If you’re like a lot of people, you carry stress in your neck. Sometimes it’s caused by everyday pressures of work and family, but it can also be related to the fact that many of us spend hours a day staring at computer screens, forgetting to get up, walk around and stretch. This especially affects our neck muscles.
Neck pain and stiffness, when not actively addressed, can lead to a host of other problems, from shoulder aches to numbness in the hands and fingers. It can make it difficult for you to get a good grasp on everything from your mouse to your coffee cup. It can even impede your balance and coordination, which can be a serious issue.
There are many different kinds of neck massagers to consider, and after our reviews, we’ll explain the differences between them. If regular massage therapy isn’t financially viable for you, it’s good to know you can manage ongoing stiffness if you arm yourself with the right massager.
Medcursor Shiatsu Kneading Corded Massager
- Super affordable
- Eight bi-directional massage rollers target acupressure points
- Features heat and massage
- Lightweight design
- No apparent warranty
- No mention of auto shut-off feature
- Massage rollers are hard and can be uncomfortable to some
- Handles are too short for some
Similar to a few other shiatsu massagers we’ve looked at, this particular model gets our nod because it’s the most affordable of the group. With three speeds, and two directional movement, you can operate this neck massager on high, medium or low, as well as use the heat setting to alleviate muscle tension and discomfort.
At less than $40, it has many of the features of others. With eight massage rollers that give an impressive massage experience, it works on your acupressure points to loosen tightness, lessen headaches and ease joint and muscle pain. Despite the lower price, and the lack of any warranty information, it gets impressive reviews that are nearly as high as the top-rated model.
Find more Medcursor Shiatsu Kneading Corded Massager information and reviews here.
Snailax Cordless Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager
- Eight massage nodes and two different intensities
- Far infrared heat increases circulation and effectiveness
- Automatic shut off feature
- Pressure can be adjusted by using the arm slings
- Arm slings are too short for some
- Massage intensity can feel too rough
- Heat function isn’t warm enough
If you’re looking for the perfect combination of convenience and relief, the Snailax cordless shiatsu neck massager is going to make your life so much simpler and better. Take this massager to the office, camping or on travel because you’ll never need to worry about plugging it in. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, you’ll get 70-80 minutes of relaxing massage before needing to recharge.
Slip this around your neck and let the shiatsu massage roller’s eight massaging nodes deliver sweet relief. With two different massage intensities, you can add to the pain relief by using the far infrared heat. That soothing warmth helps to increase circulation making your massager more effective, and it just feels good while you’re using it.
We think you’ll like that it features an auto shutoff after 15 minutes, as well as the 24 month warranty against defects. If you don’t mind the cord you can save some cash by buying the Snailax corded shiatsu massager.
Find more Snailax Cordless Shiatsu Neck & Back Massager information and reviews here.
Zyllion ZMA13BRV Shiatsu Pillow Massager
- Good massage along with heat
- Attaches to your car seat, and has a cigarette lighter adaptor
- Ergonomic design fits perfectly on your neck or in the small of your back
- Auto shut off feature
- Unit doesn’t bend, so it’s not suitable for curved areas of the body
- Massage nodules don’t fit everyone’s neck equally well
- Pretty rigid and not very pillowy feeling
- Massages too hard for some
Convenient and portable, this clever shiatsu pillow delivers a robust massage on nearly any part of your body. With four deep kneading, rotating nodes, and an easy to turn on heat function, you can use this neck massager at home, or with the convenient strap attach it to the neck rest of your car, for convenient stress relief on long drives.
It features a power cord with an adaptor that lets you or your passengers enjoy its soothing effects because you can simply plug it into the cigarette lighter. The massage nodes are set up to automatically reverse directions during each individual massage session, so you won’t get sore from too much repetitive motion in the same area.
This neck massager is designed with a mesh inset to allow heat to efficiently flow to your most painful areas, relaxing sore muscles with warming comfort. It has a 20 minute run time, with an automatic shutoff feature, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it on too long.
