Backyard astronomy is a fun hobby for the whole family that can offer hours upon hours of enjoyment. It is a great hobby that can last a lifetime if the interest is there. The other thing that can last a lifetime is back pain. Unknown to many, astronomy can be hard on your back, especially if you partake in it regularly.
Back pain can be a huge dampener for astronomy and many other things in life. It can ruin your enjoyment with your telescope and can be an overall hindrance to a normal life.
How can you protect your back and prevent back pain while using your telescope?
- Know When To Stop And Take Breaks
- Adjust You Tripod
- Use A Brace
- Don’t Ignore Your Back
Every person, and therefore, every back is different so there is no one solution that is going to fit everyone but there are multiple ways to ensure your back stays strong and pain free during telescope use.
Know When To Stop And Take Breaks
The act of using a telescope can require long periods of time bent or hunched over in awkward positions which can lead to strain over time. A tired back is more likely to be injured or hurt for longer periods of time. Recognizing the signs of a tired or strained back is crucial in preventing back strain during telescope use.
The first and easiest way to protect your back during use is to make sure you take breaks, especially when it begins to feel tired. It can be easy to lose yourself in the wonder of the stars and before you know it, you’ve been crouched over your telescope for way longer than you realized putting undue strain on your back.
If you start to feel any sort of pain, strain, tingling, pinching, or other discomforts during of after telescope use, it is best to take a break and relax for a while. Breaking up the long stretches of bending or hunching can really help your back stay fresh for a single session or repeat sessions.
It also helps to share your telescope with others during a long viewing session so that you have to share time on the scope to prevent overdoing it. You are way more likely to stay in a painful position for longer if you are by yourself.
Adjust You Tripod
The vast majority of telescope tripods on the market are adjustable. The legs can, usually, be raised or lowered to give you a different height. You can even adjust each individual leg to create a custom tripod setup that might suit you better than a uniform adjustment.
Some people never adjust their tripod height or position for a multitude of reasons but they are adjustable for a reason. If you find yourself uncomfortable more often than you are comfortable while using your telescope, your tripod might need an adjustment. It is a simple solution that is often overlooked.
Finding the perfect height or position might be hard but once you find a comfortable spot in which to look from, you will be less likely to strain or hurt your back from staying in a bad posture. It is worth the time to run through a trial and error process with your particular tripod and find the position that fits you best.
Non-adjustable tripod help…
If your tripod is not adjustable, you might need to get one that is more comfortable. In the grand scheme of astronomy accessories and tools, tripods are on the cheaper end. Many telescopes come with simple manufacturer grade mounts and tripods which might not be the best for overall comfort. A new tripod is an easy upgrade that can make a world of difference for you and your back.
Or, maybe you do not like tripods at all. There are other kinds of mounts that are not tripods that may offer a better user experience for certain people. For example, you can get a flat bottomed mount that sits on surfaces like tables or decks without being up on a tripod. Depending on your situation, this might be better for your long term use than a tripod.
Fussing, fiddling, and adjusting your particular tripod or mount is a worthwhile exercise that can help save you from uncomfortable positions and overall lead to a stronger, healthier, and more comfortable back.
Use A Brace
If all else fails, there is no shame in simply getting a back brace to help support you while stargazing. Back braces can do wonders for people if you find the right one and the addition of a simple back brace can prolong your comfort while stargazing.
Not everyone who loves stargazing is young or free from past injuries and back problems. Sometimes, you just need the extra support of a brace to ensure that you can enjoy your favorite hobby without pain or troubles.
Using a back brace in conjunction with a properly adjusted tripod and adequate breaks and position changes can give you extra insurance against wear and tear on your back.
Don’t Ignore Your Back
No one tells you that stargazing and astronomy can be hard on your back. The long nights trying to get that perfect shot of Jupiter can lead to a lot of pain in the morning if you are not careful. Do not ignore your back while you are stargazing. Some of the positions and angles are awkward and can lead to strain, ignoring the signs and the potential for problems will almost guarantee that you will feel discomfort at some point.
Follow these tips to protect your back from pain and discomfort while using your favorite telescope. If you throw out your back or pinch a nerve, see your doctor right away. But these helpful tips can help to protect you from serious or long term pain down the road.
Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Make sure to take breaks, adjust yourself if you start to feel strained, adjust your telescope or tripod to better fit you and your posture, share the telescope with friends so you are forced to come up for air, use a back brace if needed