I can relate too, Steve. What was simple muscular pain years ago has morphed into something else entirely.
I have Degenerative Disk Disease and osteoarthritis. I have discs at L4L5 and L5S1 that are no longer hydrated and are compressed, although I do not suffer from any radiating pain yet. And I can't take strong anti-inflammatories...they just cause ulcers.
Is this related to sitting at a desk? Perhaps. But when I was younger and very active, I was also a mechanic, standing on concrete all day and either bent under a hood or contorted under a dashboard. Hard to say if either is related. May dad had his first ruptured disk at my current age, and back surgery in the late sixties was the thing horror movies were made of. Makes me both wonder about genetics and fear anything invasive even though I understand the difference in technology.
There has been a lot of good advice here. One thing to look into is exercise solely devoted to strengthening your lower back. They are plentiful and easy enough to do. You just have to keep at it. The best way to learn it is through physical therapy but you can find lots of references on the internet. Once good list was at the Nevada Spine Clinic web site.
At home we have a back chair (rotates so your back and calves are parallel to the floor, thighs vertical). It does a lot to relieve the pressure and slowly stretch the muscles. We also have an inversion table so you can hang upside down and really stretch your back (I'm 3/4" taller now ;-)). I don't use them all the time but they are really helpful when you get around to those chores and overdo it a bit.
You are your own best defense. While there are some things you can't control directly (like osteoarthritis), you can control the condition of the muscles. There are even some exercises you can do without leaving your chair. After all, we'd hate to see the daily editorial delayed...we all live for this stuff!
Buy the ticket, take the ride. -- Hunter S. Thompson