At just 3.5 inches deep, this portable neck massager isn’t bulky, making it especially comfortable under the small of your back, or under your legs, as well. It comes with a one year warranty, and a 90 day money-back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied.
For just ten bucks more, you can get a similar neck massager with eight rotating balls, for a deeper massage sensation.
Find more Zyllion ZMA13BRV Shiatsu Pillow Massager information and reviews here.
Exerscribe Personal Percussion Massage Gun
- Attachments for small and large muscle groups as well as deep tissue massage
- Very powerful with up to 2400 strokes per minute
- Articulating handle makes it easy to reach your sore spots
- Aids in fast muscle recovery
- Uncomfortably loud for some
- Quite expensive
- Gets kind of hot in the hand with long use
If you’ve ever gone to the chiropractor with a stiff muscle, you might have experienced a massage gun like this one. This powerful personal percussion massager is not for the faint of heart. If you want for a quiet, Zen like relaxation treatment, you’ll be disappointed. This gun means serious business and that means it’s a little loud but extremely effective if you’re looking for quick muscle recovery.
This massager comes with three massage tips to perform separate functions – a standard ball works on small muscle groups, a large ball works on large muscle groups and a cone delivers deep tissue massage for real pain relief.
With six different speeds this powerful percussion tool vibrates at 500-2400 strokes per minute, depending on the speed you select. It also features an ergonomic handle, easy to use power push button and an articulating head that has been designed to allow you reach many of your pain points yourself – but it’s always more fun with a helper.
Find more Exerscribe Personal Percussion Massage Gun information and reviews here.
Best Buy: Gideon™ Neck and Shoulder Therapeutic Dual Trigger Point Self-Massage Tool
- Downright cheap
- Shiatsu massage that you can do yourself
- Portable because you’re not tethered to a power source
- Ergonomic handles let you customize the pressure
- You have to do the work
- Doesn’t have heat in addition to massage
- Takes some practice to get the technique down
- Included instructions are lacking
If you’re willing to do all the the work, which is frankly pretty darned simple, you can give yourself the benefits of a shiatsu style neck massage with this simple and super popular Gideon manual massager. As you’ll see in the video below, in just a few minutes you can enjoy all the relaxation of a great neck massage that targets your trouble spots with some simple techniques.
The two silicone balls on this shiatsu neck massager can address tension, fatigue, and neck pain, by gently working the muscles and tendons like a real masseuse. At less than $14, it’s a bargain that’s hard to beat. You can take this portable neck massager anywhere because you power the device, so it never needs batteries or an outlet.
Plus, the waterproof construction means no worries if you want to take it camping or outdoors. The longer you work your muscles, the more you’ll combat knots and tightness that can cause headaches, dizziness and more. Gideon™ also makes a manual neck and shoulder massage tool with four adjustable knobs to ease away neck and shoulder pain.
Find more Gideon™ Neck and Shoulder Therapeutic Dual Trigger Point Self-Massage Tool information and reviews here.
VideoVideo related to best buy: gideon™ neck and shoulder therapeutic dual trigger point self-massage tool2019-06-27T17:37:25-04:00
VIKTOR JURGEN Handheld Back Massager
- Very affordable
- Intense percussive action
- Three different massage nodules to target different issues
- Variable speed control
- Too heavy to hold for a long time, especially when working on your neck and back
- No heat option
- Massage action too robust for some
The Viktor Jergen handheld massager takes a completely different twist on neck and shoulder massagers. This percussion massager has super intense action, with upto 3,350 pulses per minute to loosen your tight muscles, and ease neck pain. The long, anti-slip handle means it’s easy to maneuver over your shoulders and up and down your neck.
With the advanced deep tissue massage, and infrared physiotherapy, this unit improves blood circulation as it helps to relieve pain and knots in every part of your body. It features a dual head design with three sets of interchangeable massage nodes that target tough to reach pressure points, massage your scalp and do deep muscle massage on other areas of the body that hold stress and tension.
