1. See a Chiropractor
Yep, it would be silly not to have this as number 1.
In the UK, most people are conditioned to seek care from the NHS for most (if not all) of our problems. This usually involves contacting your GP (General Practitioner). Which, as the title suggests, is a doctor who knows about a large variety of topics.
Think about how many different problems a GP sees in their day, then think about how much of what they see is made up by musculoskeletal problems (MSK). You have to be very lucky to come across a GP that specialises in Muscles, joints and nerves (MSK).
Why not see a Physio? This is a better option and often who your GP will refer you to. Though bear in mind an NHS Physiotherapist also works in a wide variety of different areas in the hospital. E.G. Cardiovascular, respiratory, stroke rehabilitation. So again, their knowledge is stretched. A private Physio is a better option, though most Physios will see Lower back injuries which are already improving, hence why you often come away having been prescribed multiple exercises. If the back is not ready for these exercises, then they can make the injury worse. A private Chiropractor is trained in treating and managing the joints, muscles and a nerves with a particular focus on spinal conditions. Their training covers a vast array or diseases and injuries so that they can refer when necessary. Chiropractors are also trained in reading and taking X-rays, they are the only conservative profession that teaches this at undergraduate level. This gives you an idea of just how much they understand what is happening to your body and spine underneath when they assess you. The majority of what Chiropractors see in clinic are spinal problems.
2. Use an ice pack
When should you use ice or heat? I'll keep it simple, it depends on whether or not you have spasms.
If you have spasms (usually in the first few days) then there are really only two things that can stop the spasming. Heat packs and anti-spasmodic medication (prescribed by your doctor).
If there is no spasming, then switch to ice and ONLY use ice (followed by gentle movement).
3. Keep Moving
You've probably heard that bed rest is no longer recommended for lower back pain? this is true, the key to recovery is to keep moving. There is only one proven way to keep your joints healthy, and that is to move them.
Start with gentle walking and increase the intensity of the exercise as you recover or as prescribed by your clinician.
4. Avoid aggravating activities
Sounds like a silly suggestion doesn't it? Though this can be a lot harder than you think to figure out. A general rule with lower back pain is that if your back hurts today and you don't know why... try to think about what you did yesterday or the day before.
This way you can often identify what caused it or aggravated it and start planning on how to navigate a path forwards where your body can heal without the wound being reopened.
Once your back is injured, you should avoid prolonged sitting and prolonged bending, these are the two biggest mistakes we see in clinic. Sitting or bending for long periods are the main two reasons why patient's backs either relapse or recover slowly.
5. Assess your work ergonomics or get lighter duties
Related to number 4, the biggest cause of patients coming in for treatment for their backs is due to their work. Workers in the western world sit for way to long. This is usually while working. Since Covid-19, a lot of workers are now working form home, they are no longer getting their ergonomics checked for their desks.
Do your own check now. Your screen should be high enough so that you are not tilting your head down for long periods. If you're using a laptop, pop it on to a stand and use a separate keyboard on the desk. Consider a small lumbar support for your chair and take breaks from sitting every 30 mins by standing/walking for a short period.
If you are not a desk worker and are more manual, then ask your employer if you can have lighter duties. If this is not possible, then you may have to get creative at work to figure out how you can achieve this, such as using a different tool or asking others for more assistance on particular jobs (delegating).