Only best neck and shoulder massager can save the day when you deal with stiffness and pain in these areas. Almost 50% of all individuals will experience some type of chronic neck pain or frequent occurrences in their lifetime. In fact, 10% of neck pain cases are associated with illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and polymyalgia rheumatica. A whopping 70% of all adults will experience shoulder pain at least once a year.
We’ve taken the time to go through hundreds of neck and shoulder massager reviews and have come up with a list of some of the most effective ones. If you have some time on your hands and you’ve been searching for the right model for your needs, check out the units below. It’s quite likely that you’ll find what you’ve been looking for.
Benefits of Neck & Shoulder Massagers
Shoulder and neck massages have tremendous benefits, but which are the ones that you’ll get by using a special device for the purpose? Let’s have a look at some of them.
1. Less Neck and Shoulder Pain
This is the first and most obvious advantage of getting a neck massage with the right timing. There are many reasons why people experience pain in this body region. Some can have chronic inflammation, whiplash, or just feel pain whenever they sleep in an incorrect position. Many of the models that we have come across are designed to be wrapped around your neck and shoulders, therefore providing relief in these specific areas. Plus, the massage nodes boasted by some models can work on several different muscles at the same time.
2. Better Sleep
Since these massagers are capable of lowering your stress and anxiety levels, as well as the pain and tension you experience on a day-to-day basis, they can improve your sleep, as well. If you want to use one before you go to bed, however, it’s a good idea to get a model that comes with an automatic shut-off function.
3. Reduces Headaches
Tension headaches are caused by muscle contractions in your upper neck area. There are people that might experience them just once a month, but others suffer from these headaches a lot more often. Relieving tension in your neck area contributes to lowering the risk of you suffering a migraine.
4. Increased Blood Circulation
These devices are effectively capable of stimulating the local muscles in the neck and shoulder area. Therefore, they increase blood flow in the body region, as well, especially when you use the heat function. Better blood circulation translates into a richer supply of oxygen and nutrients, as well as white blood cells. All of these help with muscle regeneration.
5. Upper Back Tension Relief
Most people experience upper back pain and stiffness because they have bad postures. In theory, you should keep your back and shoulders straight all the time. However, since that’s impossible, you’re going to experience upper back pain at some point or the other. It is one of the most tense parts of your body, no matter if you spend a lot of time in front of the computer or exercising. Neck and shoulder massagers can help solve this problem, especially the models that are a little longer and also cover parts of your upper back.
6. Increased Shoulder Mobility
Depending on their specific pathology, many people end up feeling that their shoulders are frozen. Sometimes, and in lack of appropriate treatment, this issue can last for as much as a year or more. Neck and shoulder massagers can both provide you with pain relief, but they can also increase your shoulders’ mobility and help you get rid of the stiffness.
7. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Nothing’s more relaxing than getting a massage, right? But getting one from a professional takes time and money, so using a device, instead, will allow you to get the same benefits and save some hard-earned cash.
People carry anxiety symptoms in their back, shoulders, and neck. Different studies have found that people who have regular massages experience an increase in their dopamine and serotonin levels. Whenever our body relaxes, so does our nervous system.
8. Strengthens Your Immune System
There were many studies done where participants that had neck and shoulder massages performed on found that they didn’t catch a cold as easily. Just using the device twice or three times per week can increase your lymphocyte and overall white cell number. White cells are essential when it comes to fighting off infections and illnesses.
9. Recovery of Muscle Soreness
Massaging any sore areas on your body encourages blood and oxygen flow, which assists with reducing inflammation and soothing pain. Massages are a natural painkiller. Your range of motion will also greatly improve following the neck and shoulder massage since the built-up lactic acid in the area is reduced. Lactic acid is widely known for being at the root of stiffness in your muscles.
