9 Best Back Massagers for Lower Back Pain
Low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in the U.S. Ease some of that pain and feel a sense of relief with one of these best back massagers.
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Are back massagers good for back pain?
No back pain is the best kind of back pain, but low back pain can be debilitating. And it’s an issue that many individuals face. According to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, low back pain is the second most common cause of disability in U.S. adults—and a common reason for lost workdays. Luckily, easing tension and pain in your lumbar spine can be possible with back massagers. (Also, here are some surprising massage health benefits.)
“For the most part, massagers are very safe and banal,” says Brian A. Cole, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Englewood Spine Associates in Englewood, New Jersey. “A massager is a great tool that can be used to treat a back condition and/or injury. I have never met anyone with a bad experience using a massager.” (It also makes our list of best lower back pain products that can help you find relief.)
How do they work? The premise behind a massager is that it stretches the muscles, increases blood flow, and helps lessen cramping and spasms, explains Dr. Cole. Stretching almost always helps an injury, so be sure to try these stretches for lower back pain too.
There are some people who may need to take some precautions before powering on one of these massage tools. “Be careful if you have a bleeding disorder or taking blood thinner medication,” warns Dr. Cole. “If you start to massage and are not careful, you could cause internal bleeding. The muscle is more prone to create hematomas.”
Cameron Yuen, physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments Physical Therapy in New York City, agrees that you will want to consult with your healthcare professional if you have active malignancies or a problem with blood clotting. “You will want to steer clear of sensitive areas, especially around the neck, and you shouldn’t use them over joints,” he says. “If you use them with common sense, they are great tools with very little concern of overuse.”
What is the best back massager?
Since there are many types of massage tools, choosing the right one for you is important. There are options that require the you to take an active role, ones that you can manipulate, others that you strap onto your body, and even some that you sit or lean against.
“When choosing one, figure out what spot you are targeting,” says Dr. Cole. Depending on where you feel pain and if you can physically reach the area, that could determine whether you’re able to use a handheld versus a massager that you wear.
“Figure out if you want one that is electric or battery operated, too,” says Dr. Cole. “If you plan on using it at home or at work, an electric will be OK, but if you plan to travel, investing in a battery operated option might be a better solution.”
With this in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best back massagers for low back pain. “Overall they are extremely safe and user friendly for almost anyone,” says Yuen. (If you’re experiencing aches at night, try using one of these mattresses for low back pain.)
RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Massager for Muscles
Charge up this RENPHO device and get ready to feel some relief. The cordless design keeps you from getting all tangled up. You’ll appreciate the long handle when you’re trying to get at a knot on the opposite side of your lower back. It comes with five different head attachments, too, so choose the one that feels best on your back.
LiBa Back and Neck Massager
Many therapists use the LiBa massager, explains Dr. Cole, and it’s clear as to why. This massager was created with you in mind, featuring a design that easily allows you to reach parts of your back you normally wouldn’t be able to. Use your own hands to apply the exact amount of pressure you need to relieve any muscle soreness, tightness, or knots.
Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager with Heat Deep Kneading
Rest this Naipo massager around your shoulders, put your hands into the bottom ends on the straps, and move it up or down your back to the area where you need it most. There are eight different Shiatsu massage modes, three different levels, and a heating feature as well. Don’t worry about forgetting to turn it off either—it has an automatic 20-minute shut off feature. (Also follow these tips for a soothing self-massage.)
If your low back pain is on the right or left side, and you can physically reach it with your hand, this handheld Theragun massager could work well. There are three different speed settings so you can adjust accordingly, and a full battery charge lasts 150 minutes, so you don’t have to worry about it dying mid-massage. “Massage guns are very safe and are similar in use and response to foam rollers,” says Yuen. “Like foam rollers, they can be used to relax sore muscles, improve local blood flow, and ease muscle pain. but they’re also extremely convenient and user friendly. You can easily use them all over your body without having to get down on the floor like you would a foam roller.” It’s compact and portable, too. Check out this Theragun review for more details.
Comfier Heating Pad for Back Pain – Heat Belly Wrap Belt with Vibration Massage
Do you have mid-low back pain? “A mid-back focus that is behind you, might make it difficult to use a massager you manually manipulate, so getting something you wear will be most comfortable,” says Dr. Cole. Try strapping on this Comfier option. The heat and massage settings used together provide tension relief and increase blood circulation. It has two heat settings, three massage modes, and two levels of vibration intensity.
Snailax shiatsu Neck & Back Massager with Heat
Place this Snailax massager against a couch or chair, adjust the height of the massage nodes accordingly, then sit down and relax as you enjoy a massage. Choose whether you want a full back, upper back, or lower back massage, and you can add heat for pain relief. You also have the ability to focus on one spot in particular if there’s an area that really needs attention.
Hypervolt with Bluetooth
Pair this Hypervolt handheld gun with your phone or tablet, choose a massage routine, and let the massager do the thinking. It will automatically change the intensity as it shows you where to massage. If you feel like it’s too intense or not hard enough, you can adjust the intensity manually, too. Not only is it good to alleviate soreness, stiffness, and pain, but it’s also good to use to warm up and cool down after exercise.
Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager
Plug this Zyllion device into the wall, then prop it up against a chair, or even strap it around one, and then lean back to feel the relief as the nodes massage your aches and pains away. Every minute, the nodes change directions, too, so no area goes unnoticed. There’s a heat function as well.
MedMassager Therapeutic 2 Speed Electric Deep Tissue Chiropractic Body Massager MMB01
Place this two-speed massager behind your back, lean against the leather pad, and let the device go to work. It promotes blood flow to the area of concern. It also has handles so you can have someone else hold it against your back if you’d prefer a lying massage.
- JAMA Internal Medicine: "The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain"
- Brian A. Cole, MD, FAAOS, American board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Englewood Spine Associates in Englewood, New Jersey
- Cameron Yuen, PT, DPT, CSCS, physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments Physical Therapy in New York City