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7 Best Massagers for Upper Back Pain(2020 Buying Guide)

Stress and tension build throughout the day, and by the time you get home, you are all tied up in knots which may make relaxing and sleeping harder. This is when having a great neck and back massager could come in handy.

These mechanisms can be used to relieve the pain and help loosen you up as well as combat headaches. With the wide variety of options available to you, finding the right one may seem like a daunting task. In this guide, we will try to make the hunt a little easier by looking at some of the best massagers for upper back pain.

Quick Answer:

1. Best for Travel: Zyllion Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager

The Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager is by far the best option for travel. It comes with an adapter and is lightweight and compact, making it easy to store in your luggage. The heat functions and massage nodes will help relieve muscle pains from long days of travel, getting you ready for your exciting adventure.

2. Best for Ergonomics: Naipo Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager

Design is critical in relieving continual pain, and that is why this model may be the right option for you if you are looking for an ergonomic choice. The unique design is adjustable to fit many body arts and is equipped with a strap that will help place just the right amount of pressure on those sore neck and back muscles.

3. Best for Full Body: Snailax Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager

Though this unit is an excellent option for the back and neck, its design allows for the full body, from the neck to upper legs, to be treated with a nice shiatsu massage. Its heated nodes and their rotation may be the trick to relieving all the built-up tension in your body from a long day of work.

Editor’s Pick: Best Massagers for Upper Back Pain

Preview
Best Choice
Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager - Kneading Massage Pillow with Heat for Shoulders, Lower Back, Calf - Use at Home and Car, Black, (ZMA-13-BK)
For Ergonomics
Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager with Heat Deep Kneading Massage for Neck, Back, Shoulder, Foot and Legs, Use at Home, Car, Office
For Full Body
Snailax shiatsu Neck & Back Massager with Heat, Full Back Kneading Shiatsu or Rolling Massage, Massage Chair pad with Height Adjustment, Relieve Muscle Pain for Back Shoulder and Neck
Name
Zyllion Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager
Naipo Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager
Snailax Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager
Nodes
4
8
4
Power
110 – 240V
100 - 240V
110 – 240V
Key Feature
3D Deep Kneading Nodes
Auto Shut Off
Multiple Massage Zones
Best Choice
Preview
Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager - Kneading Massage Pillow with Heat for Shoulders, Lower Back, Calf - Use at Home and Car, Black, (ZMA-13-BK)
Name
Zyllion Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager
Nodes
4
Power
110 – 240V
Key Feature
3D Deep Kneading Nodes
See More Details
For Ergonomics
Preview
Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager with Heat Deep Kneading Massage for Neck, Back, Shoulder, Foot and Legs, Use at Home, Car, Office
Name
Naipo Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager
Nodes
8
Power
100 - 240V
Key Feature
Auto Shut Off
See More Details
For Full Body
Preview
Snailax shiatsu Neck & Back Massager with Heat, Full Back Kneading Shiatsu or Rolling Massage, Massage Chair pad with Height Adjustment, Relieve Muscle Pain for Back Shoulder and Neck
Name
Snailax Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager
Nodes
4
Power
110 – 240V
Key Feature
Multiple Massage Zones
See More Details

Massager for Upper Back Pain Buying Guide

Before we dive into the review, there are a few key features you should consider as you cruise through the decision-making process. Knowing the features that play the most significant part in making a model the best choice might prevent you from ending up with something that won’t work for you and your massage needs.

What Causes Muscle Knots In Upper Back?

Also medically known as myofascial trigger points, muscle knots are those small, hard lumps that can be sore to the touch. They develop anywhere in the body but they commonly occur in the shoulders, neck, and back where muscle or fascia is dominant. Specifically, the muscle knots occur in the trapezius muscle, the triangle-like shape of the muscle from the neck to the shoulder and middle of the back.

Common causes of this condition include stress, tension, and injuries associated with lifting. Poor posture and extended time resting on the bed can also cause muscle knots. If you sit for too long without stretching, you also increase the risk of having muscle knots which manifests into chronic upper back pain.

How To Release Upper Back Pain

Trigger point therapy is one way to relieve upper back pain. This involves rubbing and pressing the trigger points. Dry needling is another method of relaxing the trigger points with acupuncture needles.

Massage therapy can also help with an upper back problem. The particular massage treatments you can try are the Swedish massage, neuromuscular therapy, and Shiatsu massage. Swedish massage is characterized by long gliding strokes and kneading actions. Neuromuscular therapy and Shiatsu massage both use different levels of pressure on the sore area.

What To Look For On A Good Massager For Upper Back Pain

If you find it inconvenient to get a masseuse to massage your back regularly, you can get a great massager to do it yourself. Here are some important things to look for.

Adjustable Speed Or Strength Levels

You want a massager with adjustable speed or strength levels to find the right pressure to work on your sore back. This is very helpful if you plan to use it with the whole family because each of us has a different pain threshold.