Best Neck and Shoulder Massagers Comparison Chart
Resteck Electric Shiatsu Back Neck and Shoulder Massage
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Nursal Neck and Shoulder Massager with Heat
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Naipo Neck and Shoulder Massager
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Belmint Shiatsu Massager for Neck and Shoulder with Heat
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Etekcity Neck Massager with Heat Function
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Naturalico Shiatsu Massager for Neck and Shoulder Pain
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Atsuwell Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager with Heat
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Best Neck & Shoulder Massager Reviews
1. Resteck Electric Shiatsu Back Neck and Shoulder Massage
This unit is capable of providing you with a powerful 3D massage experience on most body areas. However, it is primarily designed for your neck and shoulders, but there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from using it on other regions. The pillow can be used pretty much anywhere, so portability is one of the most significant benefits you’ll get with this model.
Additionally, the massage nodes have been covered in soft fabric so as to compliment the experience. The heating function offers nice and consistent warmth. Also, the Shiatsu nodes boasted by this choice will contribute to the overall process and will leave you feeling relaxed and pain-free.
Besides, the model is equipped with just four setting buttons, so it doesn’t raise any technical problems, even to less tech-savvy persons. The feedback that we have analyzed about this product is mostly excellent, but there have been folks saying that it can be too powerful or that the heat isn’t strong enough for them.
- The flexible design delivers powerful massages on your neck and shoulders
- The heat function compliments the massage very well
- It’s lightweight and portable
- It can be used on other body areas
- Very easy to use
- Too powerful for some people
- Power plug can unplug by accident
Read More: Resteck Electric Shiatsu Massager
2. Nursal Neck and Shoulder Massager with Heat
This device from Nursal is very easy to adjust. It offers versatility and it comes with as many as three different speeds, and it also lets you have heat or heat-free massages. There are four rotating balls that massage your neck and upper shoulder area while you sit back and watch TV or even work at your computer. The bi-directional movement of the massage nodes imitates the feeling of getting a massage from a person.
A safety feature that definitely comes in handy is the auto shut-off one that this unit comes with. After fifteen minutes, it shuts off on its own, so you can safely use it before you go to sleep. The wrap-around handle straps allow the device to apply the perfect amount of pressure, but adjusting the massager to some extent can also be done by the end-user.
Given the way this unit is designed, you can tend to your tasks without having to fiddle with it or hold it at all times. It comes with an AC plug, as well as a car adaptor.
- 15-minute automatic shut-off
- Bi-directional movement of massage balls
- Ergonomic design
- Three speeds available, so you can customize the experience
- Ball placement doesn’t comfortably fit every type of neck
- Might be too powerful for some customers
Read More: Nursal Neck and Shoulder Massager with Heat
3. Naipo Neck and Shoulder Massager
This pain relief massager is another product you should consider, especially if you’re in the market for a device that’s convenient, easy to use, as well as dependable. It comes with as many as three adjustable massage intensities. Furthermore, it has eight rotation nodes, and they definitely do a good job of providing you with a deep-tissue massage.
The model comes with a power charger as well as a car charger. The lightweight design allows you to take it anywhere with you. The 15-minute automatic shut-off is another feature worth mentioning since you can effectively avoid overuse if you fall asleep. Moreover, the heating function offers your muscles soothing warmth and it can also improve your circulation.
The nicest thing about this model is that you can use it in the car, in the office, or at home. While we don’t advise using it while you drive, you can get a massage whenever you take a break, especially if you’re a professional driver or trucker. Described as effective and highly positionable, this model has mostly received favorable reviews.
- Ergonomic and portable design
- Comforting heat function improves circulation and soothes your achy neck and shoulders
- Comes with eight massaging nodules
- Includes a car adapter and power charger
- Best used when you are sitting instead of laying on your back
- Heat isn’t as powerful as some people might want it to be
Read More: Naipo Neck and Shoulder Massager
4. Belmint Shiatsu Massager for Neck and Shoulder with Heat
This electric massage pillow can do wonders if you’re looking to get some pain relief on your neck and shoulder area after spending a long and tiresome day at work. If you suffer from muscle tension or discomfort, the shiatsu therapeutic massage mechanism will take care of it all. There are eight deep-kneading massage nodes in this unit.
