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Discover The Best Back Massager For Pain Relief In 2018

When you’re looking for an effective back massager it can be tricky to find the one that really targets your particular pain. Research shows that back massagers stimulate circulation and relax stiff muscles, with several types featuring programs designed for upper, lower and full back.

Then there are heat options, vibration, different intensities, so choices that can be a little overwhelming which is why we’ve done the hard work for you and shortlisted some of the best back massagers available in the marketplace.

Back Massagers

Before using any type of back massager, you should always read the instruction manual. If you are unsure of its suitability it’s best to speak to a medical professional to ensure it is appropriate for your health or medical conditions.

Take it Anywhere – Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat for Back
  • Use at home or take it with you, attach it to your favorite chair, lie on it... relax and enjoy!
Sit Back – Gideon Massaging Cushion With Heat
  • Shiatsu massage nodes move up and down your back, mimicking a massage therapist's hands.
Multi-functional – Homedics Back & Shoulder Massager
  • Kneading or vibrating masage for upper back, lower back and shoulders, with soothing heat setting.

Homedics Back & Shoulder Percussion Massager with Heat

We love how the Homedics Back and Shoulder Percussion Massager with Heat brings together 3 different massage settings that target your shoulders, the upper back and the lower back.

Homedics Back & Shoulder Percussion Massager with Heat


If you take a look at the design you can see that it fits comfortably around your neck and shoulders, offering flexible straps so you can target those hard to reach areas.

The intensity can be adjusted up to 720 pulses per minute so it is certainly a powerful product that is offered at a relatively affordable price. It’s a good size too so you can ensure you’re getting the coverage you need over your back and shoulders.

Some reviewers found the percussion massage quite intense, so perhaps not ideal for daily use, however they raved about the success of the product for those tough days when you’re really suffering.

Back Buddy

It may look a little strange and you could presume it isn’t up to the job, however the Back Buddy has been relieving back pain for more than a decade.

Back Buddy


It has 11 knobs that have been positioned to allow you to get the most from the product and give you the ability to access any pressure point to relieve spasms and muscle knots.

The simplicity of the design gives you the control over the intensity which particularly suited users with myofascial pain syndrome.

Users of the product were impressed with the quality for such a low price, and were surprised by how lightweight it is.

If you struggle with flexibility the Back Buddy might not be the right option for you as it does require you to maneuverer it efficiently to hit the spot, in which case something more like the Homedics Back and Shoulder Percussion Massager could be a better option for those who have limited movement.

Gideon Luxury Six-Program Customizable Massaging Cushion

The Gideon Luxury Six-Program Customizable Massaging Cushion promises the sensation of a massage therapist’s hands whether you’re at home, work or in the car.

This massage cushion fits to your seat and offers 4 Shiatsu massage nodes which move up and down your back.

Gideon Luxury Six Program Customizable Massaging Cushion


You have a variety of different settings and intensities to choose from as well as a vibration and heat function.

If you have a really hard-to-reach spot, then the massaging cushion is handy as you can program and customize the settings to target the intensity in just the right place, then as it remembers your preferences you can simply turn it on and enjoy it each day.

Taller users found that the cushion didn’t quite reach as far up their back as they’d enjoy, and many found it didn’t do the trick for neck pain.

However if you’re looking for a product to use daily that is simple to control, then reviewers were impressed with this product and the price tag which competes well with similar products on the market.

Wahl Deep-Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager

For targeted pain relief that you can control, the hand-held Wahl Deep-Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager offers a really deep massage with a motor that can reach up to 3,350 pulses per minute.

Wahl Deep-Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Massager


This therapeutic massager from Wahl comes with four different attachments so you can get to that knot or trigger point more effectively.

You’ll find a standard deep muscle attachment plus a four finger flex which is designed to replicate the hands of a masseuse, an Accupoint attachment to help break up knots and an extra wide flat disc to cover wider areas.

Hip pain and arthritis sufferers really rated this massager and felt that it hit the spot, as well as being much quieter than its competitors!

