you relax your muscles when they feel sore and tired.
The big question is: which massager should you choose?
As seen in this buying guide, there are many quality back massage devices available on the market.
Before purchasing one, it’s important to consider what you want to accomplish. Do you want the relaxation of a luxury spa or do you want to target pain in specific parts of your body.
It’s also good to consider the extra features that can be found in these machines.
For example, do you want a portable and light model so you can travel or one that can provide different intensity modes for different parts of your body.
There are also extra features that add to their versatility, such as a remote control to use the massaging device with greater ease and comfort.
The best way to decide on what massager to purchase is to focus on what you really need in a back massager.
By doing this, you can find one that will ease sore and stiff muscles with the click of a button.
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