Best Neck Massager & Back Massager for Runners

This is a true story that happened TODAY. My husband hurt his back and neck yesterday. He could barely walk when I saw him this morning. When driving home with the kids from the pool we saw him RUNNING. Good idea? We will find out—but it prompted me to find the best neck massager and best back massager for runners.

This was an article I had been planning to do but this incident pushed it to the forefront because I have a feeling my hubby’s back is going to be needing some TLC this evening.

We happen to have invested in two different back and neck massagers just this year. I’m the type of person that loves massages more than anything—almost more than I love peanut butter.

Related: Should You Run With Back Pain?

So, if I can replicate a massage at HOME then I’m going to be as close to heaven as I can get.

In this article,

  • I’m going to answer some general questions related to back pain while running and neck pain while running.
  • I will also address questions related to the use of back and neck massagers.
  • Finally, I am also going to review two top-rated massagers to find the best back massager and best neck massager.

So, let’s get going!

Why does my back hurt after running?

bob-and-brad-neck-massager
The Bob and Brad neck massager is relaxing and one of the best on the market.

If you are new to running, or newer to running, it’s possible that running will hurt your back.

Running is a full-body exercise that involves repetitive high-impact movements which can cause strain on your lower back muscles resulting in pain and stiffness.

Related: 7 Tips to Recover Faster from a Marathon

Why is my neck sore from running?

Your neck may be sore from running due to poor posture while running. When running you want to stand tall with your shoulders back and arms swinging by your side. Your head and neck should be over your hips, and your hips over your legs.

Avoid overstriding or bouncing. Keep your feet low to the ground with a quick, light turnover.

Related: 8 Drills to Fix Running Form

How do I avoid neck and back pain while running?

There are steps you can take (literally!) to avoid back and neck pain while running.

  1. Run with proper form. As noted, keep your body aligned. Stand tall with no hunched shoulders. Keep your arms swinging by your sides. Don’t clench your fists. Keep your feet low to the ground, steps short, and turnover quick.
  2. Warm-up properly. As part of your warm-up, include dynamic stretches like leg swings along with cat/cow, cobra push-ups, and down dogs. Begin your run at a very easy pace.
  3. Heat and ice. If you’re prone to back problems or have back pain from running, alternating heat and ice will help calm your muscles and nerves: Take an Epsom salt bath (if you can carve out the time!) and ice. An Epsom salt bath is a great way for all your muscles to recover from your runs. They’re a go-to recovery tool for me!
  4. Use a back massager or neck massager. Using a neck or back massager can help release tension and increase blood flow to aid in healing.

Related: How to Fix Running Form

Are neck massagers good for you?

neck-massager
Neck massagers are a great way to relax but likely won’t cure any neck and back issues you have.

Neck massagers can be a great tool to help you reduce pain and stress. I like to level up my neck and back massager experience (when I have time!) by sitting quietly in a chair with a Spotify Yoga Mix and lit candles. Then I pretend I’m at the spa. Ahhhh.

Related: Benefits of Foam Rolling

Can I use a neck massager every day?

You can use a neck massager and a back massager every day. It’s best to use a neck or back massager for about 10 to 30 minutes on a spot once a day. 

Can a neck massager hurt you?

A neck massager can hurt you. A back massager can hurt you. That’s because there can be too much of a good thing. You don’t want a neck or back massage to cause pain or leave bruising.

If it hurts while getting a self-massage, lighten the intensity or stop. Applying too much pressure on an injured area can make it worse!

Related: How to Use a Massage Gun?

Where should you not massage your neck or back?

Don’t use a neck massager on your throat. Don’t use it near your carotid artery or major nerves on the sides of your neck. Avoid using vigorously on injured areas.

Don’t use a back massager on your spine or overly sensitive areas.

What is a muscle knot in neck?

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Taking a selfie here as I try out the back and neck massagers after a run.

A muscle knot in your neck or back is when your muscles have tensed up and will not relax. Using a back massager regularly plus ice and heat may loosen up the trigger point. However, in most cases, finding a professional massage therapist will be more successful in releasing a muscle knot.

