Dealing with sciatica pain can be a grueling and unpleasant experience, and it can impede and take joy out of your regular activities. As there is currently no quick cure for sciatica, proper treatment will require consultation with a medical professional, physical therapy, and patience on your part.
Relieving compression and tightness of the musculature around the sciatic nerve is a goal of sciatica treatment, and getting massages is an effective way to regularly promote this relief and comfort.
Finding a dedicated massage therapist to see regularly may not be within the budget of everybody suffering from sciatica, and a therapist would likely not always be available to you when pain and discomfort hits, such as the moment you encounter a .
Hence, a personal massage device that can be used regularly and by oneself in the comfort of one’s own home is an excellent investment to make. Many of these personal massagers can mimic the massage patterns and intensities of a massage therapist, and can be directed with one’s own hands to areas of need.
In this buyers guide, we discuss further about how sciatica is treated and what makes a great personal massager, and we compile a selection of the available to you on the market. The table below gives a quick snapshot of our top picks, and further down we go into detail about each massager. Let’s get right to it then!
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica or sciatic is a throbbing pain or tingling sensation that travels along your sciatic nerve, which extends from your spinal cord through your hips, buttocks, and into each of your legs. Typically sciatic pain will only occur in one of the two legs. The root cause of sciatica is compression on the sciatic nerve, which could happen because either the spine has grown narrow, a herniated disk, or a bone spur in the spine. Since the primary reason for sciatic pain is a compressed nerve, it can be treated through the means of non-medicinal home remedies such as massages or heat therapy.
A massage is a traditional neuromuscular therapy that releases muscle tension, which in turn reduces pressure on the sciatic nerve. A massage is also capable of releasing endorphins, which help in reducing sciatic nerve pain. Endorphins are a group of hormones inside your brain that, when released, activate your opioid receptors, thereby increasing your level of emotional happiness and acting as a natural painkiller.
If you’re quite convinced that you would benefit from a good sciatica massage, but realize that regular massages with a therapist would cost an arm and a leg, not to worry! In this article, we share our reviews of some of the best electronic massagers for sciatica symptoms that will save you both time and money.
You may also like Best Car Seat Cushion for Sciatica
What features should you consider when buying a massager for sciatica?
Before buying a massager, let us first consider what type of message we want to get:
- Deep tissue massage helps to reduce tension in your muscles, promoting .
- Swedish massage improves the blood flow to the area of the body being massaged, thereby promoting faster healing.
- Neuromuscular massage loosens contracted muscles, reducing aches and soreness while also promoting blood circulation.
Each type of massage can help in reducing sciatic pain in their own way. Which type of massage you opt for will boil down to personal choice and experience as to which massage best suits your body and the strength of massage pressure that you’re able to endure. Different massagers may provide different types of massages, so decide the type of massage you’d like before choosing.
Level of Massage Intensity
Closely related to massage type is massage intensity. Each person has his or her own tolerance or preference of the intensity with which a massage is done.
Thankfully most massagers have different levels of intensity to suit your tolerance or preference, so that intensity can be reduced if you need less pressure, or increased if you prefer a deeper massage. Therefore, it would be a safe choice to pick a massager that offers several levels of intensity due to this versatility.
Heat therapy is especially effective for sciatic pain as it can warms up muscles and loosens them as well as the nerves surrounding the muscles.
You may also like How to sleep with lower back pain and sciatica
Compression or Vibration
Compression massages act by applying pressure on your muscles to release knots and promote their relaxation. This may also be known as . Vibration massages shake your muscles at a fast rate, relaxing them through loosening. Vibration here is alternatively known as percussion.
If you can find a massager that offers both varieties, you would benefit from the best of both massage methods. However, most affordable massagers perform only one of either compression or vibration/percussion. In this case, look for one that offers the type of massage you are more comfortable with and believe will yield better results for your case.
Battery and Portability
Sciatic pain can strike anywhere. You may need to relieve the pain in your office or at your home. If it is portability you seek, choose a more lightweight massager.
Secondly, massaging the sciatic area requires you to be able to twist and turn a bit to hit the entire areas. In this case, a battery-operated massager may be beneficial as it is not restricted by a cord and thus is easier to use wherever you want. Similarly, review how long a massager’s battery tends to last, as you don’t want to be charging it in the middle of a massage. Most battery-operated massagers will last a few medium-length sessions.
