Neck pain. We’ve all experienced it, with some people more prone to it than others. It’s a kind of stiffness or soreness that also radiates to other parts of the body, most often the shoulders.
And if you think only the unlucky few are complaining about it, you’re in for a great surprise. A recent study reveals this discomfort afflicts a lot of Americans, so much so that neck pain 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 hunched over their computers the whole day, 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.
- 1 What Causes Neck And Shoulder Pain?
- 2 How To Treat Neck And Shoulder Pain?
- 3 What Is A Neck And Shoulder Massager?
- 4 What Are The Health Benefits Of A Neck Massager?
- 5 How To Choose The Best Neck And Shoulder Massager: The Criteria.
- 6 Best Neck Massager Reviews: Our Top Picks.
- 6.1 Brookstone Shiatsu Neck And Back Massager With Heat.
- 6.2 Homedics Shiatsu Massage Pillow With Heat.
- 6.3 Body Back Buddy Trigger Point Massager.
- 6.4 Thera Cane Massager.
- 6.5 Backnobber® II Massage Tool.
- 6.6 Homedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Massager.
- 6.7 Homedics NMS-375 Shiatsu Neck And Shoulder Massager With Heat.
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.
Brookstone Shiatsu Neck And Back Massager With Heat.
Read Full Review: Brookstone Shiatsu Neck And Back Massager With Heat Review
Homedics Shiatsu Massage Pillow With Heat.
Read Full Review: Homedics Shiatsu Massage Pillow With Heat Review
Body Back Buddy Trigger Point Massager.
Read Full Review: Body Back Buddy Trigger Point Massager Review
Thera Cane Massager.
Read Full Review: Thera Cane Back Massager Review
Backnobber® II Massage Tool.
Read Full Review: Backnobber® II Massage Tool Review
Homedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Massager.
Read Full Review: Homedics HHP-350 Percussion Action Massager Review
Homedics NMS-375 Shiatsu Neck And Shoulder Massager With Heat.
Read Full Review: Homedics NMS-375 Shiatsu Neck And Shoulder Massager With Heat Review