“As you probably know by now, when it comes to bags, especially ones that hang off one shoulder, the rule of thumb is usually the smallest the better. The increased weight hanging off your shoulder may cause your upper trapezius muscle to start to shrug as your shoulder adapts to the increased load. Since this muscle attaches onto the base of the skull and extends the whole length of your neck, it has the potential to cause not only neck pain but also tension headaches, and over time with increased use can lead to a straightening of the natural backward C–shaped curve in your neck. This change in shape alters the weight distribution on the discs, putting more pressure on the joints leading to inflammation, osteoarthritis, and nerve compression.


“Smaller bags are generally better for your shoulders, back, and neck since their size limits what you can fit in them, and this should help decrease the weight you’ll be carrying around. The problem is you will still be getting an asymmetrical load distribution since the bag hangs off one shoulder or is carried under your arm (most of the time it’s the dominant hand shoulder or arm) and will create more tightening in the muscles on the side where the bag is carried. If you don’t switch shoulders to help distribute the weight on either side evenly, then this will create a muscular imbalance.”