After nearly a month of sifting through the best neck and shoulder massagers on Amazon, and spending two weeks of thorough product research, we found 5 outstanding devices that passed and even exceeded our expectations in terms of massage quality, versatility, heat function, ease of use, warranty, and portability. From these 5, the Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow With Heat brought home the crown, thanks to its impressive features that effectively relieve neck pain and tension at a very affordable price.
The Nekteck neck and shoulder massager doesn’t have a rechargeable battery unlike other more expensive products. However, what it lacks in portability it makes up for in features that truly matter the most. For first-time users, it’s difficult to distinguish it from other similar yet pricier products. However, a closer examination of its features reveals that the nuances of the massage is what sets Nekteck massager apart from its competitors.
Nekteck comes with 8 deep-kneading Shiatsu massage nodes that rotate in two different directions, mimicking the actions of a massage therapist’s hands. The therapeutic heat, which is warmer than what other neck massagers provide, speeds up muscle recovery by increasing blood circulation. Most importantly, Nekteck neck massager is the only one in its category that offers three speed modes, each one providing users with a custom massage experience.
And while it lacks a rechargeable battery, the Nekteck neck and shoulder massager do have a car adapter, making it easy to charge and use this device while you’re stuck in traffic or in the middle of a long road trip.
If you prefer a neck massager with a “cordless” design that allows you to use it virtually anywhere, the truMedic Instashiatsu+ Neck And Back Massager With Heat is a better choice. It also features 8 rotating Shiatsu massage nodes that move in either direction (clockwise and counterclockwise). But unlike Nekteck which automatically shuts off after 15 minutes as an overheating protection mechanism, truMedic operates up to 20 minutes at a time.
The only two cons worth noting for truMedic is its lack of car adapter and its relatively weaker heat. However, these are minor flaws since you can easily charge the device at home before hitting the road or buy an inverter so you can charge it in the car. The heat may be lacking strength but it’s still warm enough to ease muscle pain. Best of all, it also comes with a free carry bag for easier transfer and travel.
Looking for the cheapest alternative? Try HoMedics NMS-375 Shiatsu Neck And Shoulder Massager With Heat. This massager is very lightweight and has a 2-year limited product warranty, the longest among the neck massagers we’ve reviewed. It’s also the only one that offers both vibration and Shiatsu massage (through its 2 rotating massage nodes), giving you more variety in terms of massage style.
However, with a cheaper price comes a few disadvantages. It has neither a rechargeable battery nor a car adapter usually seen in its more expensive counterparts. It also won’t work as effectively on your shoulders, back, arms, or calves unless you try a few awkward positions. Heat is also nothing to write home about. Worse, it doesn’t even light up to indicate if the heat is on.
If you’re short on budget but willing to endure all the minor inconveniences that come with it, then HoMedics NMS-375 will suit you well.
- 1 Best Neck Massagers: An Overview.
- 2 What Causes Neck And Shoulder Pain?
- 3 How To Treat Neck And Shoulder Pain?
- 4 What Is A Neck And Shoulder Massager?
- 5 What Are The Health Benefits Of A Neck Massager?
- 6 How To Choose The Best Neck And Shoulder Massager: The Criteria.
- 7 Best Neck Massager Reviews: Our Top Picks.
- 7.1 Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow With Heat.
- 7.2 truMedic Instashiatsu Plus Neck And Back Massager With Heat.
- 7.3 Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager With Heat.
- 7.4 Bruntmor Cordless Shiatsu Neck And Back 3D Heat Kneading Massager.
- 7.5 Brookstone Shiatsu Neck And Back Massager With Heat.
- 7.6 HoMedics NMS-375 Shiatsu Neck And Shoulder Massager With Heat.
Best Neck Massagers: An Overview.
Neck pain. We’ve all experienced it at one point in our lives. For some, however, it’s becoming more like a cockroach under the fridge that just won’t die.
People who experience neck pain usually have desk jobs that keep them sitting all day everyday. They also include students who have tons of reading materials and almost no time to relax. Both groups have things in common: They have poor posture and usually spend hours hunched over their computers, resulting in neck strains or spasms that drastically affect their productivity.
A recent study reveals neck pain afflicts a lot of Americans, so much so that it accounts for more than 10 million annual medical visits in the country.
