Are massage guns good for herniated discs?

Are massage guns good for herniated discs?

In this article, we'll cover:


What is a herniated disc?

Also known as a slipped disc, a herniated disc is a common problem estimated to affect around 2% of the population every year. A herniated disc is a condition where there is a problem with one of the small, cushioned discs that sits between each of the vertebrae as it starts to get pushed out of place. These discs act as shock absorbers to protect the spine from damage, as well as giving us the flexibility to twist, bend and move around. Each disc is comprised of a tough, fibrous shell and a soft, inner core. If one of these discs slips out of place, it can place pressure onto the surrounding nerves, resulting in anything from mild to severe back pain.

massage gun for herniated disc


Causes of a herniated disc

Even just a single, excessive strain or individual injury has the potential to cause a herniated disc – for example, being involved in an automobile accident or twisting and falling during a sporting activity. However, in many cases, herniated discs are simply caused by natural deterioration of the disc material that occurs as a result of advancing age.


Some people are also at greater risk of experiencing a herniated disc, such as those where the problem is common in close blood relatives, those with a physical job that involves lots of bending, twisting and lifting, like working in a warehouse, or people who participate in sports. Being overweight or obese can also accelerate the rate at which the discs start to deteriorate due to the additional pressure placed on them.


Symptoms of a herniated disc

A herniated disc can cause a number of different symptoms, including but not limited to:

-       Lower back pain

-       Numbness, tingling or a feeling like pins and needles in the shoulders, back, arms, hands, legs and feet

-       Neck pain

-       Muscle weakness

-       Pain in the buttocks, hips or legs (if the disc is pressing on the sciatic nerve)

-       Problems bending or straightening your back


However, not every patient will experience symptoms of a herniated disc, or the severity of the symptoms that they do have may vary.


How can a massage gun help treat a herniated disc?

Massage is a very effective form of therapy for reducing the symptoms associated with a herniated disc. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, when we are in pain, we tend to tense our muscles, resulting in soreness and stiffness. Massage can help to encourage blood flow to these muscles, helping them to relax, thus combatting inflammation that can occur in the muscles around the herniated disc and contribute towards discomfort. Secondly, massage helps to trigger the release of natural pain-relieving endorphins. And finally, additional blood flow ensures that all the nutrients and oxygen are delivered to areas of the body that require healing, including damaged tissues caused by the herniated disc.

massage gun


Benefits of massage for a herniated disc

There are a range of reasons why a massage is good for a herniated disc. Massage improves:

-       General muscle and joint stiffness or soreness

-       Feeling of anxiety, depression and stress

-       Your ability to move around and complete day-to-day activities

-       Sleep quality that has diminished due to pain

-       Discomfort and can reduce the need for pain medications


How do massage guns work?

Massage guns use a type of therapy that is known as percussion therapy. Percussion therapy delivers the same results as regular massage but using technology. Unlike regular massage, you can also deliver the treatment on your own body with the same level of effect.


Percussion therapy uses technology to deliver accelerated bursts of pressure into the body tissues. The degree of pressure and speed of acceleration can be determined by altering the head of the massage gun and the speed setting that you use. These handheld devices can be used in the comfort of your own home, giving you the convenience of getting treatment when you need it most.


Are massage guns safe to use on herniated discs?

Massage guns are perfectly safe to use on herniated discs provided that you use them properly and with care. Fortunately, we’ve got the lowdown on some of the things that you should be aware of in order to use a massage gun safely.


Precautions when using a massage gun on herniated discs

One of the most important things to remember is that too much pressure can do more harm than good. For this reason, it’s important to listen to your body and what it’s telling you about the pressure you’re applying. While there are some types of musculoskeletal issues that benefit from hard pressure that causes discomfort, this is not the case with a herniated disc. If it hurts, stop immediately.


You should also focus your massage on the area around the vertebrae rather than directly on it. This is because it’s the muscles around the vertebrae and intervertebral disc where most of the discomfort will be radiating from.


If you have any concerns about using your massage gun for a herniated disc, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor.


How to use a massage gun to relieve pain from a herniated disc

Using a massage gun to relieve pain from a herniated disc couldn’t be easier. The first step is to choose the appropriate attachment. When it comes to treating a herniated disc, it’s important not to use too much pressure and this means that pointed head attachment may be too intense. Instead, a rounded or flat attachment will reduce this intensity and make the process more comfortable. One of the best things about using a massage gun is that the various attachments make it possible to personalise your treatment to your individual requirements.


Next, turn on your massage gun before you apply it to your body. This is important to gently ease your body into the massage. Grip your massage gun and turn it on to the required vibration setting. Again, it’s better to build up the vibration setting slowly rather than potentially starting with a setting that is too intense. Work the massage gun carefully and methodically across the affected area, taking care not to put pressure on the spine itself. Keep your posture as straight as possible to avoid any further complications.


Can a massage gun replace the need to go to a physio to treat sciatica pain?

When it comes to sciatica pain, massage therapy is often overlooked. Sciatica is characterized by pain and numbness that extends down from the spine into the buttocks, legs and even feet. Percussion massage performed using a massage gun can help to loosen and relax muscles in the spine and buttocks that are putting pressure onto the sciatic nerve, reducing the symptoms that you’re experiencing.


Many cases of sciatica are short-lived and for these, a massage gun can be a highly effective treatment that eliminates the need to go to a physiotherapist. However, if you suffer from chronic or recurrent sciatic pain, you may still need to consult with a physio in the future.



Our Pro Massage gun and Mini Massage gun could help you to achieve relief from herniated disc pain. Find out more information about them on our product pages.



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