I've been a mechanic/maintenance guy for about 7 years now, and am pretty hard on my body, but in the past couple of years I've had on and off lower back problems (among other things). It started suddenly, I don't recall any injury to my back, but one day it just "went out on me". I was bending over to get something from the bottom cabinet and it felt like someone stuck a knife through my spine about 3 inches above my waist, I hit the floor, the pain went away immediately. When I do something strenuous, like moving furniture, bending over a lot or for long periods of time, it will hurt for a day or two and slowly get better. I am a little overweight but not terribly, I know this doesn't help since the pain also comes with bending backwards, like when moving furniture I lean back sticking my belly forward. The most recent occurance I did notice the low back pain along with lower abdonimal "muscle fatigue" I guess you would call it, along with a feeling like my bladder is very hot. I've had this feeling before also whic goes away after a day or two. Also when I'm welding, it's standing a certain way for several hours, leaning back slightly, which causes soreness. I can go in and sit down and slowly bend over because it is stiff and painful, but can eventually bend all the way down. Could this be some sort of injury that I wasn't aware of at the time and is getting worse, or could it just be the strain of my work taking it's toll?
An injury will go away in time. So it sounds more like you have a condition which is getting progressively worse.
There needs to be a little movement in your lower back. This is the area below your beltline which many people do not realize. L4-L5-S1 are between your hip bones.
If you do a lot of heavy lifting, sitting, and standing in one position for hours, muscles get tight and the lower back stops moving. Poor posture and being overweight just adds to the problem.
Try some gentle mobility and see if that will get your lower back moving:
1) Walking for at least 20 minutes a day and relax your hips / lower back as much as possible.
2) Swimming is also good.
3) Back up to a wall for support and bend to the left and right with your feet different distances apart.
- Try to keep your middle back against the wall.
These types of movements will "pump the discs" and rehydrate them so they can heal.