Is Your Laptop Bag Hurting You More Than You Realize?


I think we can all agree that our beloved laptops are amazing.  Portable, convenient and best of all, they allow us to work anywhere.  And while laptops pose their fair share of ergonomic challenges, the ergo solutions are numerous and fairly easy to implement.

However, one of the most overlooked culprits of back, neck, shoulder and even lower back and hip pain is the way we are carrying our laptops around.  Most of us carry around our laptops in a laptop carrier, shoulder bag, messenger bag or back pack.  And once you factor in the laptop itself, power chords, notebooks, files, maybe a bottle of water and other personal items, you quickly find yourself lugging around a mighty heavy bag which can take it’s toll.  So, let’s take a closer look.

Carrying Bag on One Shoulder: The tendency is to lift the carrying shoulder up to counter the heavy weight it is supporting. As you can see in the picture to the left, this throws your entire skeletal structure out of alignment putting undue pressure on the spine, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves of the affected body parts which simply translates into strain and all too often, pain.  If you carry your laptop this way, at a minimum, switch shoulders or split the content of your carrying case and use two bags, one for each shoulder.  While this still puts pressure on the spine, at least your shoulders, neck and spine won’t be completely out of whack!

Messenger Style Bags & Back Packs: I would choose a messenger style bag or backpack any day over a carrying case of tote bag that is carried on one shoulder.  The argument for messenger bags and back packs is that the weight is more evenly distributed across your body.  And while this is true, make sure that your load isn’t too heavy and that you don’t favor one shoulder in the case of the messenger bag, and that you don’t grab your backpack and sling it over one shoulder – which happens more than you realize.

The Argument for a Roller Bag:  Roller bags can make all the difference in the world!   When I switched from carrying my laptop on my shoulder, then to a backpack and finally to a roller bag, my chronic neck and shoulder aches disappeared within 10 days.  Here are some of my favorites:  For overnight travelers:Kensington Overnight Notebook Roller, for women,Kensington Balance Notebook Roller, and for easy airport travel, CODi CT3 Checkpoint-Tested Mobile Lite Laptop Case.

Here are some other tips to help you enjoy your laptop without breaking your back!

  • Invest in a lightweight laptop.
  • Use your tablet when you can.
  • If you do carry your laptop on your body, lighten the load of the case and try using two bags to balance the load.
  • When appropriate, use jump drives.  These fit in your pocket and eliminate the need to carry your laptop around.
  • If you use your laptop in various locations, read The Ultimate Road Warriors Survival Guide

Do you suffer with back pain from your laptop bag?  Have you found a solution that works for you?  Leave us a comment and list your favorite laptop bag and tell us how it’s working!

Here’s to your health!

Vivienne Fleischer-Miller, PBE Co-Founder

For sizzling onsite ergo and wellness ideas, visit us at


  • Tim Cobb
    Posted at 13:44h, 10 August Reply

    I use a backpack to carry my laptop.

  • Joe
    Posted at 07:53h, 24 June Reply

    I personally backpack to carry my laptop. I don’t really recommend shoulder bag unless if you carry a small and lightweight device like tablet.

  • Fazle Wadood Safi
    Posted at 13:11h, 17 May Reply

    This is really awesome post share with us
    You can also read this blog Best Backpacks for Engineering Students

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