You may also like Best Heating Pads for Sciatica
Best Recommended Massagers for Sciatica
#1 – Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager
The Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager is a uniquely designed pillow-shaped massager, which can be used to massage not only the neck, but most any part of the body, including the thighs and lower back.
This is an FDA-registered device that incorporates both heat therapy and shiatsu to give you an excellent massage for your sciatic pain. There are four shiatsu massage nodes on this device. The shiatsu massage nodes reverse their directions every minute to create variation. Heat therapy is extremely useful for sciatica pain since it relaxes the sciatic nerve and eases the pressure, which helps remove the symptoms right at the root. Given the massager’s size and form factor, you can use it almost anywhere in any position, whether you are sitting down at work, lounging on your couch, or lying down in bed.
The massager is encased in high-quality and durable vegan leather, which is soft to touch and very easy to clean. This device also includes an AC as well as a DC charger so you can charge the device even in your car. The massager comes with a one-year warranty and a bold 90-days full refund guarantee on this device.
- Unique pillow-shaped massager, easy to store and carry.
- Includes a shiatsu mode and heat therapy.
- Durable and easy-to-clean encasing made from vegan leather.
- 4 shiatsu nodes that reverse their direction every minute.
- 1-year warranty (2 years with registration) and 90-day return guarantee.
- It does not have a rechargeable battery.
- Some users feel that the heating effect reduces over time.
You may also like Best Gaming Chair for Sciatica
#2 – RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Massager
The RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Massager uses percussion technology to give you a versatile massage almost anywhere on your body. As a handheld device with a cordless design, it can be directed anywhere on the body that is feeling pain and needs pain relief.
It has a very powerful motor that is able to deliver 3600 RPM. It also has an auto shut-off feature at the end of 20 minutes so that you do not exceed the recommended duration of percussion.
It has a battery backup of 140 minutes, which means that it can be carried with you practically anywhere and used anytime you feel sciatic pain. The massager shuts off while charging, which is another very good safety feature.
There are five different types of massage heads that can be used to massage various parts of the body.
Compared with the Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager, although the Renpho does not have the same kneading shiatsu mode or heat therapy, its functionality is a bit more flexible and can always be handled by yourself.
- Handheld, cordless, and battery-operated design, extremely portable and can be used anywhere.
- 140 minutes of battery backup.
- A strong motor that can perform at 3600 RPM.
- Auto shut off safety feature after 20 minutes of massage.
- Five different massage helps for reaching various parts of the body.
- Some users have complained that the rechargeable battery was defective on their unit.
- Some users complained that they received a refurbished and used device in their shipping. If you purchase a unit described as “New” from Amazon but receive a used device, you have the option to return or exchange.
Here we have a video describing RENPHO Rechargeable Hand Held Deep Massager:
You may also like Best Knee Braces for Sciatica
#3 – HoMedics Percussion Action Massager with Heat
The HoMedics Percussion Action Massager with Heat is another feature-packed massager on this lineup. The massager uses a percussive therapy technique through its dual pivoting massage heads, which can generate pulses at the rate of 3100 pulses per minute, giving you a gentle and soothing sciatic massage therapy. Its intensity levels are great for a massager.
As a handheld massager that is very lightweight and portable, you can carry it around with you. However, not that this does NOT use a chargeable battery. As discussed earlier, sciatic pain can occur anywhere; therefore, a portable massager is great for a patient suffering from sciatica pain.
This massager has an optional heating feature, and heat can help decompress the tense muscles around the sciatic nerve.
There is a single easy-to-use power-up button, which can also be used to control the intensity level.
With dual massage heads, this massager is great for enveloping larger muscles, or hitting the back muscles surrounding the spine.
To cap it all off, this device comes with a generous two years limited warranty.
- Percussive massage with a heating therapy option.
- Easy to use, handheld, and portable.
- 4 intensity levels that can be set to your comfort level.
- One button operation.
- Limited 2 year warranty – the longest advertised warranty in our selection of massagers.
- Versatile, dual massage heads (offered only by this and the next massager in this list).
- No battery – must be used corded.
- A few users have found that the plastic on the massager separated shortly after purchase. Other users complained that their device malfunctioned after a few months – in these cases, it would be great to take advantage of the generous 2 year warranty offered by the manufacturer.
