Top 7 Back and Neck Gadgets That Help Greta

As a frequent Amazon shopper, I love to view recommendations that are “custom” for me. Quite often, they have nothing to do with my purchase behavior or interest. There are times when Amazon knows me too well. Usually it’s when I’m seeking new back and neck gadgets.

Heading into the holidays, the stress of travel, family, rushing around from one party to the next can make you feel like crap. Besides the traditional hot and cold therapy with a little over-the-counter NSAIDs and a glass of wine, sometimes you need something extra. Here are my top seven favorite gadgets that help me get over neck and back pain and hopefully will provide you with some cervical, thoracic, and lumbar pain relief. You’re welcome!

NUMBER ONE – Cranio Cradle Therapy System

I love this so much, I bought another one. The purpose of this foam, cradle-like cervical support tool is to induce a trigger-point therapy type of relaxation. It can be used throughout the entire spine. I have multiple fusions, scoliosis, osteoarthritis, and spondylitis, so I use this almost everyday. It relaxes the soft tissue and helps release tense muscles in the area that is flaring up. It helps you decompress, provides a little traction, and is magical when you have tension and migraine headaches. Eighty percent of the time, I use this while laying on the floor. The rest of the time, I will use while sitting in a chair or in bed.

NUMBER TWO – Foam Rollers

Foam rollers are great for massaging sore muscles, hitting hard to reach sore spots in your back, as well as stretching on a regular basis. I have two sizes that both provide durable structure for posture stabilization and muscle re-education, particularly in my core area.

NUMBER THREE – OPTP Stretch Out Strap

Stretching is a great way to relieve tension and loosen muscles. I struggle with range of motion in my neck and torso, so the Stretch Out Strap helps me relieve tension and gain increased flexibility when I use it on a regular basis. While I would love to have a physical therapist at home, this tool provides multiple loops within a long strap that allows you to stretch in ways that may usually be difficult if you don’t have someone supporting you. The Stretch Out Strap also comes with a great visual guide book that teaches you 30+ stretches all aimed at providing increased mobility over time.

NUMBER FOUR – Zensufu Acupressure Mat and Pillow

I was skeptical of purchasing this product because it seemed very “WOO”. I’m not a huge fan of alternative medicine, but I will try most products at least once. I’ve had acupuncture therapy three times and it has never provided any pain relief. Everyone is different, so when I first saw this, I believed it would provide zero results. Wrong. This really does help me relax, which is quite difficult. At least for a short-while, the acupressure mat does help me have pain relief. I’ve even fallen asleep on it. WATCH-OUT: Keep this away from children. The tiny discs that are used on this mat and pillow are sharp. If you brush up against it and you’re not prepared, you will receive a surprising shot of pain.

NUMBER FIVE – Car Neck Pillow

Driving hurts me. This neck pillow makes it more tolerable. If you see me driving, I look like the old lady who sits close to the steering wheel. My siblings make fun of me for this. But this is because my range of motion in both my neck and torso make turning my head difficult. Additionally, my thoracic scoliosis provides constant pain throughout the left side of my scapula, shoulder, and arm. Depending on my worst pain area, this pillow provides support where I need it, either in my upper thoracic spine or my cervical spine. I also use it in the passenger seat.

NUMBER SIX – Body Back Buddy Self-Massage Tool

I didn’t marry a masseuse. In fact, I married the opposite. So I bought the “S-hook” which is perfect for hitting trigger and pressure points on my neck and back. The 11 therapy knobs are different shapes, which is a nice feature that allows you to apply different types of pressure. Granted, this tool doesn’t replace a deep tissue massage, but the S-hook does provide outstanding relief for trigger points that are located in your neck and shoulders. It allows you to dig into the area and the surrounding soft tissue to break up knots. I can’t live without this!

NUMBER SEVEN – HoMedics Ultra Plus Shiatsu Massage Pillow

Hello, Heaven! It’s warm, soft, and kneads you! This pillow is perfect for those who prefer deep-tissue massage. You can turn the heat on or off. Plus, you can use this throughout your neck and back. This can travel with you too! If you’re like me, travel makes me tense in my shoulders and upper back. I’ve taken this pillow on multiple trips so I can find some pain relief while crashing in a hotel room in Carroll, IA or Lincoln, NE for work.

ON THE FENCE – Sacro Wedgy

This was a November purchase for me, so it’s pretty new to my arsenal of gadgets. It comes in a male and female version. I purchased the female version. Last month, I received sacroiliac joint injections to help reduce inflammation in my lower back. To help the healing process along, I am doing more stretching, Pilates, and I thought “HEY, let’s try this Sacro Wedgy thingy.”

Basically, you position this custom, foam mold right above your tail bone. Then you lay on it for up to 20 minutes. It’s supposed to help stabilize the sacrum which then allows your hips and pelvic area to relax.

I’m on the fence with this one still only because my lower back and hips are really out of whack. I do find minimal relief when the muscles around the gadget relax and I rock from left to right. But here’s the thing, I’m a year post-c-section, so my core isn’t “ripped” unlike other new, amazing moms. Actually, I don’t think my core has ever been “ripped”, but I digress. My point is, I think with increased core training, my sacrum will become stabilized over time. Stretching will also increase my flexibility and release tension in the lower back area. This area has struggled with sciatica and pulled groin muscles since baby #2 greeted us last year. Stay tuned for an update on this one.

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