Some missed the inclusion of a heat fucntion, however if you’re looking for a low cost, simple massager than this could be worth the compromise.

Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat

We really like the compact size of Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat which can be easily secured to your chair. It’s the ideal solution for when you’re traveling as it’s just over 2 inches deep, making it a popular choice amongst office workers.

Zyllion ZMA13BK Shiatsu Pillow Massager with Heat


Though small in size it is still powerful with the Shiatsu massage nodes providing a deep massage and changing direction every minute to mimic the hands of a real masseuse.

Some consumers felt a little frustrated by the changing direction and wished you could alter the setting to fix it in one direction, while many others enjoyed the style of massage and rave about its success for neck pain.

For those with sensitive back problems such as spinal stenosis, the massage was a little too powerful and they missed the ability to alter the speed. Yet those with a long commute were grateful for this handy bag-sized product.

Back2Life Back Massager

For longer term relief to back pain, we really like the Back2Life Back Massager which is designed to naturally help you realign your spine, which in turn will help to relieve pressure and discomfort.

Back2Life Back Massager


It provides a much more gentle solution, and is designed for long term use as opposed to offering a quick relief from pain. Those that used it on a long term basis got the most from the product commenting that it had greatly improved their mobility.

It comes with a high price tag, so some users felt it may be more beneficial to splash out on an inversion table instead, however of course this requires much more space.

Relaxonchair MK-IV

When you’re looking to make a real investment, then we can’t get enough of the Relaxonchair MK-IV.

This stylish chair has been specially designed to adapt to different body shapes and comes in 4 different colors so it can fit comfortably with your decor

Relaxonchair MK-IV


Choosing a massage chair is a big commitment due to the initial investment and the amount of space that the chair can take up in your home.

However one of the great selling points of the Relaxonchair MK-IV is the new design which is is described as ‘zero gravity technology’, requiring only 3 inches of clearance from the wall.

We feel this is a high quality product, not just offering 5 different automatic massage programs, but also combining air and heat massage, as well as a hand and foot massager.

Some users found the foot massager a bit of a novelty and not particularly effective, however they found the chair itself provided an intense body massage and reported success, particularly for lower back pain.

NURSAL Rechargable TENS Unit

Unlike the rest of the products on this page, this is not a massager that applies pressure to the body. A pulse massager (also known as a TENS unit) uses low voltages electrical current to relieve pain.

NURSAL Rechargable TENS Unit


When it comes to pulse massagers we like the flexibility offered by the NURSAL Rechargeable TENS Unit, which comes with 16 different modes, and 20 different levels of strength so you can tailor your pain relief quickly and effectively.

The rechargeable function and the small size of the product makes the product ideal with traveling with or using in your favorite chair (that may not have easy access to a plug). It also comes with 8 reusable gel pads that you can place right around the source of the pain.

Some users felt the 16 modes were a little excessive, and that there wasn’t a great deal of difference between certain ones. Many people suffering from Sciatica however found this just right as they could control their treatment more precisely.

Thumper Sport Percussive Massager

For a powerful hand-held massager, we like the Thumper Sport Percussive Massager which is specifically for sportspeople who want to perform at their best. It has been designed so it’s easy to hold but can still reach all the key areas such as your shoulders, back and legs.

Thumper Sport Percussive Massager


The variable speed it offers and the penetrating tapotement massage technique (which many believe mimics the body’s natural healing) delivers exactly the level of relief many users desired, leaving them with the feeling it had the strength and the power to really target their pain.

There is little that reviewers can find fault with when it comes to this product.

Many remarked that they use the massager on a daily basis, they just felt the power cord could be a little longer, but with the level of relief the product can provide consumers were certainly willing to overlook it!

The Happy Company Happy Massager

A cheery little affordable hand massager is the The Happy Company Happy Massager. We love the cute little design of the product, however we can’t overlook its effectiveness!

The Happy Company Happy Massager


It has a 4-prong design that was created by a massage therapist who wanted to find a way that people could mimic the feel of a professional massage.

