Oh, the misery of an achy back!
We all get knots in our spine, tension in our shoulders, and aches all up and down our backs. No amount of stretching, twisting, or Yoga posing can help to get those pains out once they settle in deep.
That’s where a back massage comes into play!
Back massages can do all kinds of wonderful things: relieve pain, reduce stress, flood your body with endorphins, help you sleep, improve healing, boost circulation, and the list goes on.
It just feels wonderful to get a back massage,
Don’t worry if you don’t have someone to give you a massage, or you don’t want to pay high prices for a professional massage.
A home back massager will do the trick just fine!
Below, we’ve done research to find the very best back massager choices for you. We’ve come up with every type of deep tissue and shiatsu back massage option available to help you get the best pain relief from the comfort of your home.
After evaluating hundreds of products and reading thousands of reviews, we have put together a list of the back massagers that will do wonders to make you feel a million times better!
Gentle vibration massage, heat therapy included, full-body pain relief, five massage modes, three intensity settings, four selective massage zones, flexible, easy to fold or roll up, the perfect travel massager, and comfortable.
Not suitable for serious knots or aches; no deep-kneading massage.
If you’re looking for hardcore massage, this mat isn’t your best choice! Instead, it delivers a soothing, gentle massage that combines vibration with heat to wash away your aches and pains. Thanks to its customizability, it’ll be easy to target your massage according to the part of your body that needs pain relief.
The massage itself is considered “too” gentle for those with serious knots or real pain, but it can help to deal with low-grade aches and discomfort. Thanks to its supreme comfort, you’ll love lying down on this mat and will want to make it a part of your daily routine!
The mat comes with a handheld controller that allows you to choose from its many settings: five massage modes, three intensity settings, and four massage “zones”. You’ll find it’s gentle enough to use for hours at a time, but the built-in safety feature will shut it off after 30 minutes to prevent it from overheating—and to encourage you to get up and move around.
The mat rolls and folds up very small, making it highly portable. It’s great for taking with you as you travel, to the office, or anywhere you need soothing pain relief.
While it may not be your best option for hardcore pain relief, it’s guaranteed to be soothing, warming, and provide a gentle massage that will be wonderfully relaxing. You’ll find it does an amazing job of improving your circulation, warming up stuff muscles, and relaxing your body after a long day of tension. You’ll always feel better after a massage and nap on this mat!
At $80, you’ll find this is worth every penny. It’s super soft and comfortable to lie on, provides a gentle massage, and leaves you feeling like a million bucks every time. Worth it if you want a soothing massage to wash away those end-of-day aches and pains.
Three massage “zones” to choose from, fully customizable massage intensity, adapt to the shape of your back, vibration seat massages your hips and thighs, heat therapy included, can be used on any couch or chair, and easy to use.
Uncomfortable when turned off and massage may be too powerful for more sensitive users.
If you’ve got aches in your back—upper and lower—this massage seat is just what you need. Thanks to its four built-in 3D motion massage nodes, you can get a deep-kneading massage to target whatever part of your back is in pain. There are three massage “zones” to choose from, allowing you to hit the worst pain no matter where it’s located. Plus, with the addition of heat, you’ll loosen up those tight, knotted muscles in no time.
The Shiatsu back massager also doubles as a vibration massager for your hips and thighs. It’s great pain relief and very soothing to help you relax after a long day at work!
Thanks to the built-in controls, it’s easy to switch the machine off and on, turn the heat on and off, adjust the massage targeting, and raise or lower the intensity. There’s also a remote control that allows you to adjust the settings without moving from your chair. With a 15-minute shutoff feature, you can rest assured you’ll always be safe.
The seat is designed to be used on any couch or chair, even in your car! No matter where you are, you can give yourself one heck of a back massage with this massage seat.
Pairing gentle, soothing heat with the four massage nodes leads to excellent pain relief. Though some users have complained that the massage is a little too intense for their pain levels, those with serious knots or back pains will find a bit higher intensity is always worth it. You’ll be able to easily adjust the target of the massage, working out whatever kinks are giving you grief.
