I am a 23 year old, athletic female. So about 6 months ago, I woke up with lower back pain out of nowhere that I can think of. It wasn't severe, but I thought maybe I slept funny. The pain seemed to be in my lower spine and was painful to the touch, so I assumed soft tissue injury or a strange bruise. I'm an athlete and used to aches and pains so I gave it a few weeks, and it lessened, but never ever went away. Prior to this I had a desk job and neglected myself physically, so I'm thinking this may have led me to a bulging disc or something, but no sciatica is present; just back pain. I used to squat very, very heavily when I was training but I never injured my back.
Some strange details:
The "spot" that hurts almost feels like there's a small bulge or something loose there. It seems to hurt on a vertebrae but it's hard to tell. Sometimes the pain feels centered, sometimes it's not.
If I rub it, the pain completely disappears for a minute or two.
It gets worse from prolonged standing and is stiff/worse in the mornings when I wake up.
If I get carried away and rub it a lot, the tissues around both sides of my spine seem to get inflamed and tender to the touch for a week or so and climb upwards. The painful spot however doesn't go away, though it lessens from time to time.
I hope someone knows what I'm talking about. Thank you ahead of time. My father has awful spinal stenosis and chronic back pain and I hope I'm not on a slippery slope here.