For natural childbirth this was a popular choice as it could travel easily and provide the right level of relief. Other users also found the product great for daily aches and pains, as the design is sturdy and well made.

The Happy Massager is a highly affordable product compared to others in the marketplace, and though occasionally people felt it was a little poor quality, it certainly met the needs for many. Plus it puts a smile on your face!

PowerPro 2-in-1 Foam Rollers

A gentle or a deep massage, you can get both with the PowerPro 2-in-1 Foam Rollers. We love foam rollers for back pain relief, and PowerPro’s 2-in-1 rollers are great as they offer a soft inner roller for gentle relief which is perfect for injury rehabilitation as well as a hard outer core for a real deep tissue massage.

PowerPro 2-in-1 Foam Rollers


Success for the product has been experienced by those suffering from chronic back pain and migraines, with the PowerPro company also promoting the product as an option for cellulite as the product smoothes and helps to tone the skin.

The product comes at a very competitive price point and ships with a handy carry case as well as 2 e-books to help you get the most from the product.

Some felt the rollers were a little on the small side, with others saying they didn’t roll smoothly, however if you’re after a simple roller then this product could be exactly what you’re looking for.

Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Heat

If you’re looking for a massager that you can drape around your aching neck and upper back then take a look at the Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Heat.

Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager with Heat


The Shiatsu nodes can travel easily across your shoulders or down the full length of your back.

Brookstone’s cordless massager offers vibration and heat functions across 3 levels of intensity, to help relieve tightness and aid in muscle recovery.

Users felt the massager would benefit from additional speed settings, as it only carries one, however the intensity of the massage was pleasing for many who felt it offered exactly the level of deep massage they were looking for.

HoMedics MCS-750H Quad Shiatsu Massage Cushion

The HoMedics MCS-750H Quad Shiatsu Massage Cushion offers percussion, kneading and rolling massage styles to deliver ultimate satisfaction to you.

HoMedics MCS-750H Quad Shiatsu Massage Cushion


We love the way HoMedics has developed this massage cushion to include an easy to use hand control which allows you to move the nodes to different areas as required.

This Quad Shiatsu Massage Cushion includes heat and offers a very intense massage to give real relief to back pain.

There were a few reservations about how high up the cushion goes, with some feeling that it didn’t reach high enough to the neck. However if you’re looking to target back pain, then sit back and relax, the HoMedics MCS-750H is an excellent option.

Conair Touch N’ Tone Massager with 5 Attachments

If you’re looking for a handy little massage device, then take a look at the Conair Touch N’ Tone Massager. It comes with 5 different attachments to work on different key areas including your face and scalp, so ideal for those that suffer from migraines.

Conair Touch N' Tone Massager with 5 Attachments


The Touch N’ Tone Massager is very simple to use with 2 different speed settings to help you work on your tired and aching muscles. It’s compact too, so ideal if you’re looking for a simple budget device.

Users suffering from tension loved the face attachment as it offered a fantastic level of relief, with others feeling it was a little lacking in power. However it’s offered a such a super-affordable price, making it an easy pick up.

Thera Cane

An alternative to the Back Buddy is the Thera Cane which also uses a unique design to help you reach your hard-to-reach places and ease any aches and pains. We love how it can be used to really get to those knots that are causing you discomfort.

Thera Cane


The cane has 6 treatment balls, with each one being carefully positioned so you can use it independently. Those who have used the Thera Cane comment on how enjoyable it is after you have carried out a strenuous task or even just for day to day use.

Controlling the pressure was also a key selling point, obviously there is no power to bring the intensity, but you can provide it yourself by using the massager to bring as much or as little pressure as you desire.

HoMedics Shiatsu Plus Vibration Massage Pillow SP-25H

The HoMedics Shiatsu Plus Vibration Massage Pillow SP-25H is a stylish and super soft luxury pillow. It is wrapped in a high quality cover and comes complete with 4 massage nodes and a comforting heat feature.

HoMedics Shiatsu Plus Vibration Massage Pillow SP-25H


It’s ideal for using in the office as it has a built in control so everything is very compact. We also love the vibration feature, which adds to the premium feel of the product.

