Despite publicity over the years, people are still dealing with neck, back, and shoulder pain due to carrying heavy bags and purses. It really is best to reduce what you carry so that your bag isn't a concern, but with today's on-the-go work ethic and lifestyle, everyone's carrying around a mini office in their bags. However, there are other steps you can take to minimize problems if you think you're developing back or neck pain due to what you're carrying around.
The Wider (the Strap), the Better
Thin straps on heavy bags can cut into your skin. Even if they don't break the skin, they can cause bruises and add to the sensation that something is not right with your back and neck as the weight of the bag drags down on them. Wider straps are better at preventing this phenomenon; while you can still suffer from muscular strain from the weight of the bag, the risk of bruising and skin irritation is lessened, and the strain on the nerves in your shoulder is lessened.
If you can, in addition to using a bag with a wide strap, use one that allows you to balance the weight or distribute it better. Backpacks can work, though if the weight of the bag remains too heavy, that can still place stress on your back and neck as you try to stand up straight. A cross-body bag, like a messenger bag, is a great option because having the strap rest on one side of your body while the weight of the bag is on the other helps distribute the weight of the bag more evenly among your back and shoulder muscles.
Alternately, you can switch which shoulder holds the bag on a regular basis, like switching every Monday. That will at least give each side of your body a break from the weight of the bag.
Rolling With It (Properly)
Switching to a rolling case is even better -- all that weight is off your back, shoulders, and neck -- but you have to use the case correctly to get the most benefit. Many people drag these cases behind them, creating stress for the shoulder of the arm they're using. Be sure to pull the case alongside you so that your arm is not twisted back.
A doctor or chiropractor like Beltline Chiropractic can help you find the right posture and right bag type so that your neck and back aren't aggravated by what you carry. It might seem only mildly annoying now, but if you don't take steps to protect yourself, that annoying pain could become severe pain.