If you’re like me, you love hunting. However, like many Americans, I do suffer from intermittent back pain. This can be especially acute during bowhunting season when I am hiking miles every day in rough terrain with a 30-pound pack, climbing trees, and occasionally dragging out a large deer. I have turned to physical conditioning, ice packs, and heat packs to combat the pain. Many days though, I am just powering through. I recently became aware of an athletic recovery device which has been a bit of a game-changer for me.
I first heard of percussion massage guns a few months ago but dismissed the idea as something geared toward triathlon athletes and powerlifters. The end of the rut this year had me reconsidering as several weeks of all-day hunts left my muscles sore and me feeling burned out. I was ready to try anything. After a few weeks of research, I pulled the trigger on the NoCry percussion massage device.
Let’s back up a second and talk about what a percussion massage device is. Picture it as a cordless rapid moving hammer that accepts different attachments ranging from soft to hard plastic. Designed to perform myofascial release therapy, you use the device to massage your muscle groups. Many people have had some experience with massage chairs, small handheld massagers, and manual massage rollers. Percussion massage guns are like your traditional home massage devices on steroids. Often moving at upwards of 3200 rpm on maximum settings, they can give the muscles a workout reminiscent of the best massage you can imagine.
There are hundreds of options for massage guns ranging from cheaply made devices that barely do their job to expensive options like the Hyperice and Theragun. Prices range from $50 to $600. The NoCry, in my opinion, gives the best bang for buck value at $180. It features a max speed of 3200 rpm, a 10mm thrust (how far the head moves back and forth), great stall force (the force required to stall the motor—think of this as how hard you can push into a large muscle), and a quiet brushless motor. It also includes a 4 year warranty which is pretty unique for percussion massage guns. Even the expensive Theraguns only include a 1-year warranty on their products.
The NoCry massage gun works so well, that after my first use I had that sort of loopy feeling that I have only gotten from the best massage therapists. The device is simple to use, extremely powerful (I typically am only using power setting 1 out of 5), and features hours of battery life. Skeptical at first, I can definitely say I am a believer. After a couple of weeks of using the device for 5-10 minutes each day I have noticed a decrease in back pain and a shorter recovery time after strenuous activity.
There are a few considerations when using percussion massage guns. Do not ever use them on your neck. Damage to your carotid artery could result and is not worth the risk. Also, avoid any direct use on your spine. Finally, those on blood thinners or with implanted medical devices (metal rods in the back, etc.) should never use a massage gun. Consulting a doctor before using one is probably a good idea if you have any conditions that you’re concerned about. When using a percussion massage gun, you are using it on muscles and not bone or tendon.
With the above considerations in mind, I cannot recommend the NoCry percussion massage device highly enough. It is durable, easy to use, and delivers instant results. At under $200, it is about the cost of 3 professional massages and will allow you to relieve muscle tension for years. As hunters, we often try to be as tough as possible and ignore things like lack of sleep and back pain. There is an internal pressure to push through and get it done in the field. Focusing more on athletic recovery can increase your enjoyment of hunting and allow you to spend more time in the field.