Medical interventions for neck pain are usually intended for those with a serious underlying condition. For most Americans who work in their computers, however, a good ‘ol massage is often enough to relieve the pain.
This guide provides everything you need to know about neck pain and how massage–either through the traditional way or the use of the best neck massage machine–can help you cope with it.
What Causes Neck And Shoulder Pain?
Our neck is a delicate structure that supports our head and everything inside it. It’s made of muscles, ligaments, bones, and cervical discs that all work together to ensure your neck moves and functions normally. Thus, any abnormality that affects one of these structures can lead to neck pain or stiffness.
Thus, any abnormality that affects one of these structures can lead to neck pain or stiffness.
The most common causes of neck pain include wrong sleeping position, sports-related injury, and poor posture. The last one is best exemplified by office workers or gamers who spend crazy hours in front of their computers while in a slumped position. Other
Other possible causes of neck pain are the following:
⇒Trauma from accidents; whiplash.
⇒Degenerative diseases like arthritis.
⇒Any abnormality in the neck bone or joints.
More often than not, pain in the neck also involves the shoulders as the two are connected through the trapezius muscle. The shoulder is particularly vulnerable to injuries because of the mobility of its ball and socket joint. Some of the common causes of shoulder pain include:
⇒Dislocation or fractures.
⇒Tendonitis due to overuse.
⇒Muscle strains from exercise or contact sports.
⇒Pinched nerves or radiculopathy.
Neck and shoulder pain can be easily treated with complementary therapies such as massage. In more serious cases, however, a traditional approach is required. If your neck pain persists for more than a week and is accompanied by alarming symptoms, please consult your doctor immediately.
How To Treat Neck And Shoulder Pain?
Treatment for the neck and shoulder pain depends on the severity of the condition. It can range from anti-inflammatory medications or pain relievers to surgical procedures in cases involving nerve roots or the spinal cord.
Because of the risks that go along with medications and invasive procedures, more and more patients are now resorting to complementary therapy for pain relief. This includes massage therapy given by trained therapists who know how to safely manipulate the neck and shoulder muscles.
Equally effective are devices designed to mimic the actions of the therapist’s fingers and hands. The best massager for neck and shoulder pain is lightweight and portable, providing you the convenience of getting a relaxing massage without relying on someone else’s hands.
What Is A Neck And Shoulder Massager?
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, a one-hour massage by a professional massage therapist cost $65 on average. Some spas and therapists in other US cities charge even more. The increasing cost of massage–not to mention our lack of time to visit a spa–force many to choose the next best alternative.
Neck and shoulder massagers are affordable devices (with an average price of less than $100) that are designed with different mechanisms to release muscle tension. These massagers are of two types–manual and electric.
Those in the first category are the cheapest, but require the users to have some arm mobility and flexibility. Therefore, people with severe arthritis in the arms or any condition that restrict arm movements may find it hard to use this massager.
Electric massagers are the more popular options. They run automatically and can provide shiatsu- or percussion-style massage with a click of a button. Choosing between the two types of massagers depend on what kind of massage you prefer.
Do you want full control over the intensity and doesn’t like being stuck near a power outlet just to use the device? Then manual massagers are a good fit for you. However, if you have issues with arm strength and prefers a massager that does all the hard work, then electric massagers are a better choice.
What Are The Health Benefits Of A Neck Massager?
Although more scientific data are needed to prove the effectiveness of neck massage, recent findings have been pointing towards the right direction.
In a study published in 2009 in the Clinical Journal of Pain, 64 adults who had been suffering from persistent neck pain for at least 12 weeks were given either massage or self-care book. After 4, 10, and 26 weeks, the result for each group was measured.
Those who received massage 10 times within 10 weeks reported a more significant improvement in function and symptoms than those who only received a self-care book. At the end of 26 weeks, the self-care-book group also increased their medication intake by 14%, higher than the massage group whose medication use remained the same.
This study, funded by NCCIH and done at the Group Health Center in Seattle, proved that neck massage can treat pain if done regularly.
As for the right dose of massage that is most effective in relieving pain, another study published in the Annals of Family Medicine provides an answer.
Led by Karen Sherman, senior scientific investigator at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, the researchers assigned 228 participants to six different groups, each varying in terms of the duration and frequency of massage they received per week.
