Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does using a messenger bag every day mean shoulder problems down the line?"
I am a bike messenger. I am 22 and pretty strong, but recently my shoulder where I put the strap has started to hurt. I have purchased a pad for my strap but it isn't helping. Do I have to see a doctor?
I would suggest that you pursue an in-person consultation with a primary care doctor. The description you are giving sounds very much like a repetitive stress injury. This is the general name given to an injury to the muscles, joints, or bones from a repetitive action that when performed once, would not ordinarily lead to injury. The treatment for repetitive stress injuries is centered around discontinuation of the initial, offending stress. Individuals may also benefit from ice or heat therapy (depending on whether there is acute injury or swelling present), massage, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDS (Ibuprofen, naproxen and the like). Again, I recommend that you speak to your primary care doctor. You have correctly identified that these injuries, if ignored or "toughed out," are unlikely to get better and may well get worse.
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