What are some causes of and solutions to lower back pain, stiffness, etc.?

Another vote for exercise. It’s good for you in a lot of ways.

I used to have a lot of lower back trouble until I went back to a regular exercise routine. Now I (try to) go to the gym 3 times a week. I do 30 minutes of cardio (stationary bike) and 10 - 15 min. of various upper body exercises, including back extenstions and crunches on the Nautilus-type machines. My back thanks me for it, and so do my heart and lungs. (And my blood sugar.)

Work into it gradually, and consult your doctor if you have any concerns.

My vote goes for yoga. It’s great for strengthening your core muscles, as well as excellent for relaxation.

FWIW my back is officialy “f*cked” and I’ve found yoga very helpful in both pain control and prevention.

Thank you all for the replies. I just finished a fairly major CS project, in which I spent an excessive amount of time hunched-over. Am trying to be conscious of my posture now. Am also restarting my physical fitness regimen, which got kind of lost in the mental fitness regimen imposed on me externally. Since this is just at the level of mild discomfort at present, I don’t want to see a chiropractor just yet. Thanks again for the suggestions.

I was also about to suggest that the problem might be your feet. Look at the soles of your shoes. If they show that you feet tend to roll in toward the inside, that can certainly cause lower back pain. You might see a podiatrist if that is the case.

A more expensive solution – but worth every penny for me – has been to buy a Tempurpedic mattress system.

A physician can refer you to physical therapy sessions which can be bliss. The therapist can also direct you in appropriate exercises.

I obtained a lower back pain problem after lifting 30 lb. boxes 300 times a day for 4 days a week over a 3 year period. I lifted with my leg but twisted while doing so. Twisting while lifting is almost as hard on the back as not using knees. The chiropractor told me that sit-ups and ab exercises are the most important think to a good back. In addition to flexibility exercises and arch supports in my shoes I have no more pains.

So, #1 Lift with legs and not your back (and don’t twist with a heavy load).
#2 Build those abdominals. Your abs support your back much more than your back muscles do (and they’re easier to exercise too).
#3 Stretch (before and after work/excercise)
#4 Put insoles or arch supports in your shoes. They will help a lot more than you think (and can be bought at any drugstore for about $10 a pair)

These four things will correct minor back problems and keep you out of the doctors office.