There are no definitive data stating which massage chair is necessarily better than the next at reducing back pain. In addition, there is no standard price level for massage chairs. Their prices tend to range from 800 to 4,000 dollars. Although a higher price usually correlates with a higher quality, with massage chairs this is not always the case. Recently new lines of similar, if not better models have emerged at significantly lower prices than past models.

See also:

Choosing the Right Ergonomic Office Chair

Choosing the Best Mattress for Lower Back Pain

Find a Comfortable Massage Chair

As with many comfort-related products in the market, the final decision should rest primarily on the opinions of the user. It is advisable to test the many different brands and styles of massage chairs that are available.

Guidelines for Choosing a Massage Chair

Here are some general guidelines to follow when searching for a massage chair:

  • Basic comfort of massage chair - sit down in the chair and get a feel for it. Some chairs may have a shape or contour that better fits a particular person's shape or need.
  • Strength of massage - make sure that the intensity of the massage is appropriate. For a more vigorous massage, look for a chair that offers highly protruded components and strong movements. Those who desire a less intense, more point-specific massage may prefer a massage chair with small rollers and nodes and softer movements.
  • Presets and adjustability of massage chair - take time to experiment with the preset programs. Some massage chairs may have a preset that is specific to a problem area in the back. Other chairs may offer greater variability. A massage chair with a large range of adjustability may prove beneficial when purchasing a single chair for multiple users.
  • Accessories - certain massage chairs will come with a separate ottoman or a leg-rest that extends in and out of the chair. Some positions may be more comfortable for certain back conditions; for example, sitting in a reclining position with the legs elevated may be more comfortable for some people with spinal stenosis. Several chairs even have a leg-rest that has its own massage or vibration capabilities.
  • Appearance of chair - massage chairs come in many sizes and shapes. Some are made with leather and polished wood, synthetic leather and plastic, or other combinations of fabrics and materials. Although the decision should not rely only on appearance, this may be a factor when purchasing.
  • Price range of massage chairs - as mentioned before, massage chairs are quite expensive. Price should always factor in with all of the above aspects for the final decision.

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Again, as with any comfort related product, there is no absolute definition of what is good or bad. Only through trying different types and styles will a person truly understand if a massage chair is beneficial or necessary at all.

Dr. Peter Schubbe is a chiropractor with more than 30 years of experience treating and managing spine pain. He practices at Schubbe-Resch Chiropractic & Physical Therapy Centers in Appleton, WI.

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