Are Back Massagers Good For You? The Benefits and the Downside

Updated on
Written by Mia Jozipovic
Expert Review by Jonathan Dennett BSC (hons) MSC DC

Suffering from back pain? Considered using a massager to relieve discomfort? Our comprehensive guide covers the benefits of these powerful tools but also the cons too.

Ugh, getting back pain can be a real nuisance!  A massager can massively help reduce the discomfort you feel.   

So how can it actually help you?

Key Takeaway

The Japanese therapy, Shiatsu is believed to harmonize and stimulate the flow of the body’s energy, Qi. Shiatsu massagers apply pressure to specific acupressure points using rotating nodes or balls. They follow a particular pathway, imitating the hand movements of a human masseuse.

And as the cherry on top – it can help you totally relax and recharge your batteries after an exhausting day. 

Although using a massager for back pain is generally a good idea their are some exceptions when you should be careful when using back massagers especially electric massagers. We’ll get on to those later but first the good news.

The Agony of Back Pain: My Experience and Road to Recovery

Back pain is the absolute worst. It can be so annoying and make it hard to focus on anything else while suffering even when the pain is not that extreme pain but a dull persistent throb.

I remember when I woke up one morning with a sore back and thought, ‘What in the world is happening?’ 

Then it dawned on me — my mattress was absolute rubbish! 

And I probably made some weird movements while sleeping. After going through this pain, I knew I had to take action quickly to avoid making the situation worse.

Along with taking pain medication, my mom bought me a back massager. While I was initially skeptical about using it, I was willing to try anything to feel better.

This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we’ve discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost.

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Credit: Amazon

I’ve been using it for a couple of days, and it was honestly a real lifesaver for me. At first, I used the massager for short periods to prevent overuse, and then I gradually increased the duration of usage.

I truly enjoy enjoyed its features and I’m sure it sped up my recovery process.

P.S. I still use it after a hard day at work, even when I’m feeling completely healthy. It’s simply my favorite relaxation tool.

The Good – Ways a Massager Can Help Ease Pack Ache

Increases Blood Flow

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Massagers can help with pain relief by increasing blood flow to the area. The pressure and manipulation of the muscles help to stimulate circulation, bringing extra oxygen and nutrients to the sore tissues.

This in turn reduces inflammation and encourages healing.

Promotes Muscle Relaxation

Muscle tension is another culprit that causes back pain. That’s where a massager comes to the rescue again. The pressure on certain areas can help in releasing muscle knots and tightness, ultimately enhancing muscle flexibility.

As a result, you’ll feel a significant sense of relief and comfort.

Releases Endorphins

Using a massager for back pain comes with another perk – release the endorphins! 

Endorphins are like a natural anesthetic that your body produces, and they can help alleviate discomfort and promote relaxation. 

Massaging helps in stimulating the release of these painkillers, giving you an all-natural way to manage back pain. Plus, the feeling of relaxation and relief that comes with endorphins improves sleep and stress levels. 

What a great way to ease up, isn’t it?

Breaks up Scar Tissue

Another great benefit comes in the form of scar tissue break-up. Injuries, surgeries, or overuse can cause scar tissue buildup in the muscles of the back, leading to stiffness and ongoing pain.

However, by applying pressure and increasing blood flow to the affected area, massagers can break up the scar tissue and relieve these symptoms.

Improves Posture

And did you know that a massager can also be a great way to improve posture? This especially matters as we age because poor posture can lead to a host of health problems, not just back pain but also respiratory issues.

Tight muscles in the back can cause you to hunch forward and disrupt the delicate alignment of the spine as well as affecting the internal organs. Massagers can easily target the associated muscles and realign the musculature of the back. 

Result? Better posture and reduced pain

I understand how tough it can be to correct poor posture once it’s established. So, as someone who helps people with posture issues, I suggest using a massager regularly to avoid discomfort and prevent poor posture from starting.

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Increases Flexibility

Using a massager on your back not only helps with pain and posture but also increases flexibility. Your back muscles can be so tight that they limit your movement and make it hard to just move around.

Again, this is especially true as we get older.

