The Best Back Massagers for Knots

Stress and long hours sitting at a desk can lead to knots in your back.  It’s uncomfortable and can lead to pain, but it almost seems inevitable in today’s world. When it may not seem possible to make the lifestyle changes needed to prevent back issues, massage may be able to give you some temporary relief.

The hands of a professional masseuse can work magic, but you can’t always go to the spa.  It could get expensive fast.  Don’t worry it is possible to work out some of the tension at home.  There are countless back massagers on the market today, and many are pretty effective at providing some pain relief.  

Let’s take a look at the best back massagers for knots.

Note: This post contains affiliate links.  Please see disclosure for more information.

What Causes Knots in the Back?

Unfortunately, in today’s environment back pain is common. Many jobs require you to sit for hours on end and if you don’t have good posture it can cause physical stress on your spinal muscles.  Furthermore, mental and emotional stress can manifest in muscle tension that may develop into knots (more formally called trigger points).

Muscle knots are stiff bands of muscle that have a hard knob in the center. The most common area for these knots to develop is in the trapezius muscle, which extends from the back of the neck down across the shoulders and upper back.  It experiences a significant  amount of pressure throughout the day, like bearing the weight of a heavy handbag.

main with areas of pain on his back

Are Back Massagers Good for Back Pain?

Massage is a non-invasive, low risk therapy that can relieve back pain in addition to other physical and mental benefits.  Do you need to get a professional massage or can you still get the benefits of massage when you do it at home?

Massage practitioners are highly trained physical therapists, so they know what they are doing when it comes to back massage.   They can also help you to figure out the root causes of your back pain and recommend exercises or changes to your daily routine that will help the back pain in the long term.

When you use a back massager at home, it can still make a significant difference with the pain.  When you work the muscles of the back with a massager, it increases the blood flow which promotes healing.  It also helps release tension (knots) which causes pain and restricts movement.

What to Look for in A Back Massager

The selection of back massagers on the market today can be quite overwhelming.  There are many different types with countless bells and whistles.  What are the features that are important to consider when buying a back massager? Let us try to simplify things for you.

Type of Massage

There are several types of massages offered by back massagers including Shiatsu, vibration, roller, trigger point therapy, and more.  Be sure to choose a massager that offers the type of massage that you enjoy.  If you are not sure, find one that has multiple options.  

Heat

Most back massagers will have a heat feature.  This is important because it can help relax the muscle to make the massage more effective.  The level of heat provided can vary.  It’s also convenient if it has an option to turn the heat off, which may not be needed on a hot day.

Portability

Some back massagers are lightweight and cordless which is desirable if you plan on taking it with you on the go.  Look at battery power and time to charge for cordless massagers.  Also,think about if you will actually use it in different places, if not you don’t need it to be portable.  Some portable back massagers are more expensive and not as powerful.     

Area of Focus

Some back massagers are designed to focus on a small area while other massagers provide larger coverage.  More coverage is not necessarily the better option.  If you tend to have issues in a specific spot, a massager designed to target that area is ideal.

Price

It’s always important to consider your budget on any purchase.  There is a wide range of prices for back massagers.   In many cases, the savings from fewer professional massages will offset the cost very quickly.

Top Back Massagers for Knots

There are a wide range of massagers that are effective at target knots in your back.  This table summarizes the top options and detail reviews follow.


Product

Key Features


Comfier Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager

  • Uses 2D/3D Finger Pressure Shiatsu, Rolling, Air compression, Vibration Massage Techniques
  • Spot Massage Function to Target Knots
  • Heat

MagicMakers Neck and Back Massage Pillow

  • Compact but powerful
  • 8  3-D nodes use bi-directional movement
  • Heat

Mighty Bliss Handheld Massager


  • 6 interchangeable heads with variable speeds
  • Offers trigger point therapy to tackle tough knots
  • can be used for other body parts

Gideon Car Massager

  • Shiatsu nodes that travel up and down your back
  • Heat

Relaxonchair Massage Chair


  • Zero gravity massage chair
  • 5 manual masage modes
  • Heat

Darkiron Massage Gun


  • 3300 percussions per minute to relieve muscle stiffness and knots
  • 6 different shaped massage and 30 speed levels

FITINDEX Vibrating Peanut Massage Ball

  • Special cutting-edge technology with high-intensity vibration
  • Compact and powerful

Comfier Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager

This back massager uses innovative 2D/3D Finger Pressure Shiatsu, Rolling, Air compression, Vibration and Heat functions to give a massage that soothes muscles and eases tension like a spa massage. It has four rotation nodes that move in an inward and outward motion to provide a deep kneading massage for the upper back.

The chair massager gives a soft rolling massage along the spine to ease muscle pain.  The width between the two massage heads can be adjusted to fit the body. The air massage function has three intensity levels so you can get a deep tissue massage if you need it.