The pillow is affordable and comes with a long cord so can be used easily wherever you want it. You can’t adjust the pressure, however many found that the intensity was just right for the level of massage they wanted.

Types of Back Massagers

There are a number of different types of back massagers available, whether you’re looking for something handy for a recent ache or if you’re looking to make a big investment to deal with chronic daily pain.

Styles of Electric Back Massagers:


A chair back massager is a piece of furniture that you add to your home, that you can sit in each day. It’s a big investment but it’s probably the closest you can get to a hands-on massage.


A good hands-on massage can play a crucial role in alleviating back pain. Similarly, a good massage chair is designed to provide some measure of pain relief and relaxation, however, without the need for person-to-person interaction.

Chair Pad

The next best thing to a chair massager is a massage pad that you can attach to your favorite chair. It normally hooks over the back and underneath the seat to give your back full coverage.


A handheld massager is normally a wand or pad that you operate and maneuver around your body to get to the source of the pain.


A belt massager can be wrapped around your lower back or draped around your shoulders so you can get a deep massage in key areas.

Cushion / Pillow

A cushion or pillow massager is handy for use on the neck or lower back where you can tuck it exactly where you need the relief.


A TENS unit comes with electrode pads and sends pulses across the skin that stimulate the nerves.

Styles of Non-Electric Back Massagers

Cane Massager

A cane massager is a simple device which can be maneuvered to the right part of the body to provide relief.

Wooden Ball Massager

A wooden ball massager is rubbed on the problem area to provide relief. The wooden balls are run up and down the skin to release tension.

S Shaped Massager

An S shaped massager is a stick massager which normally has carefully placed nodes so that the massager can be maneuvered to the exact right position.

3 Prong Mini Massager

A 3 prong mini massager is a simple handheld device that can be used to work out knots and tension.

Foam Roller

A foam roller has a hard or soft exterior depending on the relief needed. It is rolled up and down the affected area to release tension in the muscles.

Features of Back Massagers – What to Consider


The shape of the back massager is important as you need to make sure it can really target the source of your pain. Whether it’s an S shaped stick or a chair pad, you need to make sure it can reach where it needs to go.


You also need to consider the size, will it give you coverage for the area you need? Is it too large to be portable? All should be considerations to make the right choice.

Electric / Non-Electric

Consider which option is right for you, whether you want to take your massager on the go, or just ensure you can use it in your favorite chair!


The number of massage nodes that the device offers may be important to you if you’re looking for a deep and intense massage.


Percussion is a style of massage and users have described this technique as “thundering on your back”, so perfect if you want a deep tissue massage perhaps not ideal if you’re looking for something a little less intense.


Look for this feature, a Japanese massage technique, if you want to replicate the hands of a masseuse as closely as possible!


If you have knots and want a massage that is really going to work them out then you might want to look out for the kneading function.


If you want hand-held control then you may opt for a wand massager or a unit that includes a wand.


Some units offer an additional vibration function which might be something you want to consider for that added extra relief.


Heat can offer comforting relief from pain as it heats the skin which stimulates the sensors and blocks the pain signals being sent to the brain, many different massagers include this option so it’s worth looking out for.


A timer can be handy if it takes you a while to get to the source of your pain, so you can set a period of time and then just sit back and enjoy the relief.

Auto Shut Down

Auto Shut Down can be great as it protects you and the unit from overheating, however if it takes you a while to get to the source of your pain, a short auto shut down could be frustrating.

Intensity Settings

If you have good days and bad days and want a massage that can flex with you then you want to look for a massager with a selection of intensity settings. Some devices only come with one setting so make sure you choose what is right for you.

Speed Settings

As well as intensity settings you need to look at what speed settings are offered if you want something rigorous or if you’re looking for something more gentle.


Some massagers are rechargeable making them handy to be used in the office or on the go.


If you’re wanting to take the massager on vacation or use it at work then a portable option might be the one you’re looking for, that is an appropriate size and lightweight. You can also choose a massager for in the car, however this can only be used when stationary or as a passenger.


