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

Back pain is a common problem with a wide range of causes. Scientific research estimates that up to 23% of adults worldwide experience low back pain specifically.

A back massager may help to alleviate mild-to-moderate back pain.

This article lists nine back massagers that people can use to help alleviate back pain. It also looks into the effectiveness of at-home back massagers, provides tips on choosing a suitable massager, and outlines some alternatives.

Below are some back massagers available online.

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

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

Best versatile massager: Zyllion Rechargeable Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

Zyllion Rechargeable Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager.
  • List price: around $84.95
  • Best for: muscle tension or pain in the lower back
  • Type: kneading with rotating balls
  • Deep tissue or surface level: deep tissue
  • Heat: yes
  • Pros: has a heat function and massage rollers that change direction for a shiatsu-style massage
  • Cons: may take a while to heat up

This massage pillow is slim and suitable for back and neck massages. Its small size may mean people can use it for massaging other areas of the body, making it a versatile option.

Rotating balls provide a shiatsu-style kneading massage. The balls change direction every minute to help reduce muscle tension. The product also has a heating feature and a 20-minute automatic shut-off function for safety.

The company offers:

  • free shipping
  • a 90-day money-back guarantee
  • a 1–2 year warranty

Best for a range of massage heads: Mighty Bliss Deep Tissue Back and Body Massager

Mighty Bliss Deep Tissue Back and Body Massager.
  • List price: around $46
  • Best for: muscle knots
  • Type: handheld device, with a 3,700 PPM percussion motor
  • Deep tissue or surface level: deep tissue
  • Heat: no
  • Pros: it is rechargeable and has six massage attachments
  • Cons: no heat function

This handheld massager targets muscle knots, delivering 3,700 pulses every minute. It comes with six massage heads, although there is just one massage mode available. The heads include specific attachments for larger muscle groups, a four-point neck and back massage head, a scalp massager, and flat and dome-shaped heads for general massage.

This affordable massager is rechargeable, and the company states the battery lasts for over 2 hours on a single charge.

The brand does not provide warranty information, although people can get 30-day returns through Amazon.

For a wearable waist massager: Comfier Heating Waist Belt Pad for Back Pain Relief with Massage Modes – 6006NB

Comfier Heating Waist Belt Pad for Back Pain Relief with Massage Nodes - 6006NB.
  • List price: $52.99
  • Best for: upper or lower body pain and menstrual cramps
  • Type: wearable, vibrating massager
  • Deep tissue or surface level: surface level
  • Heat: yes, 2 levels
  • Pros: adjustable levels of massage, vibration, and heat
  • Cons: surface level massage may be less effective than a deep tissue massage

This massager fits around a person’s waist and features an adjustable wrap that can extend to 62 inches (in).

Other features include:

  • 4 massage motors
  • 3 massage modes
  • 2 massage intensity levels
  • 2 heat levels

This massager may be beneficial for people with lower back pain, but the company states that this massager can also help relieve the following types of pain:

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

For an extendable power cord: TheraFlow Handheld Deep Tissue Percussion Massager

TheraFlow Handheld Deep Tissue Percussion Massager.
  • List price: around $27
  • Best for: a back massager for home use
  • Type: percussion massager with attachments
  • Deep tissue or surface level: deep tissue
  • Heat: no
  • Pros: variable power speed with 3 attachments
  • Cons: less portable than other options

This electronic handheld massager comes with three attachments for the following types of massage:

  • shiatsu-style
  • acupoint
  • scalp massage

The massager delivers between 2,200–3,200 pulses per minute (PPM) and people can choose from three intensity levels.

An extendable power cord makes it easier for people to access parts of the body that may otherwise be difficult to reach.

The product comes with a 1-year warranty.

Best for targeting hard-to-reach places: Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager

Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager
  • List price: $44.99
  • Best for: back, neck, legs, shoulders, and pressure points
  • Type: percussion
  • Deep tissue or surface level: deep tissue
  • Heat: no
  • Pros: ergonomic design and long handle makes it easy to use
  • Cons: no heat function

This corded massager provides rapid percussive deep tissue massage, with up to 3,250 PPM. Users can adjust the speed dial and intensity.