When the results were in, they discovered that those who received an hour (60 minutes) of massage for two to three times a week were “five times as likely to have a clinically meaningful improvement in function and over twice as likely to report a clinically meaningful decrease in pain.”
How To Choose The Best Neck And Shoulder Massager: The Criteria.
To separate the wheat from the chaff, we used the same criteria that helped us tremendously in finding the best back massagers on the market. The following criteria have been chosen with the user’s satisfaction and convenience in mind–some more important than others, but all of them necessary to help us find the best neck massager.
The following criteria have been chosen with the user’s satisfaction and convenience in mind–some more important than others, but all of them necessary to help us find the best neck massager.
The best neck massagers stand out not because of their design but due to their excellent massage feature. Although nothing can take the place of a therapist’s touch, these massagers should have the technology that closely simulates human massage.
There are basic types of neck and shoulder massager, each of which is designed for a specific purpose. If you want a shiatsu-style massage that doesn’t require users to move their arms, massage pillows are the best option. You simply lean against it and let the rotating nodes do all the hard work.
For more control or a deeper muscle penetration, a manual trigger point massager like Thera Cane or Body Back Buddy can give you the stimulation you need.
The best massager for neck should be flexible enough to provide the same quality of massage to other parts of the body.
Versatility is a key component in an ideal neck massager because not only it adds value to the product but also helps the user deal with body pain that often comes in twos or threes. This means that neck pain rarely hits without also affecting the shoulders and back.
The more parts a neck massager can massage, the higher the value it has.
Heat is a crucial part of muscle recovery as it boosts blood circulation. When blood flow is increased in a certain area, both the nutrients and metabolic wastes are delivered or eliminated more efficiently. Therefore, in order for complete healing to be established, the best neck and shoulder massager should provide heat.
And it shouldn’t be any kind of heat: It must have the right amount of temperature–neither too weak that users feel they’ve been tricked nor too hot that it can already cause burns.
Ease of Use.
An ideal neck massager is easy to operate even by the elderly users. There should be a designated function for each button so users can easily choose a specific setting without pressing several times.
You should also know when and how you prefer to use the neck and shoulder massager. For example, manual and some electric massagers require the users to have minimum arm strength and flexibility. Examples are devices that need to be pulled down using your arms to achieve the desired pressure.
If you prefer to have an uninterrupted massage while sitting and working in front of the computer, avoid choosing handheld massagers. Instead, buy those that you can attach to your chair—like massage pillows with straps–and that can deliver massage seamlessly without you lifting a finger.
The presence of a product warranty is an indication that the company is serious about their product and is in this for the long haul.
A neck massager should come with at least 1-year limited product warranty. This ensures the device will be fixed or replaced in case it breaks down within 1 year from the date of purchase. Other things you should look for is the manufacturer’s website, customer support hotline/email, and whether or not they offer a money-back guarantee.
Size & Weight.
The portability of the massager is an important consideration if you’re looking forward to using it in your car or putting it inside your luggage during travels.
Some neck massagers are heavier and bulkier than others, making them more ideal for home or office use. Others are extremely lightweight and can be broken into two parts, making them easier to travel with.
Best Neck Massager Reviews: Our Top Picks.
What is the best neck and shoulder massager? To answer this question, we relied on the above criteria and also collated expert opinions as well as customer feedback for each product on Amazon. Lastly, we’ve ensured that the cream of the crop
Lastly, we’ve ensured that all chosen products have at least 4-star rating and that the best neck massager reviews have been verified through Fakespot.com to guarantee their accuracy.
Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow With Heat.
The Good: It comes with a car adapter so you can use it in the middle of a long commute or road trip. The only neck massager we’ve reviewed so far that offers three speed modes to customize your massage experience. It provides robust massage and a therapeutic heat that is relatively stronger compared to other neck massagers.
The Bad: It doesn’t have a rechargeable battery unlike the more expensive massagers, making it the least ideal to bring during out-of-town trips. The auto shut-off timer restricts operating time to only 15 minutes, a bit shorter than those in other brands. The multiple speed setting also doesn’t offer as much variety as you would have expected.