Some massagers come with attachments to target different areas, such as the face.

Memory / Recall

If your pain is hard to reach and you get the intensity just right it can be frustrating to have to go through the various settings each time. Memory/recall functions remember the intensity, speed and style of massage you enjoy which can be helpful day to day.

Benefits of Back Massagers

Back Pain Relief

Of course the main benefit from a back massager is relief from back pain! A back massager stimulates circulation and relaxes stiff muscles and research proves that massage is very effective for short term relief from back pain.

Improved Circulation

Massage is a technique which is often used to improve circulation, that is because the improved circulation can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells, basically waking them up!

Lift Mood

Massage releases endorphins which relaxes the nervous system and creates feel good hormones. Back massage in general has been shown to be a successful technique for the treatment of anxiety.

Improved Sleep

Having a regular massage is also shown to improve sleep. Those suffering from insomnia due to the menopause have reported marked improvement in their condition following massage.


What is a back massager?

What is a back massager?

A back massager is a device that comes in many different forms, it could be a simple pillow or a hand-held wand or a new piece of furniture. Essentially it mimics the hands of a masseuse to provide you with daily relief from pain.

What does a back massager do?

What does a back massager do?

A back massager simulates a manual back massage. Massage stimulates your circulation and relaxes stiff muscles to give you relief from pain. Different massagers can target different areas and use different massage techniques and intensities.

How do I choose a back massager?

How do I choose a back massager?

Doing your research is important before you make a purchase to make sure you choose a back massager that will provide you with relief.

Speaking to your doctor or a medical professional could help point you in the right direction, however hopefully by reviewing some of the features above you’ll have more of an idea of the back massage that is right for you.

Can I use a back massager when pregnant?

Can I use a back massager when pregnant?

Check with your doctor before using a back massager when pregnant as advice is mixed.

It also goes without saying that you should always read the instructions before using any massage product for any other warnings or precautions.

How much does a back massager cost?

How much does a back massager cost?

Back massagers vary widely in cost, from a few dollars for a small hand-held wooden massager to thousands of dollars for the highest range massage chair, so it’s best to set a budget. Once you’ve chosen the massager that is right for you it’s prudent to shop around for the best price.

How long can you use a back massager for?

How long can you use a back massager for?

Manuals for back massager products vary a little in their advice, however overall the consensus seems to be that to avoiding bruising your muscles it’s best to use a back massager for short periods of time, the suggestion being around 15 minutes.

Many products come with an ‘auto-off’ feature that encourages you to limit your usage to the recommended time.

Can you sleep on a back massager?

Can you sleep on a back massager?

After overusing a back massager some users have reported that it can cause bruising of the muscles.

Can you drive while using a back massager?

Can you drive while using a back massager?

Advice from back massager product manuals indicates that it’s not advisable to use a back massager whilst driving. However you can buy massage cushions for your car seat that you can use when stationary or as a passenger.

Where can I buy a back massager?

Where can I buy a back massager?

You will find back massagers for sale online, and are widely available on many websites, such as Walmart, CVS, Target and Walgreens. If you want to buy a back massager locally, visit your nearest pharmacy. Several online retailers offer free shipping on orders as well.


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  3. Miller, J. (2018) Heat Packs. Why does heat feel so good?. [Online] Available from: https://physioworks.com.au/FAQRetrieve.aspx?ID=30990 [Accessed 19 April 2018].
  4. Burgan, B. (2016) How Does Massage Work?. [Online] Available from: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/massage-therapy/how-does-massage-work [Accessed 19 April 2018].
  5. We Speak Science (2016) Role of massage in body. [Online] Available from: https://wespeakscience.com/role-of-massage-in-body/ [Accessed 26 September 2017].
  6. Morris, K. (2017) Why Is Massage Therapy Good for You?. [Online] Available from: https://www.livestrong.com/article/546491-deep-tissue-massage-vs-sports-massage/ [Accessed 19 April 2018].

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