With a variable intensity, this massager allows you to have as robust an experience as you’d like. The conveniently long 9+ foot power cord makes this easy to use in any room of the house.
Find more VIKTOR JURGEN Deep Tissue Handheld Neck Massager information and reviews here.
[email protected] Professional Grade TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager
- Very easy to use on your own
- Frees you to do other things while tackling muscle tension
- Almost immediately relieves pain
- Recommended by chiropractors
- Not the same relaxing feeling of a regular massager
- Less effective on large areas
- A bit on the pricey side
- Instructions are difficult to understand
This is a total switch up to ease muscle tension and pain – an electronic pulse massager. These massagers send tiny electrical currents into your muscles, disrupting the pain signals from your brain, and sending signals which cause gentle muscle contraction to help ease away tightness and tension.
You may be wondering what TENS stands for, so let’s clear it up. It means Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, which might sound like quackery to you, but believe us, this therapy been used by doctors for decades, to improve physical and muscular health.
With this massager, you surround your tender areas like the neck and shoulders, with tiny electrodes that conduct the electrical signals to your muscles. With three different settings – massage, beat and knead – you can customize the perfect massage experience for your needs.
With 20 power levels for intensity, from very mild to extremely powerful, five automated massage programs and three traditional massage modes, you can customize your treatment to give you exactly the relief you need. The rechargeable lithium-ion battery can give you up to 120 minutes per session, multiple times a day.
This is our top pick for best neck massager in the TENS category, and it’s Amazon’s Choice as well. It comes with four electrode pads, and an elegant leather bag to store your massager and accoutrements.
Find more [email protected] Professional Grade TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager information and reviews here.
TENS Unit & EMS Combination Muscle Stimulator
- Both TENS and EMS capable with the ability to use them simultaneously depending on the mode
- 12 pain relieving massage modes
- Enhances muscle recovery
- Dual channels can run different modes and intensities at the same time
- Stronger intensity levels can cause some discomfort
- Screen inconveniently times out and goes dark during sessions
- Pads don’t have a long shelf life
When you’re desperate for pain relief, but you’re on a tight budget, there’s no financial room for professional massage treatments. That’s why we think this TENS unit is a total bargain considering its many features. This nifty device acts as an electronic nerve stimulator to interrupt pain and as an electronic muscle stimulator to enhance recovery.
This unit features 12 massaging modes, and dual channels that can be programmed independently to perform different functions at the same time. The easy to understand unit comes with four electrodes – two per channel. Set your timer for up to 60 minutes of nerve and muscle stimulation, all while you’re busy doing something else. We love that convenience.
With 20 intensity levels, you can customize your treatments to be convenient as well as efficient. We think this TENS and EMS unit has so much more functionality than many, and we think you’ll be impressed by the fact that you can utilize the TENS and EMS functions simultaneously in certain modes.
Find more TENS Unit & EMS Combination Muscle Stimulator information and reviews here.
iReliev TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager
- Relieves pain fast
- Easy to use
- Dual channels allow you to target different areas with separate therapies at the same time
- 25 speeds, and eight electrodes, for total customization
- More expensive than some in the category
- Electrode pads need frequent replacement and they’re expensive
- Lead wires aren’t long enough
- Instructions can be confusing
This electronic pulse massager is a bigger system, only in that it has twice as many electrodes to target and help to relieve your neck pain or any other pain, super fast. In reality, the electronic controller is merely the size of a credit card, but it controls the electrodes to stimulate muscle contraction, and nerve fibers to block the pain signals to your brain.
These TENS units used to be hugely expensive, but have come down so far in price that you can easily afford this one to tackle your tough pain issues. TENS units are safe to use, according to experts, and this top rated model from iReliev has dual channels, so you can use up to four electrodes on one preset therapy program, and the others on a different program and problem area.