The Belmint option can also warm up your ligaments, muscles, and joints since it comes with an advanced heating function. The ergonomic design allows you to utilize it with your hands. However, some users have noted that this can be inconvenient since you have to position it correctly all the time.
Since this model weighs in at 4 pounds, you can carry it everywhere with you. It’s also easily packable, so you can take it with you when you travel for work out of town. If you are worried about safety, we’ll put your mind at ease by letting you know that the Belmint comes with a 20-minute auto shut-off function.
- Comes with eight massage nodes
- Heat function improves circulation
- The flexible straps make it adjustable
- 20-minute automatic shut-off setting
- Lightweight and ergonomic design
- It is a little bulky for a petite person
- The massaging balls can be too hard
Read More: Belmint Shiatsu Massager
5. Etekcity Neck Massager with Heat Function
Even though it is by far one of the most affordable models currently available, this Etekcity massage pillow makes a great choice. It comes with eight 3-dimension shiatsu massage nodes that are fully capable of relieving the pain you feel on your neck and shoulders. Another feature that makes the difference between this option and some of the others in our selection is that this one comes with two adjustable speeds.
There are two massage directions you can switch from, but if you don’t want to do that, the massager will automatically reverse every minute. If you like using your massager before you go to sleep, you have nothing to worry about in terms of safety. The Etekcity model comes with a 20-minute automatic shut-off feature and its AC adapter has even been UL-approved.
What’s even more impressive about this unit is that it comes with two adaptors (110V and 220V), as well as a DC adapter for your automobile. If you’ve been looking for a nice gift for your mom or dad, this one might fit the bill.
- Comes with 2 adjustable speeds
- Has 8 shiatsu massage nodes
- 20-minute auto shut-off
- Includes 110V and 220V AC adaptors and a DC adaptor for your car
- Heat & no-heat setting
- You might have to put a pillow between the massager and your body to make the pummeling bearable
Read More: Etekcity Neck Massager with Heat Function
6. Naturalico Shiatsu Massager for Neck and Shoulder Pain
This Shiatsu neck and back massager comes with a heat function which offers soothing warmth to your joints, ligaments, and muscles. The four rotating nodes boasted by this option offer support and a relaxing massage to your muscles, allowing you to get rid of that pesky pain that has been bothering you.
The portable and versatile design that this model comes with is by far one of the most significant benefits you’ll get. You can take it with you wherever you go, and you can even use it at the office if your neck and shoulders are particularly sore. The massager pulls, pushes, and removes stress and relieves muscle tension. You’ll want to use it every day.
Similarly to some of the other units showcased here, this one includes an AC adapter as well as a car adapter. The auto shut-off safety feature is great for people who want to turn on their massager right before they go to bed.
- Lightweight and portable design
- Can be used at work, at home, or when you travel
- Comes with an automatic shut-off feature
- You can turn on and off the heat function
- Instructions are a bit confusing
- Needs to be plugged into a power outlet at all times
Read More: Naturalico Shiatsu Massager
7. Atsuwell Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager with Heat
This premium Shiatsu massager comes with as many as eight deep-kneading massage nodes which mimic the moves of a real person giving you a nice neck and shoulder massage. The bi-directional movements of the nodes allow you to relax and benefit from pain relief. The device also features customized intensity settings, which means that you can adjust it to your needs.
Infrared heat is also available with this model. Combine it with the massage to get a deep, relaxing, and soothing experience that helps improve your blood circulation and say goodbye to muscle tension. The hands-free belt design is user-friendly as you can wear it while you work or do your chores around the house.
Another aspect that makes the difference between this unit and some of its competitors is that the pillowcase is removable and machine-washable. This allows you to sanitize it once it gets dirty. As for safety, there’s nothing to worry about as this device shuts off after 15 minutes of use.