At $80, this is a total steal, and a wonderful back massager to have at home or in the office. A few minutes of massage is all it’ll take to get you back on your feet and feeling great again.
A leather-look heated massager with rotating heads perfect for people with tension in the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
Potentially a little bulky for travel, but ideal for regular at-home and/or work usage.
The eight rotating heads are designed for the smaller areas of the upper body such as the neck and shoulders. It provides a gentle massage for these areas but lacks pressure if you want a really deep massage. The heat is a nice feature as it may help to induce calm as well as loosening tension-packed muscle knots.
The somewhat bulky contraption drapes around your shoulders, with the hand loops allowing you to add gentle pressure. Adjusting the heat, direction, and rotation speed are simple, thanks to the control panel. The wall and car adapters make it easy to plug it in and sit down for a massage at home or during a commute. It’s certainly not difficult to use, but the size and shape may not suit all bodies.
It will reduce mild-to-moderate pain in the neck and shoulders, but the lack of pressure may fall short for very tight or persisting muscle pains. The heat helps to get the blood flowing to tight areas, further helping to ease the pain.
At just under $50, it’s reasonably priced.
Good lower back support, effective targeting for lower back pain, compact, very portable, built-in safety features, massaging nodes change direction every minute, powerful, built-in heating, and can be used in your car.
Not as versatile, and the rigid shape makes it harder to target specific/smaller muscle groups.
With four built-in deep-kneading nodes rotating 360 degrees, you’ll find this massager does an amazing job of working out the knots in your lower back. The fact that it’s a lower back massage pillow means that it will target the stiff, aching muscles along your spine, really digging in and working the muscles to loosen them up. Thanks to its comfortable design, you’ll have great back support all day long, and a back massager ready to use at the press of a button.
This pillow is simple, with just two settings: off/on and heat. The button is conveniently located so you can reach it without moving, and it’ll set the massager working instantly. It’s designed to plug into your home or office power source (and it even comes with a car adapter!), which ensures consistent operation. The built-in heat will help to warm up your muscles for more effective massage, but the auto shut-off feature will switch it off after 20 minutes, preventing overheating.
For larger people, this lower back massage pillow is an amazing addition to your home. It’ll hit those tight lower back knots and stiff muscles, delivering efficient and targeted pain relief. However, for people with smaller backs, the nodes may be too far apart to effectively hit the sore spots. Its pillow design means it will only be effective for the lower back—or, if you use the accompanying straps, you can place it on the headrest of your chair to target your back and shoulders. What it hits, it will effectively massage, but it’s one of the least versatile massagers on our list.
A massage pillow for just $50? Yes please! It’s excellent value for the price, and you’ll love how it can make all your lower back pains simply evaporate with your loosening muscles.
Easy to use, great for pinpoint accuracy, powerful dual motor, percussion and vibration therapy, compact, lightweight, professional-grade massager, 90-Day Satisfaction Guarantee, and suitable for massaging the entire body.
Some reviewers experienced long-term battery issues.
For those who have serious knots in their backs, this massager may be just what you need. Thanks to its dual massage—percussion (direct impact) mixed with vibration—you’ll find it does an amazing job of loosening up even the tightest knots.
Percussion massage is very different from kneading—it uses harder impact to loosen things up—but it can be surprisingly effective. This massager is chiropractor-recommended, and you’ll find it does an amazing job of working out kinks and knots in your back, shoulders, neck, and your entire body.
Thanks to its light weight and compact design, this handheld massager makes self-massage a breeze. You’ll find it’s beautifully easy to switch on the massager, maneuver it to hit your knots or pain points, and let the percussion massager do its thing.
Its cordless design means there’s no cord or cables to get in the way as you maneuver it around your back. However, some users complain that the battery life is iffy (it starts losing power at around 30-45 minutes of use), and there have been a lot of complaints that in the long-term, the battery may stop holding an effective charge.
Pain relief with percussion and vibration massage is different than with kneading massage, but no less effective. It’s better for targeting specific pain points and knots, but the narrower head won’t be as effective for hitting broader areas of your back.