Massage Nodes

The massage nodes will work like human hands to massage your upper back. The best massager models have at least four massage nodes that move in reverse directions to mimic the hands of a professional massage therapist.

Ease Of Use

Whether it’s a manual or an electric massager, you want it to be convenient to use. Most electric models are shaped like a pillow or have arm flaps to better position the device behind your neck. They allow you to get a massage while sitting in your car or chair.

Other General Features of Massagers

Styles of Massage

When you are looking at the different models below, you will notice that each one will use one or multiple special massage techniques. Here are a few you may encounter:

  • Shiatsu: This is by far the most common. This method simulates the feel of a masseuse gently rolling their palms and fingers over pressure points. This method is excellent for stress relief and relaxation.
  • Kneading: This is yet another favorite in the construction of massagers. This massage technique takes soft tissue and presses against the bone to help loosen muscles.
  • Vibration: This is not the typical style of a neck or back massager. This method will be found more in chairs or pads. This method is excellent for blood circulation and relaxation.

Heat

You will want to look for one that has heat therapy, a feature most  massagers have. Heat therapy is useful for increasing the flexibility and circulation of blood through your muscles. One thing to look at when dealing with the heat quotient though is an auto shut-off function. If you leave it running for too long, you may experience burns.

Some things of note:
  • Heat shouldn’t be scorching hot.
  • You shouldn’t use heat therapy every time.
  • It may take some time for the massager to fully warm up.

Power

You may also want to consider power source. There are a couple of options, and this could very well be one of the most important factors to consider, depending on what you are looking for.

Here are the different power sources you may run into:

Battery Operated

These types of massager use batteries as the main power source. Typically, they use lithium batteries that have longer lives and can often be recharged. The more features you use when on battery, the shorter their life.

Electrically Powered

These massagers will have to be plugged into a wall socket as they are powered by electricity. When looking at a model that uses electricity, you may want to pay attention to how long the cord is.

There are more factors that you can use to determine which massager is right for you, but these are the biggest ones to pay attention to.

7 Best Massagers for Upper Back Pain Reviews

1. Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

The Zyllion Shiatsu Massager uses heat and multiple nodes to ensure that you get the most from its compact, ergonomic design. The addition of a car charger also gives this model a level of portability that far surpasses other models on our list.

The only drawback to this model solely resides with the flexibility and stiffness of this unit. In the end, this is a well built, versatile option for those that need relief from stress and pain of a long day of work.

PROS:
  • Great massage capacity with heat
  • Can attach to car seat
  • Able to charge in the car
  • Ergonomic design
  • Built-in auto shut-off
CONS:
  • Not very flexible
  • Nodes don’t work for everybody
Best For:

This neck massager is great for on-the-go parents that need relief anywhere and everywhere.

2. Naipo Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager

This model from Naipo has the most nodes on our list, and that helps give this massager a versatility of massage points. It is easy to use and offers a nicely designed ergonomic build.

Being tied to the wall socket means you must sit in one place, and this could be something that doesn’t work for you and your life.

PROS:
  • Multiple massaging nodes
  • Great heating function
  • Easy to use
  • Ergonomic design
CONS:
  • Massage may be too vigorous for some
  • Better to be used when sitting
  • The heat function is a little cooler than some would like
Best For:

The Naipo Shiatsu massager is an excellent option for those that work at a desk all day and suffer from extensive neck and upper back pain.

3. Snailax Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager

This massager features a different build than the others, it is built in a such a way that you can sit and get a whole-body massage. The intensity of the massage can be controlled with a corded controller.

The one place where this massager needs improvement is the fact that it is great for upper back pain, but the lower back seems to be overlooked in the node design.

PROS:
  • Professional level massages
  • The intensity of the massage is easy to adjust
  • Easy to clean
  • Comes with a corded controller
  • Built with heat protection
CONS:
  • Not particularly designed for the lower back
Best For:

This is another excellent option for office workers and can be used throughout the day to make sure sore muscles or pains are taken care of.

4. Body Back Buddy Trigger Point Back Massager

No electricity and no batteries required, the Buddy massages your whole body manually using 11 knobs and 3 knob types. This S-shaped massager is made of high-density polyethylene, making it very strong and durable. The single-piece construction is rigid and comfortable enough to trigger the muscle knots in your neck, back, and shoulders.

This hand-held massage stick is 24.5 inches tall so it still fits nicely in a large piece of luggage. Surprisingly, it doesn’t need much force to get good results. Be careful not to pull or push too hard because your upper back might get more sore.

PROS:
  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easy to target your upper back
  • Includes a detailed poster for instructions
  • Convenient to use anywhere
CONS:
  • You need to apply a bit of pressure to work on different angles
  • Larger than similar products
Best For:

Buddy is perfect for trigger point therapy. It has 11 nodes to trigger different pressure points for upper back pain. It’s super lightweight so you can bring it anywhere.