- Hands-free design lets you tend to your tasks while getting a massage
- Comes with an auto adapter
- The pillowcase is machine-washable
- Infrared heating function improves blood circulation
- Shuts down after 15 minutes of use
- This one might be too small for a tall person (over 6 feet)
- Too strong for some and not powerful enough for others
Read More: Atsuwell Neck and Shoulder Massager
What is a Neck & Shoulder Massager?
As their name suggests, neck and shoulder massagers are designed specifically to offer relief to your neck and shoulders. There are several types available on the market today, however, and each has a somewhat different purpose. Let’s look at what these are.
1. Shiatsu Models
Shiatsu neck and shoulder massagers incorporate balls and rollers which move in different directions so as to mimic the actual use of hands. Some offer heat, along with the massaging nodules, and they make a great option if you’re looking to get some relaxation and relief. There are shiatsu pillows available these days, but there are also wrap-around units built like slings, and also chairs which have shiatsu massagers incorporated in their build. All in all, this type of design works great for stiffness and pain in your neck and shoulder area.
2. Percussion Models
These are outfitted with internal hammers which effectively send vibrations deep into the neck and shoulder tissues. They feel great, but because of their robust massage, they can also cause a little pain, which can often be hard for some people to tolerate. Fortunately, most percussion models have variable settings, which means that you can set the level of impact which feels best on your particular body.
The only downside to this design is that it can be quite heavy, and since many are handheld, it can feel tedious and uncomfortable to have to hold them for a longer amount of time.
3. Electronic Pulse Models
This type of massager relies on the use of a tiny electrical impulse to stimulate muscle contractions, and also block pain signals from the brain. While they can offer pain relief that’s almost immediate, especially in the case of muscle relaxation, tension, muscle spasms, and long-term pain management, they can often be very expensive.
The undeniable benefit that you can get from using such a model would be that you can place the electrodes wherever on your body, so their usage isn’t only restricted to the neck and shoulder area.
Neck & Shoulder Massager Buying Guide
Finding the right type of neck and shoulder massager these days can be quite a tedious endeavor. On the one hand, there are a variety of products that you should go through, along with their reviews, to find the perfect one for you. Besides, most models nowadays are so feature-packed that you can’t tell which characteristics are essential, or which you can do without. Read our guide for more information.
If you want to opt for an electric model, there are two ways you can go about things. The first design you will come across actually wraps around your neck and shoulders and will resemble a pillow. The second type of design is the so-called handheld units, which can be employed on other body regions, as well. Therefore, the latter is more versatile than the former.
2. Power Source
Electric neck and shoulder massagers nowadays can be either battery operated or should be connected to a power outlet at all times. Battery-operated units are convenient as they are portable. What this means is that you can take them with you even when you go camping. You will rest assured that they are going to serve you even when there’s no power outlet nearby.
The downside to getting a battery-operated model is that it has a limited runtime. While the batteries of some can last for as many as three hours, others won’t be able to provide you with functionality for more than one or two. Nevertheless, 20 to 30-minute massage sessions are recommended, so even a 1-hour runtime is enough. Units that run on batteries are usually cordless.
Corded models aren’t really portable since they need to be plugged into a power outlet to work. While the power cord of some is long enough for you to be in bed while you use them, the cord of others is short. The longer the cord, the more portability you are going to benefit from. There are even neck and shoulder massagers compatible with car adapters nowadays. Truckers are the people that will want to get one of these, for instance.
3. Type of massage
There are three types of massages you can get from such a device:
- Shiatsu massage
- Kneading massage
- Vibration massage
Shiatsu massage is considered the most effective of the three. It promotes relaxation, as well as muscle relief. The massage nodes that Shiatsu models are equipped with imitate the movements of a human’s hands. They are perfectly aligned, being capable of working different muscles at the same time. You typically have the freedom to change the rotation direction of the nodes so that they hit other muscles.
Kneading massage is another popular technique and it does wonder when relieving tension from the muscles. This technique also works for increasing your local blood flow, which in turn brings more nutrients and oxygen to the local tissues. Kneading massage devices can also increase your muscular flexibility, so individuals experiencing stiff and sore necks and shoulders should consider them.