With 25 intensity levels you can effectively target and tackle your pain, as well as increase endorphin levels – a real added bonus. This unit operates on three AAA batteries that are included with the package, which also comes with a carrying pouch and belt clip, meaning you can use it almost anywhere. Recommended by doctors and rehabilitation facilities, this electronic pulse massager is highly rated as one of the best TENS units for the price.
Find more iReliev TENS Unit Electronic Pulse Massager information and reviews here.
Maxi Rub Two Speed Professional Chiropractic Massager
- Professional grade massager that’s built to last
- Delivers a robust deep tissue massage
- Two speeds to adjust for more sensitive areas
- Wide massage bed allows for covering a wider area faster
- Quite heavy
- Cumbersome to hold and maneuver
- Not really suitable for self massage
When you’re looking for maximum relief at a level that’s a step above your standard home massager, the two speed Maxi Rub massager is worth the investment. While this massager isn’t one you can generally use on yourself, if you have a willing partner, this professional massager can calm sore muscles and ease muscle tension from your neck to your toes, literally.
Used by chiropractors and medical specialists, this massager delivers a robust massage even on the lower speed. You’ll like the fact that the wide massage bed covers a lot of ground fast, but can be used slowly to deliver true deep tissue impact. It’s fairly easy to maneuver once you get the hang of it, thanks to the positioning and shape of the handles.
We’d recommend a warm towel or blanket thrown over the back and legs prior to beginning the massage to target painful trigger points or to alleviate muscle spasms. A similar massager with the same kind of orbital vibration, the Genie Rub can even be ordered with a sheepskin cover for added comfort.
Find more Maxi Rub Two Speed Professional Chiropractic Massager information and reviews here.
NURSAL Shiatsu Neck Massager with Heat
- Ergonomic design, and three speeds give you a customized massage experience
- 15 minute auto shut-off
- Bi-directional movement of massage balls mimics the real thing
- 24 month warranty
- Heat function is iffy
- Ball placement doesn’t fit comfortably for every neck
- Seems like you have to pull on it continuously to get the correct pressure
- Some reports of overheating issues
Not everyone wants the same massage experience every time. This neck massager from NURSAL is super easy to adjust your massage to what ails you. This shiatsu neck massager is super versatile, with three different speeds, plus the choice of heat or heat-free massage.
Four rotating massaging balls relax your neck and upper shoulders, while you simply relax into a chair, couch or the seat of your car. Their bi-directional movement mimics the feel of getting a real massage.
With a 15 minute run time and automatic shutoff, no worries if you happen to zonk out during your massage treatment. The wrap around handle straps make it easy to apply perfect pressure, as well as to adjust this neck massager to do a great job of treating tight muscles elsewhere on the body, from your low back and legs to your abdomen.
The design of the armrests leaves your hands free if you’re driving or working in your office, which is a bonus, but weren’t you supposed to be relaxing? This neck massager includes a standard AC plug as well as a car adaptor. The NURSAL Cordless Shoulder Massager is a great option to take when you’re traveling as it has a rechargeable battery, so there are no worries about international plug converters and the like.
Find more NURSAL Shiatsu Neck Shoulder Massager information and reviews here.
Naipo Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager
- Eight massaging nodules to relax and relieve pain
- Comforting heat function soothes and increases circulation
- Easy to use whenever and wherever you need relief
- Ergonomic design makes it easy to target pain points
- Massage is too robust for some
- Works best when you’re in a sitting, versus laying position
- Heat function could be warmer
- Power cord means you’re stuck in one place til done
Relaxing and therapeutic, this Naipo shiatsu neck massager can be the perfect way to de-stress after a long day at the office. This massager’s efficient U-shape, featuring eight separate nodes to mimic the work of a masseuse, can help to relieve fatigue and improve circulation.