The same goes for a stiff neck. If you have a stiff neck, I recommend seeing a professional masseuse regularly to relax your muscles and provide relief.

Related: Bob and Brad Massage Gun Reviews

Who should not use a massager?

People who have the following should not use a back massager or neck massager:

  • Fever
  • Blood clots
  • Kidney or liver conditions
  • Uncontrolled hypertension

What is the best neck massager you can buy?

Alright, here we go. I’m going to review two of the top massagers on the market to help you decide what is the best neck massager and back massager you can buy.

Related: Do Compression Boots Work? A Review

Bob and Brad vs. Lesonano Neck Massager Review

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Pin these neck massagers reviews for later!

Bob and Brad Neck Massager

The Bob and Brad deep-kneading Shiatsu back and neck massager has eight deep-kneading massage nodes to penetrate muscles for relaxation with three massage options. The nodes rotate and can shift inward and outward.

My experience: 

This is the best neck and back massager I have ever used. We have a couple of variations from Amazon and Brookstone for when we need to relax or I am battling a headache. This neck massager feels most like a real massage and can elicit that goosebump feeling. It’s gentler yet feels like it is penetrating deeper. 

I also used it on a quad injury that I have and it kneaded the tight spots really well. 

It’s not like a real massage though. And you need to be close to an outlet. It’s a great at-home experience but nothing is quite like the real thing!

PROs

  • Adjustable to target your sore spots
  • 8 rotating massage nodes to hit sore spots
  • Feels close to a real shiatsu massage than most
  • Lightweight (more so than other brands)
  • Can move to use on other parts of your body including the quads and hamstring
  • Easier to have it fit to the body
  • Much quieter than other brands
  • The cord is longer than other brands
  • MUCH cheaper than comparative brands at $69

CONs

  • A bit bulky to put on
  • Not very malleable to smaller bodies
  • Need to be close to an outlet (though the cord is longer than other popular neck massagers)

Bob and Brad Neck Massager Key Specs:

  • U-shaped and adjustable with nodes that move inward and outward
  • 3 massage options
  • Polyurethane leather
  • Quiet

Price: $69.99

Lesonano Neck and Back Massager

Lesonano-neck-massager-review
The Lesonano neck and back massager is a great inexpensive option for runners.

The Lesonano Neck and Back Massager is a popular neck and back massager. You can position it to release tension from all major body parts and amplify the relaxation with a heat option.

My experience: 

I chose the Lesonano Neck and Back Massager because it was top-rated on Amazon and the price was right. But you get what you pay for.

It’s a standard neck and back massager that gets the job done but won’t knock your socks off. It relaxes but doesn’t feel like it deeply penetrates to release tight areas. It worked best on the neck and back when you lean into it.

This massager is awkward to get into and the cord is way too short. 

PROs

  • Adjustable
  • Can change directions of the kneading
  • 8 rotating massage nodes to hit sore spots
  • Heat option
  • Lightweight
  • Can use on other body parts
  • Cheapest quality neck massager at $50

CONs

  • Not deep kneading
  • Cord is VERY short and comes disconnected easily making it annoying to get situated
  • Uncomfortable and awkward to get into
  • Not very adjustable to smaller bodies
  • Loud

Lesonano Neck Massager Key Specs:

  • U-shaped and adjustable with nodes that move inward and outward
  • 3 massage options
  • Heat option
  • Polyurethane leather
  • Virtually noiseless

Price: $50 off Amazon

Bottom line: 

The Bob and Brad back and neck massager is one of the best on the market, especially for the price. It’s not the same as a real massage, of course. But, if you can find a quiet room (maybe even put on some spa music and light a candle), it can give a dose of relaxation into your busy, chaotic life!

If you’re looking for a cheaper, back or neck massager that’s run-of-the-mill, that gets the job done to relax but is not necessarily therapeutic to target sore spots, then the Lesonano back and neck massager is for you. It won’t break the bank and will add some relaxation to your life.

If you want guidance with your marathon and other running goals, check out my run coaching services. Also, be sure to check out my free training plans:

 

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