However, the fact that you can move the wand around freely means you can hit anywhere on your back, neck, shoulders, legs, or anywhere else on your body. It’s definitely the most versatile massager on our list, and it’s guaranteed to deliver specific, targeting pain relief!
At $125, it’s a bit on the pricier side, but definitely worth getting if you want precision targeting to deal with pain in your back. Plus, with the 90-day Satisfaction Guarantee, you’ll have plenty of time to test it out to be sure it’s worth using.
A sleek, leather-look heated massager with rotating heads designed for tight necks, shoulders, upper & lower back, and calves.
Relatively small surface area may not cover the whole back but effectively targets smaller areas.
The rotating heads offer a high-quality massage that digs deep into difficult knots in small areas like the shoulders or neck. The heat adds extra loosening, calming therapy while increasing blood flow. Plus, you can switch the rotation of the heads to get a balanced and thorough massage.
This gadget is super easy to use, with intuitive controls and a 15-minute auto-off feature to prevent overheating. Drape it around the area you intend to massage and control the pressure by pulling down on the loop handles. The 6-foot power adapter means you can use it as you sit at your work desk or watch TV at home. Use it for long car rides with the car adapter, too.
The pressure and movement of the Shiatsu head combined with gentle heat mean you can knead out tight, pain-causing knots.
At under $50, the Nekteck (including a carry bag and car adapter) is a steal.
A lightweight hand-held massager with two massage heads that pulse at various speeds to target tight muscles.
If you have sore shoulders or are movement impaired you may have trouble reaching your back, the perfect reason to get someone to do it for you!
The application of heat combined with firm pressure and pulsating heads makes for an excellent massage experience. The choice of soft or hard heads means you can customize the massage for different body areas and pain thresholds.
This is very simple to use as long as you’re able to grip the handle and reach over your shoulder. The way the wand is curved allows you to easily reach your upper and middle back. The control panel is super easy to navigate, and the power supply is a simple wall adapter and cord.
The placement of the two heads means you can dig into those tight, sore spots in the upper back or even the glutes, calves, or hamstrings. Heat provides extra pain relief as it increases blood flow to tight, restricted muscles.
A bargain if you can catch it on special at under $40.
A versatile hand-held massager with five different heads, a strong motor, and great battery capacity.
Pressure may be too mild for very tight knots, but excellent for mild-moderate pain
It’s important to note that this offers relief on small surface areas such as the calves, neck, feet, and specific back muscles. However, it does a great job thanks to its powerful motor. Plus, you’re free to apply as much pressure as you need and adjust the placement of the massager to really blast those sore spots.
There’s no denying this is a user-friendly massager, with a silicone handle and cordless design. You simply attach the massage head you like, turn it on, adjust the speed, and place the head wherever you need pain relief. Pop it back into the wall charger when you’re done. The only catch is that if you have trouble with semi-heavy or large items, you may have trouble using this on your own. This isn’t a “sit back and relax” massager unless someone is using it on you.
The five heads offer different texture, hardness, surface area, and points for targeting different areas. Combined with the adjustable rhythm intensity, you can effectively work out tight knots that cause headaches and pain. It would be great for use after intense exercise, long car trips, or stress-filled workdays that cause you to hold painful tension in small areas.
Great value at under $40.
A soft-touch, waterproof massaging wand that can be used for personal pleasure as well as gentle muscle relaxation.
Too gentle for deep-tissue pain relief, but perfect for a lighter massage or personal use.
With 20 massage patterns and 8 intensities, you can adjust the massage performance for various body areas. As there are no rotations or narrow head points, you can’t dig into tight knots, but the vibrations gently release tension and improve blood flow.
It couldn’t be easier. Turn it on, select the pattern and intensity, then place it wherever you wish. To clean, simply wipe it down with water and soap. When it’s time to charge it, plug in the USB charger and connect it to your wall power outlet or computer (just like charging a phone).
This isn’t the kind of massager you choose for working out very tight knots in large areas of the body. However, the vibrations may relax a tight headache-causing neck, or get the blood flowing to sore post-workout calves. If you have sensitive skin and muscles that can’t withstand more heavy-duty massagers, this could be the pain-reliever you need.