With the unique, flexible straps, you can easily adjust the pressure on tender areas to give you maximum results. This massager also delivers soothing heat, right to where it hurts most, but a built in sensor prevents it from ever overheating. Covered in a breathable fabric, it promotes heat penetration and for the maximum massaging action from the nodules.
This comforting device automatically runs for twenty minutes, which means you can get relief fast, without spending a huge amount of time or money. Better yet, it’s a good-for-you therapy you can do for yourself, anytime and anywhere. This nifty neck massager can also be used on the shoulders, low back, legs and elsewhere on the body. Users rave about it and we agree. You can also get this massager in cream color and a special edition blue.
Find more Naipo Shiatsu Back & Neck Massager information and reviews here.
MagicMakers 3D Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager
- Unique handles allow you to manually adjust massage pressure
- 3D massage nodes with three different intensities
- Heat can be used separately from massage
- Cool safety features
- Appears a bit cheap
- Massage can be too robust
- Heat seems wimpy
If you’ve got a teenage girl in the house, particularly one who suffers from neckaches from too much study and computer time, she’s going to love this neck massager because, well – it’s pretty. But don’t let that pretty exterior fool you. This massager means business. This 3D shiatsu massager is good for every member of the family.
The 3D nodes loosen and relax tense muscles. With bi-directional rotation, they’ll knead the pain and stiffness away. This massager has three intensity levels, as well as a heat mode that can be used separately from the massage mode. As with many of these over the neck styles, you can adjust the intensity by using the handles to pull the massager tighter tot he skin, but this massager’s got a secret – angled handles that deliver much more pressure control than others.
With an overheating protection device and a 15 minute automatic shutoff, you can feel more relaxed about letting your teens massage their stress away, although we felt the heat was on the wimpy side.
Find more MagicMakers 3D Shiatsu Neck and Back Massager information and reviews here.
Pure-Wave CM7 Extreme Cordless Percussion Massager
- Cordless and lightweight
- Features both robust percussion massage and gentler micro-vibration therapy
- Fast charging, long lasting lithium ion battery
- Six different massage heads to target different issues
- Percussion action can be too powerful for some
- Not the best for boney areas
- Need to pay close attention to instruction manual
- More expensive than many
This Pure-Wave massager gets major points for being lightweight, and better yet, cordless. With a powerful 7.2 volt Lithium-ion battery, this handheld massager will run continuously for up to three hours, and recharge in just one hour. This percussion massager is super robust, with a high speed motor that runs up to 3,700 RPM. It’s even more versatile, because you can use both ends.
The small end operates to deliver micro-vibration therapy, and this system comes with three specific heads – one for facial massage, another for body oil application, and a third head for scalp massage and headache relief. The large percussion end has three more useful tools – an air-cushioned stick for all over deep, softer massage, a pointy stick to massage even the toughest pain points with power, and a six head stick for serious deep tissue massage.
Built to be used in professional settings, it’s really quite affordable for home use as well. This powerful massage tool is build to relieve muscle tension and pain, increase circulation, and speed recovery after injury. A variable speed control allows you to effortlessly switch between micro-vibration therapy and percussion massage therapy. In fact, percussion massagers can actually boost muscle recovery and increase athletic performance according to this article in Evolve Daily.
This top rated model gets kudos for pain relief, and our vote, as well as Amazon’s for best neck massager in this category. Getting this massager as a gift for someone stressed? Consider the black and red massager instead.
Find more Pure-Wave CM7 Extreme Cordless Percussion Massager information and reviews here.
Ohuhu Double Head Deep Tissue Percussion Massager
- Very affordable
- Variable intensity from vibration to percussion
- Comes with multiple heads for different needs
- Built sturdy
- Quite heavy and a bit awkward
- Very loud
- Not as robust percussion as some others reviewed
- Handle end is difficult to hold
This percussion massager is a popular choice for home use because of its price point. At less than twenty bucks, the double headed device comes with three sets of interchangeable heads to accomplish different tasks. This is a great first choice for those who might be new to massage therapy.
