Before I dive into the tips about traveling with scoliosis. I feel as though I should tell you a bit more about me and my health. I was diagnosed with scoliosis about 11 years ago and had two high degree curves which resulted in me needing to have a corrective surgery. While my posture and overall health benefited greatly from the surgery, my spine is not 100% straight and often when traveling I host moderate level pain in my back. I can’t always fly first class ( sucks, I know) but I have found a few airlines that have comfortable seating which allow my pain to lessen, especially for long hauls from US to Europe. Below you will find my favorite airlines for long hauls ( over 4 hours) and tips while in flight that helps me with my pain. I hope it helps you as well!
My Favorite Long Haul Airlines
- Turkish Airline: I flew from Turkey to Chicago, an 11 hour flight, and was amazed at how comfortable the seating was. It also helps that they provide you with blankets and a pillow, since I forgot mine! Often when I am flying I have to position myself in the most awkward position because after the third hour my back cramps heavily. With TA, the seats in economy are extremely spacious and I had enough space to move around in my seat and not disturb my neighbor.
- AirEuropa: I love flying AirEuropa but ONLY when its an AirEuropa plane. You know how you can book a flight, but its serviced by a different plane? This can happen on an AirEuropa flight, so make sure to check your itinerary! Once, my flight was serviced by a LOT! plane, and while the service was great, the plane was not so comfortable. The reason why I love AirEuropa’s fleet is because even in economy the seats are extremely spacious and allow you to recline your back and legs… Turning your seat into a little bed for your travel.
- AirBerlin: The seats are okay, the food is pretty good, the service is great and the isles are big!
Tips to make the best of your flight
I am not a doctor! But these tips have worked for me and I noticed a difference in the amount of pain that I experience when traveling. Feel free to try them at your own risk.
- BRING A SMALL PILLOW – I usually place the pillow in between my seat and the middle part of my back. It helps because my ribs are twisted from the scoliosis, so I still have a slight hump in my back. The pillow helps me fill in the gap on the rib that is normal.
- DRINK LOTS OF WATER – Water will help alleviate the cramping in your back and muscle tension.
- STRETCH!!! – I know you don’t want to be that awkward person walking up and down the aisle, but you have to be. I usually try to stretch at least once every hour, if you experience more cramping than normal I would say stretch every 30 minutes.
- BRING TYLENOL – Or whatever pain reliever that you use. Sometimes even with the mentioned tips I still have a lot of pain, and I have to bring in extra help.
- NO HEELS – I’m guilty of wearing heels on shorter hauls but never a long one. We need ALL the support we can get, and while I’m not trying to lug around a fancy pair of orthopedic shoes, I will wear my comfiest sneakers. Heels are cute, but they don’t help us in this case.
I will continue to update this list as much as possible! If you have any tips that you would like to share feel free to comment or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.