The Bottom Line: We’ve rated Nekteck neck and back massager as the best in its category due to its excellent heat and massage features. We’ve also taken into consideration other subtle qualities like total number of positive customer reviews on Amazon as well as affordability. So although it lacks a “cordless” design, it compensated by impressing in other aspects. If you want a great product with a good price, Nekteck is the one to beat.
Read Full Review: Nekteck Shiatsu Deep Kneading Massage Pillow With Heat Review
truMedic Instashiatsu Plus Neck And Back Massager With Heat.
The Good: It comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery so it can massage you anywhere you go even if it’s not plugged in. It’s very easy to operate through its 3 buttons. It gives powerful massage without creating annoying noise. The manufacturer also provides a free carry bag for easier transfer and travel.
The Bad: No car adapter. Heat is a little bit on the weak side. Like other neck massagers, it also requires active use of your hands, making it impossible to multi-task while using it. The wrist straps should have been adjustable to fit taller users with longer arms.
The Bottom Line: If you’re after great massage, then buy truMedic Instashiatsu Plus Neck And Back Massager With Heat. On the other hand, if you prefer something that provide equally strong massage and heat, then truMedic might leave you disappointed.
Read Full Review: truMedic Instashiatsu Plus Neck And Back Massager With Heat Review
Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager With Heat.
The Good: An upgraded version of the previous Brookstone neck massager, this device is complete with a rechargeable battery that makes it “cordless” and portable. It also allows you to adjust the pressure of the massage by tightening or relaxing your grip on the two types of handles: one is padded while the other pair above it serves as wrist supports.
The Bad: No car adapter, although you can still use it if fully charged or by buying an inverter. Obese people may find the massage weak because the extra layer of fats and muscles can interfere with the massagers. Since this device requires your hands, you can’t work or type in the computer while using it, which may affect your productivity.
The Bottom Line: Although it’s superior to the other Brookstone neck and back massager in terms of features, I can’t distinguish it from other massagers that are half its price. But Brookstone is known for quality and durability, so that explains why it’s pricier than the rest. Overall, the massage and heat are really incredible, not to mention investing in this device is cost-effective in the long run.
Read Full Review: Brookstone Cordless Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager With Heat Review
Bruntmor Cordless Shiatsu Neck And Back 3D Heat Kneading Massager.
The Good: Equipped with rechargeable battery that can last up to 3 hours (with no heat) after 2 hours of charging. Heat feature has the right temperature: slightly above temperature but not too hot.
The Bad: No car adapter. The handles or arm supports are a bit too short for taller users with longer arms. The manufacturer should have made it adjustable.
The Bottom Line: If you’re 5’8″ or shorter, this massager will offer almost everything you’re looking for in a good neck massager. Unfortunately, those who are 6’0″ or taller may find slipping their arms through the straps/arm supports not only awkward but also uncomfortable.
Read Full Review: Bruntmor Cordless Shiatsu Neck And Back 3D Heat Kneading Massager Review
Brookstone Shiatsu Neck And Back Massager With Heat.
The Good: A basic neck massager with rotating massaging heads, heat feature, and wrist supports which you can use to increase or decrease the pressure of the massage. It’s lightweight and flexible enough to massage different parts of the body apart from the neck.
The Bad: No cordless design nor a car adapter. The heat is also not as impressive compared in other neck massagers.
The Bottom Line: In comparison with other great neck massagers in the same price category, the features of this Brookstone massager is very basic. If you want a good massager from an established brand and at an affordable price, this one should be enough.
Read Full Review: Brookstone Shiatsu Neck And Back Massager With Heat Review
HoMedics NMS-375 Shiatsu Neck And Shoulder Massager With Heat.
The Good: Very cheap and the only neck massager that offers vibration in addition to Shiatsu massage. Comfortable flex handles allow you to adjust massage intensity. Lightweight and is equipped with an overheating protection feature.
The Bad: Good neck massager but it barely touches the shoulders unless you massage them one at a time. Not a good fit for those with wider or larger neck. No car adapter nor a cordless design. Heat is not that strong.
The Bottom Line: With a very affordable price, this device does a fine job by offering heat, Shiatsu, and vibration all at the same time. In terms of massage quality, this Homedics massager works better on the neck that it is on the shoulders.
Read Full Review: HoMedics NMS-375 Shiatsu Neck And Shoulder Massager With Heat Review