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Massage therapy may help relieve back pain, and an at-home massager may be an affordable and convenient way to manage the pain in the short term.

Back pain is widespread, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives. In 2016, roughly 13% of adults aged 20–69 in the United States experienced chronic low back pain.

This article looks into how well at-home back massage tools work, how to choose one, and some alternatives.

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Back massagers are designed for easy home use. They may be handheld or wearable and involve wands or cushions. Some are more expensive than others, and there are options for different budgets.

A person may wish to consult their doctor or a professional massage therapist before using a back massager to help manage their pain.

Learn more about back pain here.

Back massagers use different mechanisms to relax muscles and ease tension, including:

  • rotating balls, for a shiatsu-style massage
  • vibration
  • percussion, measured in pulses per minute (PPM)
  • heat

Using an at-home massager may be helpful for people with low-to-moderate back pain.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health cites evidence that massage can help people with chronic low back pain. However, the positive effects seem to be short term.

A 2016 case study also found that massage therapy was effective at relieving chronic low back pain, but the researchers noted that further investigation was necessary.

A 2018 study looked at the effects of massage therapy plus lumbopelvic stability training on low back pain. The researchers found that the combination was more likely to have clinical benefits than massage therapy alone.

Overall, there has not been a significant amount of research into the effects back massagers. And as experts note, massage therapy performed by a trained professional has fewer risks.

Anyone with ongoing back pain should work with a healthcare professional to arrive at the best course of treatment. Massage therapy may not be suitable for everyone, as the causes of back pain can vary.

Learn more about types of massage here.

Anyone looking for a massager for back pain might consider:

  • Pain: Low and moderate pain tend to respond best to self-directed massage. Anyone with any degree of long-term back pain should consult a healthcare professional.
  • Type of massage: Some massagers offer specific types of massage, such as deep tissue, percussive, shiatsu, or vibration-based massage.
  • Massager style: A back massager may be handheld, wearable, or pillow-like.
  • Heat: Many massagers have optional heating capabilities because heat may help relieve muscle pain.

The next section explores seven massagers for back pain in more detail.

How we choose products

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: They are available for a range of budgets.
  • Features: They have a variety of features to suit different needs.
  • Suitability: They come in a range of styles and sizes.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information is purely research-based and was correct at the time of publication.

Zyllion Rechargeable Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

For a versatile massager

This massage pillow is slim and portable, making it suitable for travel as well as home use.

Rotating balls provide the kneading style used in shiatsu massage and switch direction every minute. The product also has a heating feature and a 20-minute automatic shut-off function for safety.

People can use this massager on other areas of the body, as well. The company offers a 90-day money-back guarantee, a 1-year warranty, and free shipping.

The price is $74.95.

Mighty Bliss Deep Tissue Back and Body Massager

For a lifetime warranty

This massager is handheld and rechargeable. The company says that the battery lasts for over 2 hours on a single charge.

Other features include:

  • six massage heads
  • a percussion motor that powers 3,700 revolutions per minute
  • a lightweight design

The company also offers a lifetime warranty.

This product costs $69.97 on Amazon.

Comfier Heating Waist Belt Pad for Back Pain Relief with Massage Modes – 6006NB

For a wearable waist massager

The company says that this massager can help ease pain in the back, neck, shoulders, waist, and legs. It can also help relieve menstrual cramps.

It has an adjustable wrap that can extend to 62 inches.

Other features include:

  • four massage motors
  • three massage modes
  • two massage intensity levels
  • two heat levels

The company offers free shipping and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The price is $62.98.

TheraFlow Handheld Deep Tissue Percussion Massager

For an extendable power cord

This electric handheld massager comes with three attachments for shiatsu-style, acupoint, and scalp massage. It also has an extendable power cord.

People can choose from three intensity levels. The company says that this massager can deliver 2,200—3,200 PPM and comes with a 1-year warranty.

The product costs around $39.99 on Amazon.

Viktor Jurgen Handheld Back Massager

For a double-head design

This electric massager has two heads to simulate two-handed massage therapy. It also has a nonslip rubber grip and an extended power cord.

Other features include:

  • a motor that can run up to 3,350 PPM
  • customizable speed settings
  • three sets of different massage heads

The price is around $35.99 on Amazon.

MagicMakers Back Neck Shoulder Massager with Heat

For a wearable back, neck, and shoulder massager

This wearable massager is available in two colors. It has eight massage nodes, four big and four small, as well as kneading massage rollers that auto-reverse every minute.

Other features include:

  • three speed, or strength, levels
  • heating
  • an automatic shut-off after 15 minutes
  • a car adapter

The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

This product costs around $59.99 on Amazon.

Homedics Thera-P Massage Comfort Cushion with heat

For a cushion style

This massager cushion is portable and comes with home and car adapters.

Other features include:

  • five motors
  • three massage zones
  • two intensity levels
  • an optional heat setting

The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The price is $44.99.

Other options for managing back pain include:

  • in-person massage therapy
  • massage chairs
  • massage chair pads

Visiting a professional therapist is likely to provide the best results. However, it can be expensive and may be inconvenient.

Massage chairs can also be an expensive option, and some require a lot of space. Massage chair pads, however, are much more affordable, as well as portable.

Back pain is a widespread problem, and massage therapy may help provide relief.

At-home massagers may provide some of the benefits of professional massage with more convenience and less cost.

However, further research is needed to determine how well home massagers work. Anyone with long-term back pain should develop a treatment plan with a healthcare professional.