At just under $20, it’s a steal.
An s-shaped, powerless massage stick with numbered trigger points to reach the lower back, glutes, quads, neck, feet, traps, and more.
May not be ideal for larger people, but it can be maneuvered to work.
This is a pressure-point massage as opposed to a heated vibrating massage. It works by pressing knobs into various muscles to target and release tension. As a static, pressure-based massage, it’s very effective.
Depending on your size, shape, and mobility, this is a very easy tool to use. You simply apply the correct knob (match the number to the body part), apply pressure for 10-30 seconds then release. It doesn’t require any mode adjustments, charging, or power source so you can take it anywhere as long as you’ve got storage space.
If you’ve ever experienced pain due to a tight muscle in the neck, you’ll appreciate the pain-relieving ability of this tool. The shape of the stick means you can reach small, hard-to-target muscles that cause tension, headaches, and pain.
At under $30, this long-lasting tool is budget-friendly.
A full-body Shiatsu-style massage chair with rotating heads, air pressure, and optional heat.
It’s not a grab-and-go portable massager, but the bulk is certainly worth it.
This chair covers all bases, with rotating heads that dig into the back (upper and/or lower) muscles for a shiatsu-style therapy. Impressively, you can adjust the placement of the massage heads depending on your shape and size, and where the pain is located. Air compression provides a gentle massage for the hips, thighs, and waist.
It’s a fool-proof massager. Pop it on a chair or sofa, plug in the power cord, sit down, and customize the features using the attached remote control.
The combination of various massage heads, heat, and air pressure allows for effective pain relief from the thighs to the neck. If you suffer from stress-related muscle tension, post-workout-DOMS, or general muscle aches, this could be a game-changer. The heat around the lower back could be excellent for PMS-related pain for women.
Crossing the $200 mark means this isn’t a throwaway purchase, but the quality and benefits are worth the cash.
Suitable for use anywhere, car adapter included, great for your neck, lower back, and upper back; high quality, durable, deep-kneading and Shiatsu massage, heat included, ergonomic design, and built-in safety features. Overall, this product allows you to create an incredibly customized massage.
Quality control issues; may be too “rough” for sensitive users/those with lower pain tolerance.
If you’re looking for the best deep-kneading massage, look no further! This bad boy comes with 8 massage nodes that will really dig into those tired, knotted muscles for effective pain relief. With the three adjustable speeds, you can raise or lower the intensity according to your back pain.
Not only do you get a deep-kneading massage, but this little machine also radiates heat that will warm up your muscles and help to loosen any stiffness or tension.
The ergonomic design of this massager allows you to target your entire back: neck, shoulders, upper back, and lower back. Its size and shape makes it easy for you to adjust its placement on your back while still having easy access to the controls.
The controls are very simple to use: just press the buttons built into the arms to activate the heat, raise or lower the intensity, or shut off the massager. And don’t worry if you get lost in the wonderful massage—the machine will automatically switch off after 20 minutes, ensuring it doesn’t overheat.
Thanks to the eight 3D rotation massage nodes, you can get targeted pain relief for any aches or stiffness in your spine. While some users have complained that the massage is a bit TOO high-intensity for them, those with serious pain will find that it works brilliantly to loosen up bad knots and kinks. Thanks to its adjustable intensity, you can target your specific pain points without over-massaging and causing pain.
At $50, this is a total steal! Best of all, it even comes with a car adapter, ensuring you can use it while you’re driving as well as sitting in your home or office.
Manual Massagers – Non-electric massagers are the more economical option. They can be used anywhere and do not require AC or DC power. Examples of non-electrical massagers are prongs, wooden balls, foam rollers, and cane massagers.
Chair Massager – As its name suggests, a chair massager is a piece of furniture that gives you a massage while watching TV or reading a book. Its design is similar to a lounge chair or a recliner. It comes in many colors and upholstery to seamlessly blend into any part of your home. Though quite expensive, it’s the closest thing to a manual massage as you can have.
Chair Pad – A chair pad is the next best thing to a chair massager. It’s just as effective and provides an equal area of coverage. Strap it on your favorite chair, attach the hooks, turn it on, and you’re on your way.