The spot massage function allows you to concentrate the massage on one area to target knots.  You can also choose to focus the massage on the lower back, upper back or full back.  The full back massager has an optional infrared heat function on the Shiatsu nodes that delivers gentle warmth to further relax the tension in your muscles.

This massager fits on a sofa, recliner, office chair, or dining chair so that you can enjoy a therapeutic massage in the comfort of your home.  It also makes the perfect gift for anyone with back pain. If this massage chair pad does not meet your expectations for any reason, you can return it for full refund within 30 days.

Read more reviews and check the price here.

What Customers Like

  • Lots of different functions so easy to customize the massage
  • Can focus on one area to get rid of knots
  • Heat helps to relax muscles

What Customers Don't Like

  • May be a bit louder than other massagers

MagicMakers Neck and Back Massage Pillow

If you are looking for a more compact device that still has power, a massage pillow might be a good option.  It fits perfectly on your upper back, lower back, neck, shoulders, waist, tights, calves, foot, legs and arms and can be used with or without heat. 

This massage pillow has eight strong three-dimensional nodes that use bi-directional movement to mimic the motion of in-person massage experience.  It will auto-reverse every minute for better distribution of massage effects and to provide more thorough treatment.

You can use the cover for the back massager to soften the massage.  It also comes with an elastic strap to attach it to a chair and an AC adapter so it can be used in the car.  There is auto-shut off protection to prevent overheating. 

Magic Makers offers an extended 90-day full money back guarantee.  Additionally, if anything happens to the massager within the 3 years of purchasing, they will send a replacement model at no cost

Read more reviews and check the price here.

What Customers Like

  • Versatile and compact- can be attached to a chair or used in the car
  • Strong massage with 8 3D nodes
  • Feels like a real person is giving the massage

What Customers Don't Like

  • Only massages a small area at a time

Mighty Bliss Handheld Massager

The Mighty Bliss massager has six interchangeable heads and variable speeds for a personalized massage that will relieve the aches and pains caused by knots in the muscles. This massager is lightweight and cordless, but still provides more than enough power to give you a deep massage.

With the different massage heads it is able to provide different types of massages including trigger point therapy to tackle those tough knots.  It also has 3 speeds so it can provide a very customized massage. If you can imagine a massage therapist digging deep into your muscle with force, then you will appreciate the various heads of this massager as well as the powerful motor.

One of the heads is a massage oil stick, which makes it easy to use essential oils for the massage.  Areas like the back are hard to reach, but the massage oil stick will help you apply essential oils or pain cream directly to the areas without having to bend uncomfortably to do it.

It can also be used on your neck, thighs, and calves as well as other areas where you need relief.  While you can get the deep-tissue massage in the big muscles of the body like the thighs, you can also work on sensitive areas like the backs of your knees or in the shoulder joints.   

This handheld massager is very similar to the Pure-Wave CM7 massager, but at a lower price.  It is also lighter and comes with a lifetime guarantee.  The lithium-ion battery can be charged for 1 hour to run continuously for 120 minutes.

Read more reviews and check the price here.

What Customers Like

  • Almost as powerful as a professional massage.
  • Attachments to do trigger point therapy and use essential oils
  • Quieter than other massagers

What Customers Don't Like

  • Doesn't have a vibration option or heat.

Gideon Car Massager

This back massager can be used in the car or at home.  It has Shiatsu nodes that travel up and down your back to target all of your muscles. You can also limit the area they focus on to the lower or upper back depending on where you have knots.  

The heat option helps soothe the muscles so the nodes can do their job and rid the body of tension. With this car massager, it feels like you are getting a professional massage. 

The control pad is attached and within easy reach should you want to adjust the massage at any time.  There is also an auto shut-off option which you can set for five, ten, or fifteen minutes.

Read more reviews and check the price here.

What Customers Like

  • Can be used in the car or at home
  • Feels like a masseuse as everything is adjustable
  • The motion can be stopped to concentrate on certain problem spots.

What Customers Don't Like

  • Some felt the massage was too intense

Relaxonchair Massage Chair

The Relaxonchair is designed to provide a complete, human-like full body massage. Built-in sensors detect the length of the spine of the user to provide a more personalized massage.   From the back of the head down to the heels of the feet, the entire chair provides a fantastic massage that could put professional massage technicians out of business. 

Since it's a zero-gravity massage chair, it minimizes the strain on your vertebrae which will relieve discomfort in your back and help you relax.  There are also two heating pads located in the lower back area to soothe aching muscles so you can get those tight knots out. 

