You don’t need to be an athlete determined to achieve your goals and set new records at any cost to be familiar with back pain. If you have experienced it once, you probably know how it can dramatically undermine your quality of life. Luckily, massage tools have gone a long way to help you fight this condition. This article explains how to use a massage gun on back muscles and what benefits you can expect from this.
- 1 Back Massager Gun Guide: The Whys and How-Tos
- 2 Massage Guns for Back Pain: FAQ
- 3 Smoothing Things Out
Back Massager Gun Guide: The Whys and How-Tos
The key rule when it comes to how to use a massage gun on your back is to start slowly and not linger on a muscle for more than 2 minutes. When using a massage gun for back pain, avoid bony areas. Don’t apply the device for unexplained pain or that caused by injuries.
What is a massage gun?
Also commonly referred to as a percussion massager, a massage gun is a tool that generates rhythmic percussive impulses to improve blood flow in the target muscle as you apply it to the respective spot on your body. Simply put, it imitates what a masseur’s hands can do to your body. It’s typical for massage guns to come with a set of attachments, all shaped differently to deliver the pressure they generate in specialized ways.
It is a handheld device that’s usually suitable for single-handed operation, meaning you can use it yourself. This is not to say you can substitute a professional for a machine gun in every respect, but this is a valid option if you are dealing with muscle soreness caused by mundane physical activities or intense exercise and want to save time and money.
What does a massage gun do to your body?
If you follow the latest trends in wellness and beauty, you have probably noticed the hype around massage guns. Well, the good news is that it’s not merely hype. Rather, this incredibly useful tool is finally getting credit for what it can do for you, which ranges from preventing nasty post-workout muscle pain to intensifying the flow of blood in certain spots.
DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. This is a condition that many people are familiar with as it often develops following a really intense workout or one we were poorly prepared for. Symptoms include muscle fatigue, certain spots being tender to the touch, stiffness, reduced motion range due to pain that’s caused by moving the affected part of the body, and even swelling.
While there’s a widespread perception that DOMS happens because of lactic acid buildup, scientists are inclined to attribute it to microscopic tears in muscles causing inflammation. Whatever the exact mechanism, this condition can only be prevented if you afford yourself the luxury of a proper warm-up before you start exercising. A minute of self-massage on each muscle group is a good way of preventing DOMS.
Improve blood flow
When you massage a certain muscle, it starts getting more blood, which intensifies any chemical exchange and can be described as “activating” the muscle. This is the biological process behind warming up. Your muscles start getting more oxygen as more blood arrives, increasing their strength and flexibility for the moment.
Dispel toxic blood
Whether it is the primary cause or not, lactic acid is still there after your workout, and so are other toxic substances that have to be excreted, the sooner the better. Massaging helps remove such stuff from around particularly strained muscles to avoid soreness. The same applies to excess fluid that might accumulate in certain spots, causing swelling and tightness.
Massage gun techniques for the back
Our back is often affected by careless exercising as many people forget to give it the same warm-up we give to our arms and legs. You probably know what happens next: pain, stiffness, and most likely grumpiness for the rest of the day. To avoid this, use a quality massage gun on your back to activate and relax certain muscles. Classic attachments such as forks and large ballpoint ones are the most common when it comes to back massage, although you might want to target smaller muscles with a smaller attachment. Combine the percussion with gentle strokes across the muscle area for greater effect.
It is important to stick to a safe routine when it comes to back massage. While there are recent indications that massage guns can be a helpful following injury, the general recommendation that you should avoid using one on hurt areas still applies. See a doctor if you feel like you might benefit from percussion therapy, and go ahead if they confirm it. Otherwise, stick to the rule that you should only treat unhurt muscles for no longer than 2 minutes at a time, avoiding bony areas to minimize the risk of damage.
Generally, 30 to 60 seconds should be enough to activate a group of muscles before an intense workout. If you are using a bullet attachment for small-muscle spasms, 15 seconds is usually sufficient. You can give yourself multiple massage sessions daily. One common approach is to warm up your back before a workout and after you’ve finished exercising. Add a longer and less intense session at bedtime if you feel like your back tends to get a bit tense towards the end of the day. This may help you relax and fall asleep more easily.
Massage Guns for Back Pain: FAQ
This section briefly answers a set of commonly asked questions about massage guns and backache. Check above for more details on how to use a massage gun on yourself or someone you care about to overcome back soreness. You are welcome to leave a reply and share your opinion on or experience with a certain aspect, too.
How often should you use a massage gun?
It’s common and generally safe to give your muscles some massage with a gun a couple of times daily. If you exercise actively, it might be a good idea to do it before and after each workout. There’s nothing to prevent you from using a massage gun before you go to bed, too. In fact, back massage can alleviate anxiety and insomnia in patients with certain chronic conditions. Remember to consult your doctor if this is the effect you count on.
How long should you use a massage gun?
Each session shouldn’t last longer than 10 minutes if you are covering a large area of your body. More specifically, spend 30 to 120 seconds on each muscle. Two minutes of massaging with likely activate the muscle, while 60 seconds is more than enough for relaxation. For acute spasms caused by physical strain, 15 seconds should be your maximum time.
Can massage guns be harmful?
Not per se, but you can harm yourself if you apply it the wrong way. It wouldn’t be wise to apply a massage gun to a sprained or pulled muscle, especially if there’s swelling and/or intense pain. Some of the many massage gun attachment uses might cause skin irritation in some people, which is also an indication that you should change your tactic.
Smoothing Things Out
A quality massage gun enables you to stay in control of your body and overcome nasty consequences of physical strain such as backache. Use it with caution, and you are most likely to see the benefits.
Do you have any experience with back massage? Share it in the comments.