The current recommendation for the 80% of American adults who have first-time complaints of low back pain is to stay active and manage their pain with varying types of medications (anti-inflammatories, pain killers, muscle relaxers, etc). Individuals who adhered to an active physical therapy program were shown to have a greater improvement in their pain and disability. They were also less likely to require further care (prescription medications, injections, or get an MRI).1
1. Fritz JM, Cleland JA, Speckman M, Brennan GP, Hunter SJ. Physical Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain: Associations with Subsequent Healthcare Costs. Spine. 2008; 33: 1800-1805.