A massage helps to relax and loosen those tight muscles so you can easily move and enjoy physical activities. 

Reduces Stress

Stress can cause tension in the back muscles and lead to aches, discomfort, and pain. Luckily, a good massager can help promote relaxation and reduce that tension. 

The best part?

You don’t even have to leave your home or spend so much money on different massage therapies. Basically, you can create your own spa oasis in the living room.

Provides Pain Relief

In nutshell, a massager is a great way to provide much-needed pain relief, particularly for those who go through chronic back pain. 

So,  what can a good massager do for you?

  • It targets the root cause of the pain.
  • It releases tension in the muscles.
  • It reduces inflammation.
  • It increases blood flow to the affected area. 

Additionally, a massager is an attractive option for anyone who wants to get rid of their back pain in a non-invasive and drug-free manner.

Types of Massagers for Effective Back Pain Relief

There are several types of massagers that can effectively alleviate back pain. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Handheld massagers – They are usually small and portable, allowing you to easily target specific areas of the back. Make sure to check out Midlife Hacks’ recommendations for the top handheld massagers here.
  • Shiatsu massagers – Rotating nodes mimic the finger pressure of a shiatsu massage therapist and provide deep tissue relief.
  • Percussion massagers –  Rapid back-and-forth motion provides a powerful and intense massage, and breaks up knots and tense muscles.
  • Vibrating massagers – High-frequency vibrations penetrate the muscle tissue and promote relaxation.
  • Foam rollers – Specific cylindrical shape helps in stretching and releasing tense muscles in the back.

These massage tools are ones that can be applied to yourself with some level of ease. The other option, and maybe the best for a back massage is a massuese, a chiropractor or a very close other.

A chiropractor is well versed in the muscular and skeletal makeup and would be able to use the correct strength on the correct areas of the back. It might not always be pleasurable at the time but will be the most beneficial massage in the mid to long term.

At this moment, you might be wondering ”What massager is the best for me“?  Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. It all depends on your individual needs and the type of pain you’re going through. 

However, if you’re looking to prevent future back pain, then I highly recommend putting a foam roller in your daily routine. Trust me, your back will thank you later.

This article includes affiliate links. If you choose to purchase any of the products we’ve discussed in this article, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost.

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Credit: Amazon

Just a heads up – we’ve got an awesome guide featuring the best back massagers in 2023! You might want to give it a look.

The Bad – When To Be Wary of Back Massagers

I’m not there yet but as you get older, you get more aches and pains and so massages are good, yes?

  • Associated with aging may be underlying issues such as arthritis, osteoporosis or chronic vascular problems. If that’s the case you should seek guidance from your medical practitioner or chiropractor before using an electric back massager – or a manual one come to that.
  • Some severe physical injuries should not be treated directly, especially with intrusive massagers like percussion. It can hinder the body’s natural anti-inflammatory process. Avoid swellings that are not muscular.
  • Similarly, avoid open wounds. Massaging these areas could stimulate blood flow and negate the natural healing process.
  • Regions of the back or body should be avoided that have suffered trauma. Falls or other accidents should be first assessed by a clinician before attempting a massage with an electric massager.


Are massagers safe to use for back pain?

Yes, massagers are generally safe to use. Just follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and avoid overusing them. And of course, if you have any medical issues, consult with your doctor before starting with your DIY massage therapy. See points above.

How often should I use a massager for back pain?

It’s completely okay to use a massager on your back every day. Just take it slow. Start with shorter sessions. If anything ever feels uncomfortable, just stop and ask for professional help.

Can a massager help prevent back pain?

Using a massager can help prevent back pain. It can boost circulation, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation, preventing back pain. 

At the end of the day, prevention is always better than cure. So, don’t wait until the pain hits, a regular gentle massage helps especially for those aches and pains in later life. Start taking care of your back today to keep it ready for whatever life throws your way.

Photo of author
I'm Mia, a 25-year-old fitness enthusiast who's on a mission to help people look and feel amazing. I live and breathe health and wellness, and you can often find me in the gym, trying out new recipes in the kitchen, or exploring the great outdoors. I love pushing myself to new limits and inspiring others to do the same.

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