The quick answer is yes. Using a massage gun for back pain can help you reduce your pain. If you’re following a properly planned massaging technique, starting at your shoulder region and reaching the lower back, you’ll receive good results. Avoid using it at high intensities or for extended periods to ensure you don’t hurt yourself.
How To Use Massage Guns On Back?
By the looks of it, massage guns seem quite easy to use, and honestly, they are. But even with user-friendly equipment such as this, there’s always a right and wrong way of use.
But do massage guns work for back pain? Well, yes, they can be a great way to relieve back pain, provided that you use them the right way.
To get the maximum benefits from a massage gun, it's best to start using it in a planned manner, starting from the neck and shoulder region and slowly moving toward the upper and lower back.
Simply follow these basic steps to get optimal use of the massage gun.
Note: The back is difficult to target all by yourself, so ask your partner or someone around you for help navigating the massage gun wherever necessary.
Massaging The Neck And Shoulder Area
Bad posture and stress most severely affect your neck and shoulder region. So this usually feels stiff and may even be the most painful to relax. Excess stress and sitting without support can cause knots to develop that can be a menace to take out.
To work this area, first lie sideways, facing the right side. Bend and stretch your arm while your partner uses the massage gun near your armpit area. Use the massage gun in a circular motion.
Then, repeat the same on your left side.
Massaging The Upper Back
To use the massage gun for upper back pain, lie facing down. Next, fold your arms under your head, placing your forehead in your arms. Run the massage gun on both sides of your upper back. Treat the shoulder blade area slowly in a C-shape.
Massaging The Lower Back
Is the upper back done? Good…next move on to the lower back. You must be in the same pose while using a massage gun for lower back pain. Your partner will run the massage gun in different directions. Focus on both sides of the spine.
Finally, lie on your side again. And use the massage gun in the area between your ribs and pelvis. Make sure you do the same message on both sides.
Common Massage Guns Mistakes
Although easy to use, massage guns can also pose a risk of injuries if not used correctly. Adding too much pressure or using it for extended periods can lead to muscle bruising and leave you in more pain than you started with.
If your body isn’t relaxed, or you’re massaging in the wrong direction, the results aren’t going to be what you expect. Plus, when it comes to massage guns, don’t try to be independent; ask for help if needed; it’s only going to help with the final outcome.
Here are some common mistakes most people make while using a massage gun.
1. Not Preparing Before Using Massage Gun
When using the massage gun for herniated disc pain or a stiff back, you must prepare yourself first. You can do this by ensuring your body is as relaxed as possible.
I understand it is tough when you’re in pain. However, you can use techniques such as deep breathing to help you relax.
Once your muscles are relaxed, using a massage gun becomes much more effective. In addition to that, it becomes easier too.
2. Using it For Extended Periods
I know those rhythmic pulses feel good when you are in pain. And you'd want to continue using it for hours. But that can prove to be very harmful. Moreover, using it for a few minutes in the same spot can damage your skin and cause bruising.
So, for how long should you use massage guns? If you talk about one area (let's say your lower back), the ideal timing is around 60 seconds to a few minutes. Alternatively, a 15-20 minute massage should be sufficient to massage your entire body. Just be careful about how much time you spend on different body parts.
3. Intensity Of Massage
When you begin the massage, your muscles might not be ready. You need to warm them up, just like you do before a strenuous exercise. That's why the level of intensity of your massage gun should be low in the beginning.
Once you feel your muscles are accustomed to this intensity, you can slowly increase it. You'll have different modes to adjust the frequency depending on which massage gun you own. Just increase it to a level where it feels good and relieves the pain.
4. Trying to Do it All Yourself
When you want to massage areas such as your back, it isn't easy to do it yourself. Your back is a tricky area to reach, and while stretching your arms in difficult, awkward positions may help you reach the spot, is it worth the trouble?
The results surely won’t be optimal since you won’t be able to reach the right spot properly. Plus, you may pull a muscle in your arm or cause your arms to fatigue easily.
In such a situation, your best bet is to get help from a friend, partner, or family member. Make sure to guide them about the parts you want to get help on. Tell them about the difficult-to-reach areas, in which direction, and with what intensity the gun is most relaxing.
Communication is key if you’re making someone else use the massage gun on you.
5. Improper Direction of Massage
When discussing directions, the best practice is using a massage gun in multiple directions. You can make inward and outward motions away from your spine and upwards and downward.
While using it on your shoulder blades, move the massage gun in a circular C- motion.
6. Using It in the Wrong Areas
Safety comes first! Massage gun experience can result in actual damage. Therefore, I recommend not using it directly on your bones, joints, wounds, lesions, etc.
You should also not use it on damaged skin or areas prone to damage. Ensure that your massage gun head isn’t directly pulsating against your spine since this can put you at risk of serious spinal injuries.
Massage guns are made to be used on muscles. And that's only where they should be used.
There are countless massage guns available in the market these days. The choices are endless, from high-end massage guns to more budget-friendly ones and even off-market brands.
While you may be tempted to opt for the cheaper massage gun and save a few bucks, remember that they may not be as beneficial as a good, tried, and tested brand.
After testing out multiple massage guns, I’ve finally found a gun worth every penny that can relieve even the tightest knots from your body. The B37 Percussion Massager is a true game-changer.
I’ve been using this massage gun for over six months, and its versatility is truly the standout point. It has four attachments: flat, bullet, target, and fork. And while I love all of them, the flat attachment is my favorite.
When you’re in pain and want to use the massage gun, the worst thing that can happen is for your massage gun to run out of battery.
The B37 Massager comes with an in-built premium Lithium battery that gives up to 8 hours of non-stop usage. This is a huge saving grace if you’re someone like me who forgets to charge their gadgets. With my usage, this 8-hour battery life usually lasts me a solid week.
The ergonomic structure of the B37 massage gun is another pro. My hand never hurts after holding it for a long period. The grip is also very comfortable. I’ve used it to massage multiple people consecutively. Its 15° angle gives the best reach wherever I want to massage.
Moreover, the motor is extremely powerful and operates at 1400-3200 RPM. Normally, a motor this size can be quite noisy, but the B37 Percussion Massager operates with little to no noise, so you can easily use it in public places, such as the gym or even on a train, without drawing attention to yourself.
The multiple speed options also let you customize your massage according to your preferred intensity, depending on your pain level.
Is It Safe To Use Massage Guns For Lower Back Pain?
How Long Should You Use a Massage Gun on Your Back?
Do Massage Guns Work for Back Pain?
Massage guns can help you recover from severe back pain. But for that, you need to know the right techniques for massaging different parts of your back.
You need to be very careful while adjusting the intensity of the massage. Do not do it for longer periods, and avoid using it on bones since the pressure of massage guns can hurt your bones.
Feel free to share your experience with massage guns in the comments below and drop some tips and tricks that may have worked for you.
- Back Pain // Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30844200/
- The Relationship Between Forward Head Posture and Neck Pain: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis // Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31773477/
- How I Manage Deep Muscle Bruises // Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27431713/
- Warm-up and muscular injury prevention. An update // Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2692118/
- Spinal Cord Injury Incurred by Neck Massage // Ncbi: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3503948/
My name is Ihor and I have been a professional weightlifter since 1996. With over 20 years of competition experience, my resume includes European Champion in 2009 and the silver medalist at 2011's Senior World Championships –105kg division.
I competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.
After hanging up my own competitive lifting shoes, I decided to share my huge background as a coach. I am currently coaching multiple athletes who are competing at national and international competitions.