Additional features include:

  • 4 interchangeable head attachments
  • a 9-foot power cord

This massager also comes with a 2-year warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

For a rechargeable option: Renpho Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager

Renpho Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager
  • List price: around $49.99
  • Best for: full body massage
  • Type: percussion
  • Deep tissue or surface level: deep tissue
  • Heat: no
  • Pros: rechargeable battery
  • Cons: no heat function

This massager has a powerful motor that delivers up to 3,600 PPM. The company recommends this massager for relieving post-exercise soreness, promoting muscle relaxation, and full-body pain relief.

It has an automatic shut-off feature after 20 minutes.

Other features include:

  • portable design
  • 140-minute battery life
  • 5 head attachments
  • easy-to-grip silicone handle
  • adjustable speed and intensity settings

Best affordable shiatsu massager: NekTeck Shiatsu Massager

NekTeck Shiatsu Massager
  • List price: $49.99
  • Best for: neck and back
  • Type: wearable shiatsu-style
  • Deep tissue or surface level: deep tissue
  • Heat: yes
  • Pros: easy to use in different settings
  • Cons: not suitable for people with heart conditions or joint replacements

This shiatsu-style massager has eight deep-kneading massage heads that target specific areas on the neck and back. People can get a deeper massage by pulling on the straps. It is a more affordable option for people looking for a shiatsu-style massage.

Its features include:

  • 6-foot power cord
  • car adapter
  • heating function
  • three custom settings for speed and direction

It comes with a 12-month warranty.

Best budget-friendly massager: Body Back Buddy Classic

Body Back Buddy Classic
  • List price: $29.95
  • Best for: muscle knots
  • Type: manual tool
  • Deep tissue or surface level: deep tissue
  • Heat: no
  • Pros: lower price point
  • Cons: large and unsuitable for traveling

This manual massager comes in blue, black, and purple, and is made in the USA.

The S-shaped design has nodules of various shapes and sizes that target specific pressure points to alleviate pressure and encourage blood flow and oxygen to certain areas. To use it, people hook the massager over their shoulder, under their foot, or around their back and manually manipulate the muscle with the nodules.

It comes with an instruction manual that provides information on how best to use the tool and the trigger points it can target.

Best quiet massager: LifePro Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun

LifePro Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun
  • List price: around $179.99
  • Best for: full body massage
  • Type: percussion
  • Deep tissue or surface level: deep tissue
  • Heat: yes
  • Pros: comfortable and ergonomic grip
  • Cons: higher price point

The company behind this massage gun notes that it has a quiet motor and is suitable for reducing inflammation after workouts. It also targets muscle knots and stiffness.

Other features include:

  • 5 intensity levels
  • 8 massage tips
  • 6-hour battery life

The massage tips include several pointed tools, a pronged tool, and a flat massage head. The company has designed them to target different types of muscle and areas of the body.

The following table compares the back massagers in this article.

PriceTypeMassage depthHeat
Zyllionaround $84.95shiatsu-styledeep tissueyes
Mighty Blissaround $46handheld devicedeep tissueno
Comfier$52.99vibrationsurface levelyes
TheraFlowaround $27percussiondeep tissueno
Wahl$44.99percussiondeep tissueno
Renphoaround $49.99percussiondeep tissueno
NekTeck $49.99shiatsu-styledeep tissueyes
Body Back $29.95manualdeep tissueno
LifeProaround $179.99percussiondeep tissueno

Medical News Today’s methodology

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: MNT will choose products available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Features: MNT selectsproducts with useful features, such as an auto-shutoff, overheating protection mechanism, or adjustable straps.
  • Suitability: MNTselectsproducts to suit a range of needs, such as portability and extra temperature functions.
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Back massagers are tools for massaging the back. There are many types and styles, including:

  • handheld devices
  • wearable devices
  • massage cushions

Some use vibration to stimulate the muscles, while others use percussive motion. Others move in circular motions and apply heat.

Some 2019 research found that massage helped reduce lower back pain, but scientific research on the topic is limited overall.

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

Learn more about back pain.

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

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

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NICCH) cites evidence that massage can help people with chronic low back pain (CLBP). However, massage appears to provide only a short-term benefit.

A 2018 study investigated the combined effects of massage therapy and lumbopelvic stability training on low back pain. The researchers found that the combination was more likely to provide clinical benefits compared to massage therapy alone.