Vibration massage is also considered quite effective when it comes to providing you with pain relief. It also relaxes your muscles and it has an invigorating effect. The only drawback is that vibration massage isn’t usually present in portable neck and shoulder massagers, being a typical feature of chairs made specifically for this purpose.
4. Size and weight
We’ve talked about the importance of the design of a neck and shoulder massager. But did you know that its size and weight also have an impact on user experience? Naturally, for those that are to be wrapped around your neck, you don’t really have to worry about this aspect. But if you are taller and you get a too-small unit, it’s not going to work for your physical attributes.
For handheld units, you will have to consider both the dimensions and the weight. Otherwise, if you don’t have a lot of power in your hands, using a bulky massager is going to produce even more neck and shoulder pain, as well as fatigue.
If you know that this is not a problem for you, don’t worry about it. If, on the other hand, you’re a somewhat small individual, you don’t weigh a lot, and you’re out of shape, using a big and heavy model will make you uncomfortable.
5. User-friendly interface
As you can expect, the wide array of products available in this category makes it difficult for you to pick the right one. Above all, the model you will end up choosing needs to be convenient and easy to use. If you are tech-savvy and have no problem understanding the somewhat technical information in a massager’s manual, using it isn’t going to be a hassle for you.
Keep in mind that at some point, you might have to get a neck and shoulder massager for one of your parents or grandparents. Seniors are less eager about learning new things, especially in terms of technology nowadays. A simple model that comes with several buttons will be good enough for them. It will get the job done and at the same time, be simple enough to use.
On the other hand, if you are getting the unit for yourself or for a person in tune with electronic devices, there’s no need for you to look for analog controls. Digital models, complete with LCD panels and other such features provide straightforward use for a tech-savvy person.
The issue with many neck and shoulder massagers is that they aren’t very clear about what heating functions they come with. Ideally, you should pick one that comes with a temperature range.
Naturally, if it starts feeling uncomfortable, you can turn off the heat altogether. However, for some types of inflammation, this feature is quite helpful. The blood circulation in the neck and shoulder area is a lot more stimulated thanks to it.
Whenever using a device that comes with heat therapy, allow it to warm up. Sometimes, the heat can be too low and this is because many manufacturing companies design the products in this way. It’s far safer to avoid causing burns on people’s skin by making the unit has limited heating capabilities. Use this function judiciously to avoid harming your muscles and making the inflammation even more severe.
Tips For Using a Neck Massager
1. Use Heat in Moderation
Be careful with the temperature settings of the device. Most of the time, the heating isn’t necessarily too strong. However, some fabrics are more susceptible to higher temperatures. You could end up burning your favorite shirt by accident. Synthetic fabrics are known to melt when they are subjected to high temperatures – and that includes some polyester products.
Even though most of the models currently available come with heat limiters, they are subject to malfunctions. If you start feeling uncomfortably warm, just turn off the heating function. Besides, getting heated massages too often can result in bruises and can cause circulatory issues (especially on Rosacea and couperose-prone skin).
2. Use a Towel to Lower the Intensity
Since getting a deep-tissue massage can be pretty intense, you can place a towel between your neck and shoulder area and the massage nodes of the device. If you have to, you can also fold it in half. Always remember that massages are meant to feel good — they shouldn’t cause unnecessary stress or additional pain. We’ve also found reports from people saying that they’ve positioned a small pillow between the massager and their necks and shoulders, also to lower the intensity.
3. Start With The Lowest Setting
You can’t know for sure whether the massage nodes of the device are just too powerful for you if you start with the highest setting. If the lowest one doesn’t feel like it’s enough, just move on to the next. Gradually increasing the intensity will allow you to test the waters in terms of what you can take. It will also show you a clear picture of the device’s capabilities.
4. Read The Manual
Use the neck and shoulder massager only as per the instructions provided by the manufacturing brand. That means that you should avoid getting your electric model in contact with water, for example. There are lots of safety-related pieces of advice in an instruction manual, so we strongly suggest consulting it in depth.
