Is It Safe To Use a Massage Gun on Your Neck? Experts Weigh In



Scroll social media platforms like TikTok and also you’ll undoubtedly come throughout a slew of well being suggestions and warnings. However it could actually admittedly be tough to know which of them to consider.

The most recent declare is that you need to by no means use a therapeutic massage gun in your neck, with warnings about constricted blood movement and stroke signs. It could sound like social media theatrics upon first look, however there’s some reality concerned—with essential nuances.

So, is utilizing a therapeutic massage gun in your neck truly harmful? Right here’s what consultants say about it, plus the best way to soothe your muscle tissue safely.

Is it secure to make use of a therapeutic massage gun in your neck?

Can you employ a therapeutic massage gun in your neck? Briefly, it is dependent upon the place precisely in your neck we’re speaking about.

“To attenuate the chance of damage when utilizing a therapeutic massage gun on the neck, keep away from the entrance and sides on account of important buildings like veins and arteries,” says Gendai Echezona, MD, a triple board-certified anesthesiologist and ache administration specialist at Premier Pain Care in Norwalk, Connecticut. “Stories point out potential points like complications, dizziness, or stroke-like signs.”

For example, an April 2023 case report within the World Journal of Clinical Cases highlighted a 49-year-old girl who developed blood clots in her carotid arteries (these on either side of the neck) after utilizing a neck massager—and encountered stroke-like signs like leg weak spot and issue talking because of this. The signs improved after per week of treatment.

In the meantime, a Could 2022 case report within the journal Clinical Practice and Cases in Emergency Medicine detailed a 27-year-old girl who skilled headache, neck ache, and dizziness after repetitive use of a handheld therapeutic massage gun. The affected person was even discovered to have vertebral artery dissection, a tear within the neck’s blood vessel lining and a recognized explanation for stroke in sufferers beneath 45. Nevertheless, after a keep on the hospital, she was discharged with out the necessity for surgical procedure.

“Handheld therapeutic massage weapons have risen in recognition and grow to be extra accessible to the on a regular basis person,” be aware the authors within the Medical Apply and Instances in Emergency Drugs case report. “Sadly, regardless of the rise of recognition, correct use shouldn’t be clearly demonstrated.”

The report notes web site picture searches for these units, by which many adverts present fashions improperly utilizing the machine on delicate areas within the neck.

Nevertheless, when used appropriately, therapeutic massage weapons generally is a useful a part of your wellness routine.

“Whereas there’s a concern circulating on social media about potential dangers, it is important to notice that when used appropriately, therapeutic massage weapons may be secure and efficient for addressing muscle stress,” says Carol B. Espel, CPT, director of health at Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida.

The lowdown on the best way to use a therapeutic massage gun safely

Once you use a massage gun, by no means purpose it on the entrance of your neck.

“Deal with the muscle tissue towards the again half, avoiding direct contact with the backbone, throat, and entrance half of the neck,” says Anjali Agrawal, DC, a chiropractor and purposeful drugs practitioner at Back in Balance Health in Los Altos, California. “The entrance a part of the neck shouldn’t be massaged, ever. This area comprises delicate buildings and important blood vessels, and making use of percussive strain may be harmful.”

You must also keep away from direct contact over your backbone vertebrae. Begin with a mild setting, ensuring you’re utilizing the right attachment.

“Some therapeutic massage weapons include attachments particularly designed to be used on the neck, that are normally softer and gentler in comparison with attachments meant for bigger muscle teams,” Agrawal says.

Restrict your therapeutic massage session, too, notably if you happen to’re new to the follow. A brief session of two to 10 minutes is usually sufficient. Use light, round, or sweeping actions with gentle strain.

When used correctly, consultants agree therapeutic massage weapons can certainly be a useful software for neck muscle pressure, together with delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) that happens after an extended interval of neck muscle use.

“This will happen after train, extended pc use, and even browsing on a smartphone,” says James Murphy, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at OSF HealthCare in Urbana, Illinois. “The muscle tissue across the scapula or wing bone are intimately associated to neck motion—just like the trapezius and the levator scapulae. These reply properly to percussive remedy.”

The trapezius muscle is discovered within the higher again and the again of the neck space, whereas the levator scapulae muscle runs from the highest of the shoulder to the neck.

Normally, therapeutic massage weapons are designed for use on massive muscular areas. In case you have any questions on which muscle tissue to focus on along with your therapeutic massage gun, ask your well being care supplier.

“Whereas there’s a concern circulating on social media about potential dangers, it is important to notice that when used appropriately, therapeutic massage weapons may be secure and efficient for addressing muscle stress.” —Carol B. Espel, CPT

Are there different areas of your physique to keep away from utilizing a therapeutic massage gun?

A therapeutic massage gun generally is a useful software, however it’s not proper for each a part of your physique.

“There are a number of areas of the physique the place warning must be exercised when utilizing a therapeutic massage gun,” Agrawal says. “These areas are typically extra delicate or have underlying buildings that might be simply affected by the percussive drive of the therapeutic massage gun.”

Along with the entrance of your neck and throat, skip the therapeutic massage gun on:

  • Bony areas like your backbone, ribs, elbows, knees, and shins
  • Joints like your wrists, ankles, and shoulders
  • Head and face (delicate buildings like your eyes, ears, and sinuses may be injured by a therapeutic massage gun)
  • Areas over your coronary heart, belly, or pelvic organs (your stomach and decrease again must also be averted when pregnant, and particularly in later levels of being pregnant)
  • Open wounds or infections
  • Genital areas

For those who’re unsure whether or not it is secure to make use of a therapeutic massage gun in a specific space, take warning and keep away from that space or chat along with your well being care supplier for steering.

The best way to treatment sore neck muscle tissue with out a therapeutic massage gun

Our consultants agree that a substantial amount of easing sore neck muscle tissue comes from adjusting your life-style habits all through the day. Stretch to take care of flexibility and alleviate stress, maintain shifting with actions like yoga or Pilates, keep correct posture, and keep hydrated to stop tight muscle tissue.

For those who nonetheless have sore muscle tissue, you may strive warmth remedy in lieu of a therapeutic massage gun.

“Making use of warmth to the sore muscle tissue may help improve blood movement and loosen up tense muscle tissue,” Agrawal says. “You should use a heating pad or heat towel 15 to twenty minutes a number of occasions a day, or take a heat tub or bathe to alleviate discomfort.”

Nevertheless, in case your ache or discomfort continues, see your well being care supplier for personalised recommendation.

“An intensive evaluation of neck ache is essential for tailoring a personalized remedy plan,” Dr. Echezona says. “Muscle soreness may be only one side of ache or a symptom of a extra critical trigger.”

Your major physician might refer you to a licensed bodily therapist, therapeutic massage therapist, or chiropractor to deal with your muscular ache safely.

—medically reviewed by Jennifer Gilbert, MD, MPH

Effectively+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, current, sturdy research to again up the knowledge we share. You possibly can belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Pan J, Wang JW, Cai XF, Lu KF, Wang ZZ, Guo SY. Intracranial massive artery embolism on account of carotid thrombosis attributable to a neck massager: A case report. World J Clin Instances. 2023 Apr 16;11(11):2489-2495. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v11.i11.2489. PMID: 37123320; PMCID: PMC10130990.
  2. Sulkowski Okay, Grant G, Brodie T. Case Report: Vertebral Artery Dissection After Use of Handheld Therapeutic massage Gun. Clin Pract Instances Emerg Med. 2022 Could;6(2):159-161. doi: 10.5811/cpcem.2022.2.56046. PMID: 35701359; PMCID: PMC9197740.


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