Mark, I'm very much looking forward to meeting you at the Round the Clock Diner. Besides trains and the Forum, we have something else in common: back issues.
I have had a bulging disc in my lower back since my early 30s. My days of acute pain seem to be over, but I still have some relatively mild chronic discomfort. Among other things, it affects my golf game: my drives that used to be as long as 280 yards are now about 230 yards.
Once your back is stable and your doctor and physical therapist (PT) give you the green light, stretching exercises should help you. I will demonstrate to you the stretching exercises that a PT recommended to me 30 years ago.
I have previously mentioned on the Forum about one of my stretching exercises that was not recommended by a health professional: getting on my hands and knees and crawling under the train table to fix a derailment. LOL, Arnold