5. RENPHO Electric Percussion Massager

While other massagers need to be plugged into a wall socket to work, the RENPHO Electric Percussion Massager is cordless. This handheld massager is built with a 2600mAh lithium battery to serve you up to 140 minutes of massage. Its powerful motor can deliver up to 3,600 pulses per minute, which is enough to give you a deep tissue massage.

This percussion massager comes with five massager heads: the round-ball and one-point head for relaxing tight muscles on the shoulder and back; the curved head for arms and legs; the 3-points head for joints, and the 3-intensive head for eliminating fatigue.

PROS:
  • Built with a long-lasting rechargeable battery
  • Portable and flexible
  • Shuts down after 20 minutes of use
  • Powerful motor
  • Adjustable strength and speed
CONS:
  • It works very loud
  • A bit heavy to use in the upper back
Best For:

The RENPHO Electric Percussion Massager is perfect to bring anywhere, even in isolated areas where there’s no electricity. It’s rechargeable and you can use it cordless.

6. RESTECK Electric Shiatsu Massager

The RESTECK Electric Shiatsu Massager is designed to reduce the acute pains and muscle soreness of your back, neck, shoulder, waist, abdomen, thighs, legs, foot, and calf. It features eight massage nodes with heat function to enjoy the most comfortable massage ever. It may be a bit awkward at first, but it feels so relaxing once you know the best placement of the massager on your neck and shoulders.

This massager is made of leather with soft fabric that covered the nodes. It has an auto shut down feature to help you save energy and three-speed/intensity levels to suit your needs. This massager kit offers everything you’ll need such as a shiatsu massager, carry, bag, car adapter, wall AC adapter, and a user manual.

PROS:
  • Durable and well-made
  • Includes a nice carry bag for storage
  • Has a sleek design
  • Versatile and comfortable
  • Offers a heat option
CONS:
  • Needs to be used near a wall socket
Best For:

The RESTECK Electric Shiatsu Massager is great for people on the go. It includes a car adapter to use in your car and a bag to carry your massager everywhere in the office, camping, or traveling.

7. InvoSpa Shiatsu 3D Kneading Massager

InvoSpa is quite similar to RESTECK with the way you wear it around your neck and pull the handles down for great positioning, This massager is designed with eight massage roller balls that change in two directions every minute for better massage effects. It features three- speed strength levels to get the right amount of pressure for relieving upper back pain.

The infrared heat function is useful in reducing muscle tension and stress in your neck and shoulders. This massager has an auto shut-off function that shutdowns the unit after 15 minutes of use. The package includes a wall adapter, a car charger, and a carry bag for great portability.

PROS:
  • Full control with the arm flaps
  • Adjustable speed levels
  • Easy to use and position behind your neck
  • Comes with a durable bag and car charger
  • Massage nodes can change direction
CONS:
  • Weak heat function
  • Needs to be plugged into a socket
Best For:

The InvoSpa Shiatsu 3D Kneading Massager is great for home and car use. It includes a car charger and a carry bag for storage.

FAQs:

Q: What is a back massager?

A back massager is a device that simulates the feel of the hands of a masseuse. It can be built to use multiple different styles and may come in many different shapes and materials.

Q: Can I use a back massager when pregnant?

You should consult with your physician before using a massager during pregnancy. Before you do that though, make sure you read the instructions or manual, this information is often stated within the booklet.

Q: What are the benefits of a back massager?

There are a lot of great benefits that using a back massager can bring to your life. Some of them are listed below:

  • Relief from back pain
  • Elevated mood
  • Better sleep
  • Better circulation

Q: Can lower back pain cause upper back pain?

Not necessarily. A sedentary life or poor sitting posture causes upper back pain. In some cases, the lower back pain radiates to the upper back pain as a shared symptom of back problems.

Q: Is massage good for upper back pain?

Yes, massage can help relieve the spasm/irritation and enhance the range of motion. It increases blood circulation and may help in reliving muscle soreness.

Q: How do you know if back pain is muscular?

Your back pain is muscularly related if you feel muscle ache and stabbing pain. The pain sometimes spread out down your leg and it worsens when you move. If the pain improves when you recline, then your back pain may be due to muscle knots or tension.

Q: Is electric massager good for health?

Like a human massage, an electric massager can help soothe and relax your sore muscles. They’re available either as corded or cordless, in different shapes and features.

Q: How long should you use an electric massager?

A traditional massage for a particular body part would usually take about 20 minutes. But for an electric massager, it only takes about 10 minutes. An electric massager tends to be more efficient at kneading the deep muscles without causing any discomfort.

Conclusion

In the end, what you want when looking for the best massager for upper back pain is versatility and portability.

That is why of all the fantastic options on our list the Zyllion Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager is the best choice on the market today.

In fact, for the price, you get so much when you choose this massager as your go-to stress and muscle pain relief that it is a significant investment.

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