6 Tips for Back Pain Relief While Using Your Telescope

If you’re like many people across the world, and me too, you have back pain somewhere along your spine. These are the tips and tricks I found that help over the night.

Quick Back Pain Tip List

  1. Think Posture
  2. Meds Before Pain
  3. Stretching and Exercise
  4. Best Astronomy Chair
  5. Take a Break
  6. Drink Water

Back pain, when you have, it steals much of your joy from what you’re doing. Most of these tips are free, and a couple things that cost some money. I have tested and verified at least with myself that they actually do benefit when you are with your telescope for hours at a time.

Let’s dig into it and let me elaborate on the list.

Think About Your Posture

Posture is the first thing we had started to learn since being a kid. Stand up straight, quit slouching, you’re going to look like Uncle Joe when you get old, and the list could keep going on, I’m sure.

So the trick here is when you’re setting up your viewing area has to keep your back straight and your shoulders straight across.  Of course, while you’re looking and changing objects throughout the night, everything changes.

What I found was just thinking about it every 10 minutes or so, and just being conscious of how I’m setting did give me some extra time before the pain started growing.

One thing you can use is a posture back support vest/strap. My wife had one of these at one point for her lower back pain, but she quit wearing it because it broke her skin out. This was because she wore under her clothes.

You have the advantage that it’s night time anyway, and you can wear it on the outside of your clothes. Further, the little bit of extra material might be beneficial setting still over the night and keeping you a smidge warmer.

This back posture support brace/vest is for men or women and seems to offer the most support and posture support for all areas of your back.  They do have other ones that are made of less material that may be better for you. You can check them out at Amazon. Here’s the one I recommend because it has more to offer as far as support and pain areas.

Anti Inflammatory Medication Before Hand

Taking some Ibuprofen for Naxiproxin about an hour or 90 minutes before you plan to go out and start viewing the night sky could be the best advice I give. You’re more than likely to have this if you have occasional back pain now.

So, why the meds are not a new invention you probably know which works best for you. The advice is taking it in advance.

Stretching and Pre Exercise

Think of stargazing as a how long can you set still competition.

Stargazing through a telescope then it may seem like a sport, and stretching may seem like a good idea. because good athletes stretch pregame.

With my lower back pain, I have found that lifting and tugging one knee up to my chest at a time while standing as straight as possible stretches and relieves my back.  I have yet to be smart enough to try it before I start viewing. But, here is the basis behind this principle.

Typically, back pain is caused by muscle inflation and or nerve endings. Taking the time to stretch and work the muscles around the areas allows for blood flow, so the muscle is less apt to get tense as quick.

Another exercise is laying on your back flat and pulling one knee up and the opposite elbow by touching them. Then repeating with the opposite leg and elbow to help support and build muscle around the area of concern.

Watch the YouTube Video on Light Yoga Lower Back Pain Relief

This helps actually build the muscle for more strength around the area, so you have more muscle to support the area around where the pain starts.

Think of it as you need to lift a 50-pound box for your job. After a couple weeks of doing that job, it will become more comfortable because of building your muscles.

Astronomy Chair, Catsperch Observing Chair

Investing in an astronomy chair is probably the most straightforward best answer to help relieve back pain. The problem is it costs money. You can build your own out of wood. That is my plan in the future. However, I have yet to do that. When I do, I will post it with some pictures and probably upload the drawing and plans so you can build one yourself also.

So why am I talking about something I don’t know oh, well I borrowed one and man it sure was nice. It was easily adjustable up and down as you moved around the different objects throughout the night. Also, it was designed to support my 220 to 230lb self.

Also, they fold and are very portable to take up minimal space when traveling to dark sky areas. Learn more about How Dark is the Sky Above You

I talked about my weight being 220 + pounds; it depends on which scale I use. They advertise a rating on the one I’m promoting here at 220 lb, but I know that Dave, whom I borrowed from, is my weight or a bit more. Sorry Dave, but I am leaning to a bit more?

So if you are a reflector telescope user and need to be high, this chair goes up to 32″. For cassegrain and refractor users, it will lower down enough to allow you to sit staring as well. About 7″ I believe. In the latter case, your butt will be lower than your knees, but it is helping save your back.

Okay, here is the one I am been boasting about here. The link to Amazon to check it out.

Take a Break by Walking it Off

Studies have shown that resting a back in pain is worse than exercising it. I feel this is because you are relaxing the muscles and allowing them to tense up. Because you’re resting, your blood flow has slowed, taking extra time for the muscle tissues to get replenished.

I have found that getting up and taking a walk around the yard or area where you are helps a lot. Just walking in circles around your telescope like a Shaman from a Pagan ritual, while focusing on your posture, and some stretching along the way does create a much-needed break and rest for your back muscles.

Just remember to keep your dark vision and stay in your environment.

To learn more about dark vision, check out these two articles:

What is Dark Vision, and How dark is the sky above you

Drink Water Instead of Coffee

Yes, to many of you that sounds like blasphemy... um, sorry. Studies have shown that caffeine enhances stress levels, which makes your muscles and nerves work harder for lack of any medical training here.

So, just drinking water and maintaining your hydration is another cheap, effective way to minimize muscle tension.

Water may not help nerve pain, and some of you just can’t go without coffee, so that is why I put this tip last. Best wishes and clear skies.

Need More?

I hope this article has helped you in some way, once I hit 55, my back pain just seemed always to be there no matter what I did for an extended period of time.

Here are some articles not associated with back pain that may be advantageous to you. Please feel free to check them out, thank you.

How to Buy a Used Telescope What to Look for

30 Quick Tips to Better Telescope Viewing

10 best Barlow lenses 1-1/4″ and 2″ Lenses

These may help...