Age related degenerative change of the intervertebral discs and joints may result in curvature of the spine known as scoliosis. In addition to back pain, there may also be forward or side leaning posture which can make walking difficult. In some cases, degenerative scoliosis is associated with nerve pain in the legs, compounding the walking problems.
Initial treatment should be aimed at maintaining strength and mobility through exercise like hydrotherapy. Pain killers such as anti-inflammatories (Nurofen, Mobic etc) and even strong analgesics can be useful if used carefully. Walking aids such as sticks and frames can be very helpful.
Surgery is available for degenerative scoliosis and is considered appropriate for severe deformity, or if there is associated nerve pain that makes life intolerable. Surgery usually involves a major procedure and a week or so in hospital followed by rehabilitation before going home again.