With a variable speed control, users can easily switch the intensity from gentle vibration to robust percussion. This handheld massager helps to promote increased blood circulation, which is essential for healing, and also gives a decent deep tissue massage, helping to ease knots, cramps and tense muscles for overall relaxation.
Overall, this massager is well built, with a sturdy case. And for basic therapeutic massage, it will do the trick. The big catch with this one is that it’s pretty darned heavy, which makes it difficult to use for extended times on your own back, neck, and shoulders. If you’ve got a helper in the house though, it’s a great buy as well as Amazon’s choice in the lower priced category.
Find more Ohuhu Electric Double Head Deep Tissue Percussion Massager information and reviews here.
Many doctors, experienced in dealing with pain management will tell you that pain builds on pain. Interrupting that pain through massage therapy can help reduce the amount of pain medications you take, both prescription and non-prescription drugs, and there’s widespread agreement about the benefits of that.
Since it’s almost impossible to find the time, and especially the extra cash, to have regular massage and chiropractic appointments, a neck massager can be your at home treatment for pain and stress relief, as long as you’re not dealing with physical injury issues. Even then, massagers increase blood flow to speed healing, decrease pain, and they just feel darned good.
We wanted to find massage options that didn’t require your significant other to do the work – individual devices that were simple, straightforward, and flexible in terms of how, and where, they could be used – including your home, office, and car. The best neck massagers vary widely, using different techniques for relaxation, stress management, and pain relief. We’ve broken them down by category, so you can find the choice that works best, feels good and meets your needs.
Shiatsu Neck Massagers
Shiatsu massage is an ancient Japanese practice, and it literally means finger pressure, although palms and even feet are used in actual practice. Now home shiatsu massagers are widely available. They incorporate rollers and balls that move in different directions to mimic the actual use of hands.
Many offer heat, in addition to the massaging nodules, and they are a great way to get quick relief and relaxation. You’ll find shiatsu massagers in full chair cushions that massage from your bum to your neck, all at once, as well as shiatsu pillows, and wrap around models that are built like slings.
With the latter, you actually have hand-holds that enable you to control the pressure of the massaging balls, so you can get as robust or gentle a massage as you’d like. These massagers also work great for pain and stiffness in other areas of the body. We love them because they’re so reasonably priced, and super easy to use.
Percussion Neck Massagers
Not to be confused with a standard vibrating massager, percussion massagers have internal hammers that send vibrations deeply into the tissues. These massagers feel terrific, and some we’ve included here offer such robust impact that they may be too much for people in pain to tolerate.
The good news is that most of them have variable settings, which allows you to set the level of impact that feels best on your body. Since we’re targeting neck pain relief here, again, we’ve tried to avoid those units that require two people to use. On the downside, these massagers can be quite heavy, especially if you’re trying to reach over your shoulders to target the neck and upper back area.
We’ve included only handheld units for the purposes of this post, but if you’re looking for a percussion massager you can use over large areas of your body, one with a large flatbed is an amazing choice. Although these units definitely require a willing partner to handle, because of weight and speed, they are worth the extra money.
Electronic Pulse Massagers
Small, lightweight and easy to afford, electronic pulse massagers, or TENS units, (which stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation,) work on a completely different principle than the rest. They’ve been used for decades in therapeutic situations, for rehab and recovery from pain, but while they were often unaffordable for the general consumer market, all of that has changed with the easy availability of electronics.
These massagers use tiny electrical impulses both to stimulate muscle contractions and to block pain signals from the brain. On the upside, they can offer almost immediate pain relief – and in the case of tension related muscle spasms, can relax muscles for more long term pain management.
They feature a control unit that’s roughly the size of a credit card, along with wires that attach to electrodes you place on your body in the painful area. Most are programmable, and some actually allow you to target different pain trigger points at the same time. While they don’t feel much like a traditional massage, their pulsing action will give you a bit of that sensation. We’ve featured two models, one of which is under $50.