A quality neck or back massager is well worth the investment if you have knots or pain in your neck or lower back. Not only are they relatively inexpensive when compared to treatment from a professional, but they are also ready to use when and wherever you may need them.

There are all kinds of different designs to choose from that can target precisely the right area that you may have sore or tense muscles. Whether you need it at home, the office, while traveling or in the car, we have rounded up some of the most popular and best quality neck and back massagers to help you find one that is right for you.

Zyllion ZMA-14-BK

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Zyllion ZMA-14 Shiatsu neck and back massager cushion with heat is an excellent option if you need deep kneading and rolling technique at the neck, upper and lower back. The heat helps to relax tight muscles while the vibrating motors at the hip and the up-down motion of the nodes provide an overall experience that helps with pain relief on both your lower and upper areas. It is designed to mimic what you would feel if you had a massage with human hands. It is pretty heavy-duty, quite sturdy and works exceptionally well on the neck area. You can use this device at home or the office; it just needs to be placed on almost any kind of chair where you secure it with an adjustable strap. It comes with a one year warranty.

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 Zyllion ZMA-13

The ZMA-13 is another excellent option from Zyllion. This model is designed with a curve to accommodate the shape of the neck and upper back to penetrate deeply into the neck muscles for a deep kneading. It uses deep-kneading shiatsu nodes that automatically changes direction every minute for a relaxing experience. The ergonomic pillow design works particularly well for the neck and upper back, but you can also use it on your abdomen, calf, and thigh areas. It comes with handle straps that you can use to either attach to a chair or to adjust the position of the pillow in any situation that you are using it. It does have an easy to turn off and on heat function, and it has a 20-minute auto-shutoff feature for safety.

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 Thera Cane

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It doesn’t look like much, but the Thera Cane can work wonders on back pain. This simple self-massager makes it easy to apply compression to knots on your back (and other areas on your body). What makes it so great to use on yourself is that the unique design allows to you reach the hard to reach areas that you may have trouble getting to with an electric device. There are a few different versions put out by different companies that have a similar design with the kind of studded round therapy balls that you apply to sore muscles to try to work out knots and ease muscles, but the Thera Cane is one of the original makers of this type of design. It can be used pretty much anywhere since you don’t need an electrical power source and you can use it while standing, lying or sitting. It comes with a detailed illustrated instruction manual and a lifetime guarantee.

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 Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow with Heat

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The Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow is a fantastic option to help with neck and back self-massage due to its strap design. This design is excellent because it enables you to avoid putting your arms in an awkward position to get at a difficult to reach area. This model is an 8-node shiatsu device with heat. While it is perfect for the upper back and neck, it can also be used on many other parts of your body. It has an auto-shut off for safety, and you can use it almost anywhere since it is very lightweight. It comes with a 6 ft AC power adapter as well as a car adapter so you can use it in the car if needed.

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Pure-Wave CM7

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Pure-Wave Body & Facial Massager is one of the more popular styles of a design of electric devices. What is interesting about this model is that it is cordless, so you don’t have to worry about the cord getting in the way or restricting where you can use the unit. This model only weighs about 1.75 lb, so it is pretty lightweight and easy to maneuver. It has variable speeds, so you can use it on the moderate speed if you are looking for a light massage or if you need something deeper you can increase the rate up to 3,700 RPM. It also has six different heads that work well for different body parts. This Pure-Wave model is a best seller, but some users have complained that because it is cordless, it has a battery, but you can’t change or replace the battery yourself if it dies. If it does die you have to send it to the manufacturer, but it isn’t clear if there is a cost to do this. It comes in white or black.

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Jeanie Rub PRO-3401

The Jeanie Rub Variable Speed Massager is a classic, heavy-duty back option. This is a device you would get if you want something really powerful. This company has been producing massagers since 1966, so they have had a lot of experience perfecting this device. This particular model is quite large and has a powerful 1-amp motor that can produce rapid and invigorating speed if you need a deep massage. It weighs about 8 pounds that helps add to the pressure. You can also run it at a lower rate if you prefer a more soothing treatment, although it doesn’t have heat or offer any kneading action. If you are planning on using this on your back you will need someone else to use the device on you; the design doesn’t allow you to use it on yourself because of the position of the grips. The Jeanie Rub is made in the U.S.A from cast aluminum with a red and black powder coat finish that gives it a high-quality durable feel. It comes with a one year warranty and it has a 120V AC Nominal Power Source that you need to use with a 12 foot grounded power cord.

