Lower back pain and concealed carry

This is a discussion on Lower back pain and concealed carry within the Bob & Terry's Place forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I've had some lower back and leg pain (actually more of a severe discomfort) that a physical therapist diagnosed as a shortening of the hip ...

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Thread: Lower back pain and concealed carry

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    Member Array LAFLA's Avatar
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    Lower back pain and concealed carry

    I've had some lower back and leg pain (actually more of a severe discomfort) that a physical therapist diagnosed as a shortening of the hip muscles, specifically the piriformis muscle. Online search indicates that the cause could be poor walking or running technique or poor body mechanics related to a normal gait. The PT asked me if I had changed the way I do anything over the past 3-4 years since he felt this was a long term slow change resulting in the problem. The only thing I could think of was the fact that I started carrying pretty much fulltime about that long ago. Mainly I carry a M&P 9C with CT grips in a Don Hume OWB holster at about 3 o'clock. Weight is about 31 oz fully loaded. Has anyone experienced anything similar?

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    Member Array FiremanPaul's Avatar
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    I've had low back issues that are related to the piriformis muscle . Your issues may in fact be tied to concealed carry, though I would think it more likely if you carried behind the 3 o'clock position forcing your hip out of alignment when sitting. Mine was not related to concealed carry, I injured it at work. My point in responding is to point out that the back issues related to this muscle do not heal well on their own because of the amount of compensation done by other muscles and the way you walk. Once the piriformis is injured, you seem to enter a self perpetuating loop. The leg pain results from the irritated piriformis impacting nerves in the sacrum. There are stretches that focus on stretching the piriformis muscle. I found them on yahoo. If the stretch is different from one leg to the other, you are probably on the right track. Also look at stretches or joint manipulation of the SI joint. The SI joint was affected by my long term piriformis troubles. These stretches have almost eliminated what for me was several years of chronic back pain. At the rate my back is progressing, my pain is rare and hopefully soon gone. Best of luck to you.
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    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    Leg pain could = Pinched nerve IMO
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    Chronic muscle pain of any type can create the feedback loop mentioned by FiremanPaul. Switching up your carry could be a good idea, for no other reason than it will change the way your muscles are working. Also, 31 oz is a fair amount of weight. Try a smaller piece in appendix, if that works. I know it stinks having to change something you are used to, but it could really help. Another thing to try is a different shoes. Lower heels often help (like the 'natural running' type shoes like Nike Free), since they put every muscle from the legs on up to the top of your spine at a slightly different angle. If you already wear lower heels, try something more supportive, or just different.
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    Member Array FiremanPaul's Avatar
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    Bed mattress is another suspect. As my back started to heal, I realized there was a difference in how I felt after sleeping at work compared to sleeping at home. My mattress at home was too soft and, since I sleep on my side, it allowed my hip to sag. This put an all night strain on my hip. Would wake up with my low back and piriformis all knotted up. Low back pain can be real hard to figure out the root cause of. But if your PT diagnosed piriformis, I'd start with the stretches regardless of cause. The cause may not reveal itself until you improve how you feel.
    Last edited by rstickle; February 7th, 2013 at 07:16 AM. Reason: Language

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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    I changed to a better gun belt for carry, that holds the weight better, and now some of the back pain seems to be disappearing. LEO's have back pain often due to the weight , etc. of their belts as well.
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    Senior Member Array surefire7's Avatar
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    Be religious about those stretches (I am a PT) it will help but consistency is key! Good luck! I've had that sort of issue in the past and with SI joint work and daily stretching, its pretty much gone away. That is unless I tweak it doing something.
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    Thanks for all the great input. I will take it to heart, keep stretching, and make some modifications in my lifestyle.

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    When my lower back pain was driving me nuts I talked with a chiropractor, from her suggestions I started sleeping with a pillow between my legs and bought a better pillow for my head, I noticed a huge improvement almost right away!
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    I have had lower back issues since my young teen years, hurt it when the guy going up the stairs first lost his grip on a wood burner and I had to catch the full weight suddenly (slightly slipped disk, pinched nerve that plagued me for almost ten years). I focus hard on religiously stretching, doing some simply workouts (I just do pushups, crunches, and a few core strengthening exercises, takes very little time out of my day).

    If I don't do those exercises, after a few weeks or a month, I will wind up with that nerve pinched again, and it's a matter of time until I hop out of bed in the morning and fall right to the floor... Just like I did for years as a teenager. Life with back issues is no picnic, but I am presently pain free and completely capable of helping a buddy pack a moving truck for an afternoon.

    Best of luck with your back issues sir, no one is built the same way as anyone else really. What helped me might not help you at all, unfortunately, but hopefully something will!
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    A good gun belt, carry at 3:30, put spare magazines on the opposite side for even weight distribution. Good luck it sure helped me.
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    Senior Member Array camsdaddy's Avatar
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    I realize this post is old but I'm curious how this worked out

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    I never changed what, or the way, I carried. It turned out that most, if not all, of my back and leg pain was related to a ruptured disc that I knew nothing about (my doctor finally decided to order an MRI). I learned a series of stretches from the physical therapist and do them twice a day religiously. That has really helped along with a diet change that brought my weight down from 215 to 185. The key stretches are the ones for the piriformis and hamstrings.
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    Just realized that an earlier post by Hogdaddy was correct - the leg pain WAS caused by a pinched nerve from the herniated disc.

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    Chronic Pain

    I 've suffered chronic pain in my spine since I herniated cervical disks and lubar disk. Cervical disk at c-5,c-6c-7 were fused
    on 2101.In less than 5 years I experienced adjacent disk syndrome where I have disks that herniated above and below my fusion.I was forced to give up all my hobbies.I have a herniated disk at L3-4 which is at belt level.

    This is what I did I purchased a 511 duty belt for $30 dollars or so.This belt is very ridgid mine does well holding up my glock 17. I found out that a polymer pistol is lighter and does the same job as a metal pistol,If I go away from a bottom feeder a snubnosed revolver does the job nicely.I have several from a charter arms that weighs 21 oz empty to ruger stainless security-six 357. I tried several times to carry with a shoulder holster but no way it's too painful!

    I can carry at 3 o'clock to 4.5 for 8-12 hours.

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