What To Do About Concealed Carry And Back Pain
While concealed carrying is hardly a strenuous activity, a lot of people have noticed concealed carry back pain and hip pain from carrying their gun for long periods of time. Over the years, a person can develop a permanent sore spot from toting a pistol about, but what to do about it?
Does a person just have to accept that they are going to hurt and the choice is between being comforted by the gun instead of being comfortable not wearing one?
Not necessarily. While back and hip pain have a lot of causes and this is not medical advice, there are a few things that will definitely help in that regard when it comes to wearing a concealed carry gun.
Try A Smaller Concealed Carry Gun
One of the usual suspects when it comes to concealed carry back pain is that you’re putting a bit too much strain on yourself in terms of weight. When you wear a gun, you’re putting about an extra 2 pounds (give or take) or more of weight over a small area, which can certainly start to hurt if not result in injury.
It’s very common among police officers. Duty belt pain along with plantar fasciitis – often called “Policeman’s heel” – are common niggling injuries among those in that profession. The latter is often called with insufficient heel support and the former is caused by carrying a bunch of gear on the duty belt, straining the hips and lower back.
Granted, an extra 3 pounds of gear (holster and gun) aren’t going to result in as bad an injury or pain as the 5 to 10 pounds of gear that police wear, but you’d be surprised how much it can do. What, therefore, to do? Get a lighter gun.
You can relegate that service pistol to nightstand duty, safe duty, winter carry or – if you just have no room for it – you could try to sell a gun and make room for a smaller model.
Less weight translates to less strain and usually less back pain.
Reduce Pressure With A Better Holster
Another common cause of concealed carry back pain and hip pain is the holster. Specifically, the holster being pressed harder than it should against the wearer usually because of the holster itself or because of where it’s located.
A holster shouldn’t press hard into your side. A lot of people get hip pain from the holster pressing into the point of the hip. This is due to a holster that doesn’t conform well to the shape of the hip or lacks cushioning.
This can be fixed by getting a more comfortable holster or by repositioning the holster into a more comfortable position. Don’t assume it’s necessarily the type of holster; both OWB and IWB holster types can cause this issue.
Get A Better Gun Belt
As to a gun belt, if your gun belt is not made of stern enough stuff, you’ll have to tighten it beyond the point of comfort. If you have to do this, you aren’t using a strong enough gun belt. Get a better or stronger model, such as a thick leather belt with a steel core insert for greater strength.
This can manifest in several ways. You might either dig the pistol into the side to the point of giving yourself a hip pointer, or you can end up doing nerve or muscle damage by tightening the belt beyond where it should be.
The belt is a commonly neglected part of people’s carry gear, which you really shouldn’t do.
Exercise The Lower Back And Core
Not to be indelicate, but one of the chief causes of back pain as people age – especially in this day and age – is a lack of exercise. Muscles have to be worked in order to maintain tone, mass and strength, including those that contribute to back pain. That concealed carry back pain may well be ordinary back pain that coincides with you carrying a gun.
The muscles of the lower back and core should be exercised in order to keep them strong. Believe it or not, they are also some of the most important muscles to exercise as the lower to mid-back muscles and core (ie the abdominals and obliques) support the spine and upper body. Keep them strong and you’ll avoid a host of back problems.
Try To Lose Weight
Not to be indelicate again, but the other common cause of back pain is carrying a few too many pounds that AREN’T the gun. This may be only a slight variation on a theme, but back pain from concealed carry might just be due to having acquired or having had a spare tire for a bit too long.
The health risks of being overweight are well-known, as are the epidemics of Type II Diabetes, obesity and related diseases in America. If you know you can stand to lose a few, get started however you can. Exercise is good, a nutritional plan you can actually stick to is even better. You might find your concealed carry back pain is not from the gun.
Talk To Your Doctor About Concealed Carry Back Pain
If you keep having back pain from concealed carry, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. There may be something else at work that has nothing to do with the gun, as there are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential causes of back and hip pain.
Even if your back pain diminishes greatly after taking your pistol off, there still may be another underlying cause. The gun could be the problem, or the gun could be merely making a problem a little worse. In either case, you’ll want to address it with a health care professional.
Whether you mention the gun to them is up to you. Some doctors ask, some don’t.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.