You may also like Best Office Chair for Sciatica
#4 – VIKTOR JURGEN Handheld Back Massager
The VIKTOR JURGEN Handheld Back Massager has a dog-head (double-headed) design, with three sets of removable massage heads that can be used on various body parts. This means a total of six massage heads for various types of massages on different parts of your body, including modes like acupuncture and shiatsu.
This is a professional-grade massager with a motor that can run up to 3350 pulses per minute. There are multiple massage intensity and speed settings, so you can choose how powerful your massage will be.
It is an easy-to-use handheld device with a comfortable grip and a long 71-inch cord along with a firm rubber grip on the handle so that it does not slip out of your hands while massaging.
Like the HoMedics massager, this one also comes with dual massage heads, which are great for enveloping larger muscles, or hitting the back muscles surrounding the spine. Therefore, this is a great alternative, with excellent power and firmness.
- Six massage heads for different types of massages, including acupuncture and shiatsu.
- Dog-headed design for comfortably massaging many parts of the body.
- Strong, professional-grade motor that runs at a high 3350 pulses per minute.
- Comfortable anti-slip rubber grip on the handle.
- Multiple massage intensity levels.
- Versatile, dual massage heads (offered only by this and the previous massager in this list).
- Like the HoMedics massager, not a cordless device. Not super portable.
- Some users complained that the device was very heavy. The entire package weighs 3.45 lbs, but the massager alone will be a bit lighter than that.
- Noise produced by the massager is considered noisy by some users.
You may also like Can a TENS Machine Be Used for Sciatica?
#5 – RENPHO C3 Deep Tissue Muscle Massager
The RENPHO C3 Deep Tissue Muscle Massager is a professional grade massager which can apply percussion up to 3200 RPM intensity with twenty adjustable levels so that you can really finetune the intensity of your massage. There are four different massage heads with the gun, which can be used for various parts of your body. The Bullet-head and U-shaped head are the most relevant for targeting sciatic pain.
It has a rechargeable battery with up to 8 hours of battery backup and 2500 MH off capacity, requiring only 2-3 hours to charge to full. This is a very long battery life and it lasts longer than any other massager on our list. Super portable. You can use it anywhere and take it with you to your office or home for a full day and still have charge left! If you’re looking for the most portable, flexible form factor for a massager, this is the one to get.
Even better is this massager is very quiet and does not produce more than 63.5dB of noise at the highest intensity level.
- Professional grade massager with 3200 RPM motor and 20 intensity levels.
- It is battery operated within an 8-hour battery backup, by far the longest lasting battery on our list.
- Four types of massage heads are available for various parts of the body.
- The massager is very quiet and does not create a sound of above 63.5dB at even the highest intensity level.
- It has a simple and easy-to-use digital display.
- The smallest and most portable form factor in our selection.
- Comes in a convenient, portable case.
- A sleek, matte black design.
- Some users have found that though the original battery has an 8-hour capacity, the total battery capacity declines after a few uses.
- Some users have still found the massager a little noisy despite the advertised maximum noise level of 63.5dB.
- Flexibility and novelty comes with a price tag to match. The most expensive massager on this list.
You may also like Best Mattress for Spinal Stenosis
#6 – TEC.BEAN Handheld Deep Percussion Massager with Heat
The TEC.BEAN Handheld Deep Percussion Massager with Heat is another solid Percussion massager with six interchangeable heads and a soft rubber hammer that can be very effective in massaging different parts of the body.
It also has a variable speed feature where you can select the speed and intensity level at which you want your massage.
The heating feature of the massager helps improve the circulation and flow of blood, which promotes healing of injuries.
The massager is ergonomically designed with an easy-to-hold handle with an anti-slip grip, enabling you to massage with just one hand.
- Six interchangeable massage heads and a soft rubber hammer help you to massage different joints and muscle groups on your body.
- There is a variable speed feature that allows you to choose your massage intensity to suit your liking.
- The heating function in this massager improves blood flow and relax muscles quicker.
- The device is ergonomically designed with an easy to use handle that has an anti-slip grip.
- It is not a cordless massager; therefore, it lacks the portability of other cordless massages in this lineup.
- The massager may be louder than most others on our list.
You may also like Best Shoes for Spinal Stenosis
#7 – Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Handheld Massager
Wahl brings its near-century long experience in electric body grooming devices to the handheld massager market with the Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Therapeutic Handheld Massager, another excellent choice for relieving sciatica pain. This is one of the few massagers on this lineup that is FDA approved and therefore adheres to the highest quality standards.
