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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.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under ZocDoc’s Terms of Service.

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