Being a busy bee, I do not have the luxury of time to go to a massage therapist when back pains happen. There are alternatives though – devices like massage guns for back pain have been used by many to alleviate such conditions. Of course, I have tried one and with proper use, I was able to eliminate those occasional annoyances and would love to share what I have learned about this nifty tool.

The Massage Gun: An Effective Tool For Back Pain?

So, what are massage guns really? Are these things all novelty and no action? Are they really useful in curbing bothersome bodily pains? Here are some of the things I have found out.

The massage gun is a handheld, high-intensity pulsating massager that delivers fast pressure bursts into muscle tissues. The heads of the device move back and forth to ease pain, minimise tightness in affected areas, improve blood circulation and in turn, advance healing.

There are many massage gun models in the market and they work by releasing circular motions or thumping actions. These models also vary in terms of the pressure and speeds they provide.

So, back to the question – are massage guns for back pain effective?

The thing is, massage therapy has been proven scientifically to aid in faster muscle recovery by boosting blood flow, minimising lactic acid build-up and muscle aches while at the same time, helping improve range of motion and flexibility.

Many physical therapists have recommended that with proper usage, massage guns are effective and safe at providing rapid surges of relief to body parts that are often loaded with stress like the lower back, the neck and the shoulders. Massage guns can also aid the muscles by warming them up prior to training and fitness routines, and it also helps in cool-downs following such strenuous activities.

A study in 2014 also suggested that vibration therapy might help in stopping DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness.

Then again, and I cannot stress this one enough, you do have to learn how to use the device properly. To find out if the device is safe for your condition, you have to talk this over with your physician first. Once you get the green light to use a massage gun for back pain, you have to learn how to use every feature correctly.

High-end models in fact have plenty of features – it is best that you learn about the applications first specifically if you have health conditions or injuries.

Other Benefits To Take Advantage Of

Apart from easing aches and pains, massage guns can also aid in stress reduction ad might promote better sleep particularly if you use the tool before dozing off. Massage guns help the muscles of the body relax thus it assists in easing stress symptoms.

In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health suggests applying exercises to relax muscles to fight back against stress. Correct use of a massage gun can help in this regard.

It’s not only professional athletes and gym buffs who benefit highly from the relief that a massage gun delivers. Salespersons, construction workers, drivers and office staff can also take advantage of its features. People who suffer from chronic work-related conditions like back pain and lumbar pain might find the device helpful in soothing such aches.

Can Massage Guns Take On Various Bodily Pains?

I know there are still burning questions that you want to ask before grabbing the latest in massage gun technology so here we go…

Safe massage gun use indeed eases back pain but what about other types of bodily pains? Can it soothe inflammations on the lower back area? Can folks suffering from arthritis and sciatica benefit from this tool? I can provide good answers for those queries, too.

For people who experience recurring low back inflammation, you may need to get medical advice first before using the device. Advice from your physician should be heeded as well in case you have conditions like fasciitis, tendonitis or bursitis.

What about people with arthritis or sciatica? Are massage guns safe for folks with those conditions? The thing is, if you have those afflictions, getting a high-end, ultra-intense massage gun might not be advisable for you. More intensity and pressure might do affected areas more harm than healing. The use of a massage gun with lower intensities is more recommended for folks with arthritis.

Dr. Jason Wersland, the founder of acclaimed massage gun brand, Theragun, claims that his device helps treat sciatica by releasing tightness and improving blood flow. To make the Theragun safer, the esteemed chiropractor produced a Sciatica Protocol within the device so it will be safer and more effective for people suffering from the condition. Dr. Jason also advises that the device not be applied for more then 2 minutes at a time on a single muscle group.

Then again, before purchasing a massage gun, talking to your doctor about this will do you better. Your doctor can also recommend a device that is more appropriate to your condition.

Using A Massage Gun: The Dos And Don’ts

As I have explained early on, massage guns will only benefit you if you use it properly. At best, massage guns are ideal if the back feels tight and rigid. Be aware of inflammation though – if the pain you experience is quite prodding, severe and sharp, then chances are you might have an inflammation and a massage gun cannot help in this regard. In fact, it might worsen your condition. It is best that you get some professional medical help for this instead of relying on the device.

Here are more crucial things you need to remember for proper massage gun usage:

1. There is no need to excessively stimulate the target area.

Over-stimulating the muscle only pushes fluid into the area and hinders it from flowing back out again. Massage guns are powerful devices so keep the setting at a minimum. Higher settings in fact, are more suggested for larger folks – think football linemen and sumo wrestlers, for that matter.

2. The massage gun should not cause pain during use.

Remember, your muscles will not relax if you are undergoing a rather painful massage. Pain during massage gun use might indicate that you are, in fact, wreaking havoc on the area. If the pain throbs or you experience a sensation similar to pins and needles, then you have to put the device down for the meantime.

3. Massage guns are made to be used on muscles only.

The device should not be used on the bones, the tendons, nerves and joints. Hitting such high-risk areas can lead to neuropathy and other conditions. Massage guns are only that – electronic tools with built-in motors designed to tackle specific areas only. They are not the same as capable massage therapists who are armed with the knowledge of human anatomy. Massage guns cannot distinguish between muscle and bone, artery and nerve.

4. Massage guns should not be used on areas that have wounds, lesions, scabs and bone fractures.

It is a must to avoid those spots since the device might do more harm on it than good. Areas in the body with impaired sensations should be avoided as well since the device can cause damage to it without the user realising it.

5. Massage guns should not be used along with prescription blood thinners like warfarin and heparin.

Aspirins are not a problem. However, for folks who are prescribed with those medications, it is best that they avoid using a massage gun since constant, cyclical pressure of the device can lead to other health problems.

Before a purchase, you have to consider some factors, too. Massage guns differ in terms of applications, speed and weight. You also need to consider the noise it makes; there are models that emit moderate noise while some are quiet workers. Battery life also varies among models.

Conclusion

To wrap everything up, massage guns for back pain are effective provided they are used properly. It is also recommended that you get cleared by your physician first before getting one.

Massage guns come with the manufacturer’s safety advice so be sure to follow the instructions for optimal use.

Related Questions

  1. Can a pregnant woman use a massage gun?

Massage during pregnancy is safe in general for women who do not have pre-existing health conditions. There are no studies available yet that expound on the safety of massage guns for pregnant women. To guarantee that the device is safe for you, it is best that you get this one cleared with your doctor first.

  1. Can I use a massage gun on my neck?

The use of a massage gun on the neck or cervical area is not recommended specifically if you have neck arthritis, neck injuries or a bulging cervical disc. Doing so opens the possibility for trauma if the massage is not performed by a professional.

  1. Are massage guns better than foam rollers?

Both massage guns and foam rollers have their advantages. If you are undecided as to which device to use, you have to consider the price range. Massage guns cost more but if you are willing to splurge for its applications, then go for it.

Emma Pyke
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