Handheld Massager – This type of massager is perfect for aches and pains in specific points on your back. It typically comes in the form of a wand or a bar for easy maneuverability and accuracy.
Belt Massager – For agonizing lower back pain, a belt massager can do wonders. Drape it around your waist and let it do its work. Unlike a handheld, a belt massager allows you to massage a particular sore spot hands-free.
Cushion Massager – A cushion massager targets neck and lower back pain. It provides relief for precise pain locations while you’re lying down or sitting back.
Mat Massager – It’s a mattress with strategically placed nodes that emit vibration and heat. It eases moderate back pain while you nap.
TENS Massager – A transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) massager is a high-tech option. It works by sending mild electrical currents that relax the muscles and reduces the pain signals to the brain.
Essential Features and Factors to Consider
Electric or Non-Electric Manual massagers are a lot less expensive than electric massagers. Non-electric models are also lightweight and ultra-portable. However, they may not be a more convenient option. With non-electric massagers, you have to apply pressure manually, and stretching to reach certain areas can put a strain on your arm and back muscles. Sometimes, you may need assistance for spots that are harder to reach. An electric massager is a more feasible choice as its ease and convenience will pay for itself in the long run.
Shape The form factor of a back massager will depend on the type and location of your back pain. A chair massager and a chair pad are sufficient for generalized back pain. For localized or specific back spasms, a handheld or belt massager may be more suitable.
Size Like its shape, a massager’s size should be determined by the scope of your back pain. Whole back pain will require a massager with wider coverage. Back pain in a particular area will call for a more confined and focused massage.
Nodes The number of nodes affects the level of intensity of the massage you’ll get. Choose a massager with an adequate number of nodes for a deeper and more soothing massage.
Shiatsu Literally translated as “finger pressure,” Shiatsu is an ancient Japanese massage technique that’s based on Chinese acupressure. It focuses on finger and palm pressure to massage key points that deliver pain relief and promote relaxation. A shiatsu feature replicates the tapping, pressing, and stretching of a traditional shiatsu massage.
Percussion This feature delivers a succession of rapid, rhythmic blows that penetrate deep beneath the muscles to boost tissue repair and relieve pain. It also improves oxygen distribution and blood circulation. There are standalone percussion massagers and there are several handheld electric massagers that incorporate percussion as an added feature.
Heat Applying heat or warmth to an affected area is an effective method to ease the pain. Some back massagers feature built-in electronic heat pads that generate warmth for added pain relief. A number of models will have switches to turn the heat on or off. Others will allow you to control the level of heat. This feature is especially useful during cold weather when back pain tends to act up more often.
Vibration This feature releases tension from muscle tissue and enhances blood flow. It eliminates stiffness and rigidity within the tendons to accelerate pain relief.
Timer Overdoing a massage may have adverse effects. An extended deep tissue massage flushes out lactic acid from the muscles and may leave you feeling sore. A timer can be extremely beneficial once you’ve determined the right time it takes to ease your pain and relax your muscles. Set the timer to your desired duration, then sit back and relax while the massager does its work.
Intensity and Speed Setting Back pain sufferers have good days and bad days. On good days, the pain may be mild enough to be regarded as a mere inconvenience. Sometimes, the discomfort can be so crippling that you can barely walk. A massager with intensity and speed settings allows for full control and customization to handle varying degrees of pain and stiffness.
Auto Shut-Down This function is a vital safety feature. Built-in sensors will automatically turn off the device when they detect early signs of overheating. Most electric back massagers have this feature.
Portability If you have chronic back pain, you’ll want to bring your massager to the office or on vacations. Go for a massager that’s lightweight, effortless to fold, and easy to carry. You may also want to have a chair pad or cushion massager for your car.
Price Depending on the type of massager you’d like to purchase, prices may range from $15 to well over $600. Considering that a professional massage can cost $100 or more per session, investing in a high-quality massager may be a more cost-effective alternative.
Warranty Electronic products can develop defects or fail to function properly after a period of time. The better brands offer a warranty so if any issue arises, you can have your massager replaced, repaired, or refunded.