There seems to be some confusion as to how back pain should INITIALLY be treated. So, I thought I'd make a quick post addressing that;
Most back pain can be treated conservatively at home (I'm sure most of you know some stretching exercises etc).
However there are some warning signs that you should look out for. These include trauma (eg; car accident and falls), numbness in the buttocks/leg or legs/groin. Shooting pain is often caused by direct pressure on a nerve from bony impingement or bulging discs.
Initial treatment consists of reduced activity and anti-inflammatory medications. Bedrest worsens back pain and should be limited to the first couple of days only following a back injury/pain,
Avoid strenuous use of the back, but certainly continue to stretch your back and, if you can, continue regular daily activities. Physio/chiro/massage can be worthwhile during this early phase. Use of over-the-counter (anti-inflammatory) medications if required are recommended. A doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants or narcotics for additional relief.
Most back pain resolves after a few weeks with conservative therapy. However, if yours doesn't, you should seek further medical evaluation. Your doctor may order scans (eg; Xray/MRI). Doctor may also recommend formal physical therapy.
Depending on your condition, surgical consultation may be warranted.
Hope this helps.