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Back pain is a leading cause of disability, and it’s estimated that about 80% of people will experience this pain in their lifetime. About a quarter of U.S. adults seek care for acute or short-term back pain, while 8% experience long-term or chronic back pain.

Treating back pain is time consuming and costly. Severe back pain may eventually require surgery to correct the issue. In many cases, however, pain can be treated with a variety of less invasive treatments.

These products were selected by looking at a wide range of products and considering some product details, including:

  • their functions
  • the areas they can target
  • cost
  • consumer reviews
  • ease of use and versatility
  • safety

We made sure to include products from several different price points to help make sure that anyone, no matter their budget, can find a quality back massager.

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Pricing guide

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$100
  • $$$ = over $100

MassagerPrice Target areas treated Heat Battery or corded electric
Nekteck Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager$$back, neck, shoulders, legsyes corded electric
Snailax Shiatsu Massage Cushion with Heat$$full back yes corded electric
Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager$$back, neck, shoulders, abdomen, legs, calf, thighyes corded electric
Lifepro Sonic Handheld Percussion Massage Gun$$$anywhere norechargeable battery
Mighty Bliss Cordless Massager$anywhere norechargeable battery
Renpho Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Tissue Massager$anywherenorechargeable battery
Body Back Buddy Classic$anywhereno
Theragun Elite$$$anywherenorechargeable battery
HoMedics Shiatsu Elite 3D Shiatsu & Vibration Massage Pillow with Heat$$neck, shoulders, and backyes corded electric
Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager$anywherenocorded electric
HoMedics Percussion Action Plus Handheld Massager$$anywhereyescorded electric
Snailax Memory Foam Massage Mat with Heat$$$shoulders, back, thighs, calvesyescorded electric

Nonpharmacological treatments — or those that don’t involve medication — are preferred by most healthcare professionals, since acute back pain generally improves over time regardless of treatment.

Examples of noninvasive, nonpharmacologic treatments for back pain include:

  • acupuncture
  • massage
  • heat
  • spinal manipulation
  • stretching
  • exercise

Spinal manipulation and acupuncture usually require the care of a specialized professional. The cost and time involved in these treatments can add up. Home massage units might be an option that can offer relief for acute and chronic back pain in between or instead of chiropractic care.

There are many types of back massagers on the market. Some are designed to target certain areas, like the shoulders or lower back, to provide relief to certain areas.

Below is a ranking of the top-ranked back massagers you can use at home.

To choose the best back massager, consider the following factors:

  • Cost: Decide what your budget is.
  • Reviews: Find out what online reviewers have to say about the product, especially if you want to use it for a specific purpose, such as arthritis pain or stress relief.
  • Areas it treats: Decide if you want a massager that targets certain areas or works anywhere. If you want a handheld massager for your back, make sure it reaches all areas unless you’ll have assistance.
  • Features and details: Consider aspects such as heat, intensity levels, and types of massage. Decide if you prefer a battery-operated or corded electric device. Consider the weight and size if you plan to bring the massager to work, to the gym, or on trips.
  • Warranty and return policy: Check out the company website to learn about the warranty and return policy. Find out if the offers are valid if you purchase from a third-party website.

While using a back massager might seem like the easiest fix for your back pains, be sure to use this product with caution.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow when using massage for back pain:

  • Do see a healthcare professional to rule out anything that might require surgery or other more significant treatments.
  • Do see a healthcare professional to identify the root cause of your back pain.
  • Do consider a multifaceted approach to treating your back pain.
  • Don’t ignore pain that becomes more severe over time.
  • Don’t continue to massage an area if it’s causing you more pain.
  • Don’t avoid seeing a doctor or chiropractor if your pain becomes worse over time or affects your ability to complete daily tasks.

Do back massagers really work?

Back massagers can help relieve muscle tension, reduce pain, and improve circulation in the back muscles.

Research from 2020 and 2023 shows percussive massage guns may also help improve flexibility, muscle strength, and range of motion.

Are back massagers good for your back?

Yes, back massagers are beneficial for your back. You can use a back massager before or after workouts. They are also beneficial for reducing stress and can help you unwind and relax.

Do electric massagers help with back pain?

Yes, electric massagers can help alleviate back pain and reduce stiffness. They can help increase circulation and improve flexibility, which may help you move with greater ease.

Be careful not to apply too much pressure or use a high speed on sensitive areas, as this can worsen pain. If an electric massager causes your pain to worsen, stop using it and reach out to a healthcare professional.

How can I massage my own back?

To massage your own back, come into a comfortable standing, seating, or lying position. Gently rub your back, paying attention to any painful or sensitive areas. If your device is heavy, place a pillow underneath your arm for support.

Start on a low setting in one of the least sensitive areas of your lower back. Massage this area for a maximum of 2 minutes before moving to another spot. Gradually, work your way up to the more sensitive areas.

Is it good to use a back massager every day?

Generally, you can safely use a back massager for relaxation and to relieve mild muscle tension for up to 20 minutes daily. Using a back massager too frequently or too long can cause muscle soreness, bruising, and injury.

Talk with a healthcare professional before using a back massager if you have any recent or long-term injuries and medical conditions.

Back massagers are a practical and convenient way to alleviate pain and tension in the comfort of your home. They may also help promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.

You can use a back massager as part of a comprehensive wellness plan that includes stretching, strength training, and physical activity. Factors to consider when choosing a back massager include price, intensity levels, and type of massage.