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Why Buy a Back Massager?

Massagers are great devices to help deal with aches and pains, as well as being beneficial for many different types of chronic conditions. They are an effective way to help get rid of knots in the neck and back, while at the same time improving circulation. They can help reduce and manage stress, improve blood pressure and possibly give you increased flexibility in your muscles. Whether you need heat therapy, or a deep tissue massage these devices are inexpensive, straightforward to use, and they deliver great results.

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Features to Look for

Technique– Each of the devices use different methods of massage technique. The most popular methods of electric units are shiatsu, kneading, and vibration. Heat is also used in combination with other techniques to provide the most benefit.

Heat – Many of the top devices offer a heat on/off function. For most individuals the combination of the heat with the massage is very beneficial because it helps to loosen the muscles, making them more pliable and receptive for healing.

Body Part– If you are buying for a particular area of the body, most products list what areas they work best on. Some great devices are specially made for the neck and the back, but if you want a tool that you can use on other body parts, you can look for the strap design or long slim handheld models.

Weight- The weight of a device can play a significant role in how easy it is to use. If you are going to be using it on yourself, you will probably want to look for a lightweight device. If you want a device that is powerful and you have a partner who will be able to use it on you, then you may want a more substantial device that can give you more pressure. If you are planning on using the machine while traveling, ensure that you consider the weight as well as the size of any device that you are considering purchasing.

Multiple Speeds or Modes – Variable speeds are handy to have if different family members who may have different sensitivity to pressure or speed will be using the device. Also, it is useful to have different speeds since some days your muscles will be sorer than other days, so the ability to change-up the speed or pressure is a huge plus.

Auto Shutoff – If the unit has a heat setting, make sure it also has an auto shutoff for safety.

Power: There are a few different types of power sources you can get. Most powered devices have an AC Adapter, and if you are lucky, it will also include a car adapter that you can plug into your cigarette lighter. There are also many models that take batteries or that are rechargeable, making them great for travel or use in other countries.

Warranty – The warranty lengths for the majority of these types of products tend to be a 1-year limited factory warranty. If you buy a device like the Thera Cane, it has a lifetime warranty.

Design – There are many different designs of massager to choose from that will suit almost everyone’s different needs. Below we have listed some of the most popular products that have a variety of different designs. Before purchasing a device ask yourself where and when you will be using it (home, car, or office) and what your specific problem areas are. Answering those types of questions will help you figure out what is the best design for you.

Types

There is quite a lot of choice when you are choosing a massager; the following are a few of the methods to be aware of:

Shiatsu – Shiatsu is a type of massage that applies pressure to the body using fingers or the palm. The devices that are “Shiatsu Massagers” are trying to recreate the feeling of fingers moving across a body. Usually, Shiatsu units have squeezing mechanisms, or rolling nubs are used to try to feel like fingers.

Kneading or Squeezing – This is one of the most common types of massage techniques and units that use this method are trying to recreate the feeling of fingers and hands giving a massage. These types of devices are usually very relaxing and are great for many different pain and muscle concerns.

Vibrating – Vibrating options use vibration to shake the body part while also using pressure. You can use it on most areas of the body; it works loosing up your muscles. They are very common, and most users find them to be very beneficial.
Infrared – Infrared massagers (usually combined with heat) help to improve blood circulation by relieving the pressure that surrounds blood passageways. It uses infrared energy, or heat, that penetrates cells and tissues and helps to ease muscle and joint pain. It may also help reduce muscle stiffness and swelling in joints.
Muscle Rollers – Muscle rollers are an inexpensive way to achieve some of the benefits of massage but without breaking the bank. You use them on yourself, and they can help relieve pressure, stiffness, and tensions when applied to various body parts. It is a type of shiatsu or acupressure.
Thumping – Thumping massagers try to recreate the feeling of someone beating you with a closed fist, it doesn’t tend to be a widespread technique in North America, and some experts recommend that you only use it on the thigh and buttock area.