It has four different massage heads, which can be used to massage various parts of the body using multiple techniques.
It is designed in an ergonomic fashion and is easy to hold, and has an anti-slip contoured coating on the handle so that it can be held quite comfortably with one hand.
The massager has variable intensity settings, which will allow you to customize your intensity of massage.
- Variable intensity levels allow you to choose the level at which you want your massage.
- One of the few FDA-approved massages thereby adherent to strict quality checks and measures.
- Easy to use anti-slip handle with a contoured design so that you can hold the massager easily with one hand and conduct the massage yourself.
- Four different massage heads to provide different massage therapies on various parts of the body.
- Powerful motor that can run at 3350 RPM.
- Percussive intensity not as focused as other percussive massagers on our list. Mainly vibrational.
- Not a cordless design, therefore not as portable as other massagers
- A few users mentioned that the product malfunctioned after a couple of months of usage.
- Some users complained about shipping damages in the product when received. Take advantage of Amazon’s 30 day return policy if you receive a damaged device.
You may also like Best Pillow for Spinal Stenosis
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How can a massage help treat my sciatica pain?
Massages can help treat sciatica pain by relieving the tense muscles that compress and put pressure on the sciatic nerve, while also promoting the release of endorphins, a hormone that helps to increase your pain threshold.
Q. How often should I massage for treating sciatica pain?
In a 2014 clinical study, a 30 minute deep tissue massager five days a week for two weeks was found to be effective in relieving sciatica pain. Since seeing a massag
Q. Should I see a professional massage therapist or invest in a personal massager for home use?
Professional massage therapists are excellent because you can fully relax and leave the work to somebody else. Licensed therapists are also very knowledgeable about the various muscle groups and which ones surround which nerves.
However, seeing a massage therapist can become very expensive, especially if you want to follow the recommended regimen of five massages a week. As such, investing in a personal massage device is an excellent alternative, because it is significantly less expensive (some massage devices can cost the same as a single massage therapy session!), can be recharged and reused as often as you like, and is accessible the moment your sciatica discomfort hits.
Q. What are some other home remedies for sciatica pain that can complement my massages?
Other quick and simple treatments for sciatica pain at home include applying alternating cold and hot packs (some massagers have heat therapy built in), stretching the muscles triggering your sciatica pain, and over-the-counter pain relief medications. We recommend consulting your medical professional about your best course of treatment and then developing a home treatment routine from there.
You may also like Best Back Brace for Spinal Stenosis
Parting Words – Effective and Relaxing Sciatica Treatment at Home
Sciatica can cause irritating and bothersome chronic pain to the point that it may disruptions in your daily life. We recommend not staying idle about this and taking steps to treat the symptoms, as the earlier you do so, the quicker you’ll be able to relieve your discomforts, start on your route to recovery, and get back to the daily activities most important to you.
A massage around the sciatic region is a great place to start, and we have collected a great selection of fantastic massagers for you to choose from based on the features mentioned in our buyer’s guide and the ratings and comments mentioned by real users on Amazon.
Massagers comes in different form factors and employ different techniques, so you certainly have a vast array of options to choose from. Choosing a suitable massager for you means that you will be able to start relieving your pains from home, and do so as often as is comfortable and convenient for you, without having to spend loads to seek out a regular massage therapist. Proper treatment of your sciatica symptoms could also mean that you may be able to avoid other potentially costly treatments or medications in the future.
In our opinion, the Zyllion Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager - Premium Spa-Like 3D Kneading Deep Tissue Massage Pillow (Wired) with Soothing Heat for Muscle Pain Relief, Athletes, Chair and Car - Black (ZMA-13-BK) is the best choice among the various options we have considered because can provide both heat therapy and shiatsu-style compression, and is an FDA-approved device.
If you are looking for a value for money option, you can also consider the VIKTOR JURGEN Handheld Back Massager - Double Head Electric Full Body Massager - Deep Tissue Percussion Massage for Muscles, Head, Neck, Shoulder, Back, Leg, Foot -Best Gifts for Women/Men, which offers great value and features at a very reasonable price point.
While I make every possible effort to provide updated and correct information, the advice given in this article and website should not be construed as “medical advice”. Please consult with your physician or medical practitioner before using any massager for sciatica nerve pain. Each individual may have their unique issues, and your medical practitioner will be qualified to guide you through your treatment.