Overall, there is very little research into the effects of back massagers. And as experts note, massage therapy from a trained professional is likely to be more effective and pose fewer risks.

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

Learn more about types of massage.

Manufacturers of back massagers claim that these devices work by boosting circulation to the back muscles. This helps to:

Massage can also help to promote full-body relaxation.

Below are some factors a person may want to consider before choosing a back massager:

  • Pain levels: Massage may be a suitable therapy for individuals with mild to moderate back pain. Anyone experiencing severe or long-term back pain should consult a healthcare professional.
  • Massage type: Some back massagers offer specific types of massage, such as:
  • Massager style: Back massagers are available in various styles, including:
    • handheld
    • wearable
    • cushions
  • Heat: Many back massagers have optional heating capabilities to help further alleviate muscle pain.

The NCCIH notes that receiving a massage from a trained massage therapist is generally safe. However, the safety of self-massage using massage devices is less clear.

The following can help a person maximize the benefits and reduce the risks of back massagers:

  • talking with a healthcare professional about plans to use a back massager
  • using massage devices for short-term pain relief, and not for acute problems or underlying conditions
  • applying the massager to muscles, and avoiding joints and bones
  • reducing the massage speed and intensity when applying the device to sensitive areas
  • stopping the use of the massager if the pain seems to get worse

Other options for managing back pain include:

  • In-person massage therapy: A visit to a professional massage therapist will likely provide the best results. However, this option is typically more expensive and less convenient than at-home massage using a massage device.
  • Massage chairs: A massage chair can provide good results. However, a chair can be an expensive option, and some require a lot of space. One study found that while massage chairs can improve pain, working with a specialist like a physical therapist may be more beneficial.
  • Massage chair pads: A massage chair pad is a good alternative to a massage chair. These pads are portable and require less storage space. They are also more affordable.

Below, we answer some of the most common questions about back massagers.

Can you use a massager on the lower back?

An older 2016 case study concludes that massage can be helpful for chronic lower back pain.

However, a person should avoid applying percussive, kneading, or rolling massagers directly to the spine or other bone tissue. These devices are designed for use on muscles, not bones.

Can a massage gun make back pain worse?

Incorrect use of a massage gun can worsen back pain. Factors that could increase pain include:

  • applying the massage gun directly to the spine
  • using the massage gun at too high an intensity
  • using the massage gun for too long

A person should start out with brief sessions that are both low speed and low intensity. If this feels comfortable, a person can gradually increase the speed or intensity.

What is the best massage to get for back pain?

The best massage for back pain depends on several factors, including:

  • the type of pain the person is experiencing
  • how long the person has had the pain
  • the type of massage therapy the person’s healthcare professional has suggested
  • whether the person prefers a massage cushion, a handheld massager, or a wearable device

Is a massager good for back pain?

There currently is little research into the efficacy of massagers on back pain. However, anecdotal evidence suggests it provides therapeutic benefits.

What is the best back massager?

This all depends on an individual’s budget, type of back pain, and personal preferences.

Can I use a back massager every day?

People should let their muscles recover from a massage before working on the area again. Excessive use of back massagers increases the risk of bruising, inflammation, and aggravating existing injuries.

If a person is living with persistent back pain, they should speak with a doctor to discuss the cause and the best way to manage it.

What is the best way to massage lower back pain?

The best way to massage lower back pain will depend on what is causing the back pain and where it is located. However, a person can try lying on tennis or massage balls and gently rolling across them to apply pressure and massage the area. They can also try this with a foam roller.

A person should stop massaging an area immediately if it increases their pain, and they should speak with a doctor to discuss the best massage options for them.

Back pain is a widespread problem and massage therapy may help provide relief. At-home back massagers may provide some of the benefits of a professional massage at greater convenience and at a reduced cost.

There are several styles of back massagers, including handheld devices, wearable devices, and cushions. Massagers may also differ in the types of massage they provide, with options including kneading, shiatsu, percussion, and vibration.

Research suggests that back massagers may provide short-term relief from mild to moderate back pain, and may help temporarily reduce stress levels. However, anyone with severe or chronic back pain should speak with a doctor for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.