Massage Cushion for Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS Pain

You have a lot of options when it comes to massage devices you can use at home. However, it can be hard to tell whether a particular one will be worth the money, especially when you have the unique types of pain associated with fibromyalgia.

In my opinion, as a person with fibromyalgia, the Homedics Shiatsu Back & Shoulder Massaging Cushion is a great product for people with a lot of stiffness or pain in their back, shoulder, and neck muscles because of how many options it has. However, there are some things you may want to consider, depending on your specific symptoms.

Woman resting the side of her head in her hand
Peter Glass / Getty Images


  • Helps relax back, shoulder, and neck muscles
  • Easy to move to wherever you want to use it
  • Great options like "spot" massage, width adjustment (to get closer or farther out from the spine) and heat
  • Gets the shoulders and neck better than many similar products


  • "Dead spot" between the back section and shoulder section
  • The somewhat coarse fabric covering
  • Overuse leaves muscles tender
  • Price—it's pretty spendy
  • Needing to store it


  • Black and gray cushion that sits in a chair or couch
  • Straps on the back can be used to secure it to a chair
  • Massagers light up red when the heat is turned on

Review of the Homedics Shiatsu Back & Shoulders Massaging Cushion

As someone who's had chronic back and neck pain for more than three decades, I've tried a lot of different massage chairs and chair cushions. My biggest complaint has always been that they don't work well enough on the neck and shoulders. It was also annoying that you couldn't set them to massage one particular spot. Instead, it had to go all the way up and down, only hitting the most painful spots for a few seconds per cycle.

When I saw the Homedics Shiatsu Back & Shoulders Massage Cushion, I was excited right away: it has the shoulder section at the top that stays in one spot and also allows you to move it up and down; the main back section also has a "spot" button so you can get the message exactly where you need it most; both areas offer heat; and the main section gives you the option of shiatsu (small circles) or rolling up and down. On rolling mode, the width is adjustable.

Because of all these options, I much prefer this massage cushion to other cushions or massage chairs that I've tried.

The one real drawback is that it has a "dead spot" in between the shoulder area and the back area. By using mine in a recliner and sitting on a pillow or two, I'm able to adjust where it hits and, eventually, get everything massaged to my liking.

When it comes to muscle and joint pain, in my opinion, this cushion is extremely good. However, it may be irritating when it comes to certain types of fibromyalgia pain, especially tactile or mechanical allodynia (pain from light touch or rubbing).

You want to make sure to have a soft fabric between your skin and the cushion because the covering is fairly coarse. I do not recommend using it on bare skin.

It's important not to over-use the massage cushion, too. It automatically shuts off after a certain period of time, and for good reason. I've made the mistake of doing multiple cycles in one area of my back. It felt great at first, but later on, my muscles were really tender and I felt bruised for a few days afterward.

Also, the manufacturer warns against leaving the "spot" massager in one spot for too long when you have the heat on, and when I've forgotten to move it in time it has started to get the area uncomfortably hot.

The cushion isn't comfortable to sit on when you're not using it, which means you may be taking it on and off of a chair frequently. When it's not being used, you need to find a place to store it. Mine ends up sitting around more than I'd like because I don't have the energy to put it away somewhere and I like it to close at hand when I'm hurting.

None of the drawbacks, however, have kept me from using this massage cushion just about every day since I got it as a gift. I frequently get on it to help work out my morning kinks and again to relax my back muscles before bed.

If you're looking for a more affordable option or something smaller, you may want to consider the HoMedics Massage Pillow.

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