Strategically located throughout the chair there are airbags that inflate and deflate independently (at three levels of intensity) to ease muscle tension.  The compression massage also helps align your lower back.  With the air cells pinning your body in place, the chair moves you through a calculated routine that slowly stretches out the back and leg muscles. 

There are also five manual massage modes -  kneading, tapping, kneading + tapping, shiatsu, and rolling.  All the functions can be easily controlled with the remote using only one hand.

The chair is made with top quality synthetic leather to enhance your experience. It’s clear this massage chair was built to be user-friendly and provide a relaxing experience.  It is worth every penny!  The only downside is it does take space. 

Read more reviews and check the price here.

What Customers Like

  • Feels like a professional massage with five different modes and heat
  • Zero gravity design minimizes strain on spine
  • High-quality and stylish

What Customers Don't Like

  • Not cheap.

Darkiron Massage Gun

The Darkiron massage gun uses up to 3300 percussions per minute to relieve muscle stiffness and soreness.  This form of deep-tissue massage will work knots and tension out of the muscles while improving blood flow and range of motion.

It comes with six different shaped massage heads so it can be used on different body parts. The intensity of the massage is adjustable, there are 30-speed levels.

This massager only weighs a little more than two pounds and has an ergonomically designed anti-slip grip that minimizes external vibrations and makes the massager easier to hold. It's cordless and comes with a 2000mAh high-quality lithium battery, so it will last for about six hours per charge. It also comes with an attractive carrying case.

A massage gun can be an effective way to address muscle knots. Depending on where the knot is located, it may be difficult to reach with a massage gun without assistance.

Read more reviews and check the price here.

What Customers Like

  • Intense massage that is easily adjustable
  • Lightweight and easy to hold 
  • Excellent battery life

What Customers Don't Like

  • Can be hard to reach some spots without help

FITINDEX Vibrating Peanut Massage Ball

A massage ball won’t give you the most comfortable massage, but it may be the most effective when it comes to getting rid of knots.  This peanut massage ball uses special cutting-edge technology with high-intensity vibration to give you a massage that penetrates deep into your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. 

It’s only 6.7 inches long with a diameter of 3.5 inches, but it offers a powerful massage that you can take with you on the go.  You can use this massage ball on your back, waist, heel, hips, arms, and more.  It has four vibration modes---light, medium, auto, and high. 

It only takes three hours to fully charge this electric fitness massage ball using the AC adapter.  The powerful internal lithium-ion batteries will last for more than two hours of continuous vibration. For your safety, it will automatically turn off after 10 minutes or manually by pressing the power button for two seconds. 

This massage ball is made from safe non-toxic silicone material that is also easy to clean. It has a textured and non-slip surface that gives you a sturdy, comfortable grip and has an anti-oxidation treatment that reduces fading caused by sweat and friction. 

Read more reviews and check the price here.

What Customers Like

  • Affordable
  • Small and compact
  • Battery life is sufficient 

What Customers Don't Like

  • Massage can be very intense

What is the Best Back Massager for Knots

All of the massagers we have reviewed here will reduce the pain in your back, but which one is the best when it comes to ridding your body of knots.  You need a device that is powerful and can pinpoint small areas.

The Best Overall Back Massager

Mighty Bliss Handheld Massager

This versatile handheld massager will help get out knots and more.  It has several different massage heads so it even does trigger point therapy.  Plus, it can be used on other body parts that need it.

The Best Back Massager for Knots for the Money

FITINDEX Vibrating Peanut Massage Ball

You can get a powerful massage from this peanut massage ball and it doesn't cost you much.   The downside is that you don't get the relaxing spa experience.

Back Massager FAQs

Can you use a back massager too much?

Yes you can overdo it.  It’s best to stick to 15 minute sessions.  If you use your massager for much longer it can overwork the museums which could aggravate existing injuries and other pains or create an entirely new injury.

Can you use essential oils with a back massager?

It depends on the massager so be sure to read the owners manual that comes with the one that you buy.  If you can’t use essential oils with the massager, try using a diffuser so you can take in the scent.  Essential oils can be helpful for back pain.

Can you use a back massager while pregnant?

Back pain is common throughout pregnancy.  Back massage can be beneficial but it is important to discuss with your doctor prior to beginning any therapy as there are risks.  If you have had premature labor previously or have been placed in the high-risk category it may be best to avoid massages.

Pregnant women should not use vigorous motion of any kind during the massage. Additionally, it is best to avoid essential oils as some can induce contractions and even result in fetal harm.  When pregnant, it’s even more important to make sure that you hydrate after a massage.

infographic about muscle knots

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Elena Curtis
 

Elena graduated from the Chicago School of Massage Therapy Clinic, and since her graduation in 2008, she's honed her style that consists of Eastern and Western massage techniques. When she's not working with patients, Elena spends her time reading and enjoying nature.

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