5. Avoid Using It On Children
The majority of neck and shoulder massagers available for sale these days are designed for adults. Therefore, they shouldn’t be used on children, and not just because they don’t represent the ideal end-users. Children’s necks are smaller and more sensitive compared to those of adults, so you could end up causing serious injuries. Plus, the vibration or deep-kneading massage of some models is too powerful to handle by a little one.
6. Remove Anything On & Around Your Neck Before Use
Neckties, scarves, as well as necklaces, can all get caught in the massager and significantly increase the risk of you suffering an injury. Remove any of these before you begin your massage session. If you don’t injure yourself, there’s still a high risk of you damaging the necklace, and it could have sentimental value.
7. Don’t Use an Electric Model on The Front of Your Neck
Using electric models on the front of your neck can be extremely dangerous since this practice can be at the root of a serious medical condition called carotid artery damage. Massages should always be performed on the back of your neck, not on the front.
8. Focus on Massage Frequency
Short and frequent massage sessions are highly recommended compared to long and intense ones. Most neck and shoulder massagers come with 15 to 30-minute recommended treatment sessions. To make sure that you don’t overdo it, choose a model that comes with an auto shut-off feature.
FAQ About Neck & Shoulder Massagers
1. How long can I use a neck massager for?
While the logical answer to this question could be ‘for as long as it takes until you get neck pain relief, it could take hours for this to happen. As such, we recommend organizing your massage schedule depending on your personal program. You can use a neck and shoulder massager for fifteen to thirty minutes before you go to sleep every evening. Besides, many models come with an automatic shut-off function, so they aren’t going to continue during your sleep.
2. Can you use a neck and shoulder massager if you are pregnant?
These devices are generally considered safe. However, it’s always better to talk to your physician and find out whether you are allowed to use one if you are pregnant. In theory, using a manual massager is safer as it doesn’t have any heat, vibration, or deep tissue massage functions. Make sure you read the instructions before using the product, no matter if you are pregnant or not.
3. Can you use a neck and shoulder massager on other body areas?
You’ll find that some handheld models can be used as neck and shoulder ones, too. Therefore, you have the freedom to use their functions on other body areas, as well. Sure, some of them might not be good for massaging your feet, for example, due to their design (and power). Nevertheless, using one on your lower back is possible, for people who have pain in this area, as well.
4. Can I use a neck massager in the shower?
It all comes down to what kind of model you have purchased. As you know, there are manual models, as well, and those are usually made of safe materials such as wood. The ones that are electric, however, are unsafe to use in a wet environment. We advise against using an electric neck and shoulder massager while you take a bath or shower.
5. Can you get behind the wheel while using a neck and shoulder massager?
It goes without saying that you can physically do so, but it’s not a good idea. You can get a massage cushion, instead, or a specially designed massage cover for your car seat. The reason why using a neck and shoulder massager when you drive isn’t recommended is that the vibrations of some can be very powerful. Therefore, they can distract you. You might end up looking for the remote control instead of having your eyes on the road all the time.
6. How much does a neck massager generally cost?
Some of the cheapest neck and shoulder massagers are sold for around ten to thirty dollars. As you can expect, they have certain limitations when it comes to the number of functions they come with. They are also less effective, and they can be manufactured by shady brands or companies you’ve never heard of in your life. A better quality massager for your neck and shoulders costs at least forty to fifty dollars and a feature-rich, high-end one can go beyond one or even two hundred.
We hope we’ve helped you understand what the most important features of the best neck & shoulder massager are for you. As you might have seen, the variety of models that are currently available for sale can make it challenging for you to tell which is the perfect one for your requirements. If you have the time, we recommend going through as many neck & shoulder massager reviews as possible.
The section we put together on tips for using a neck massager is by far the most important one if you are focused on safety. Once again, never use an electric device that needs to come in contact with your body without reading the user manual. Get used to the controls and start with a lower intensity and you’ll soon love to get neck and shoulder massages every evening.
See also: handheld massager reviews