It really all depends on what is wrong with you specifically.
"Low back pain" can be caused by anything from pulled low back muscles (erector spinae / quadratus lumborum), pulled hip flexors (iliopsoas), subluxated joints, pelvic tilt from postural deviations, imbalance between erector/ql and abs, pinched nerves, spondylosis, compression fractures.....(you get the idea)
So no matter what helped your buddy, your next door neighbor, or whoever, you have to know exactly what is wrong before you can decide what will fix it. Some of the stretches that fix pulled muscles can actually be dangerous for herniated disks or fractures. So I'll repeat - always go get a diagnosis before any type of treatment.
That being said, if the pain comes and goes during a day, that most likely is something muscular. For that I would suggest deep tissue or sports massage, or PT. Chiros specialize in the alignment of joints. If that's what's wrong with you, then that's the fix. But stay away form the chiros that claim they can cure everything that is wrong with you. Good ones can fix a lot of issues, bad ones are dangerous.
And MDs are not always the answer either. I have several clients that have been told by Orthopedics that the only thing that will ever help them is cortizone and then surgery, and within 3 or 4 sessions on my table they have marked improvement.
EDIT: But sometimes (again, depending on what is actually wrong) surgery really is the right answer.
And the first thing you should always do is ice, rest, and gentle motion as long as it doesn't hurt - listen to your body!
I have had two great experiences with a chiro. Once I had a really sore neck and couldn't turn my head. Injured from being stacked by a 350lbs dude in BJJ. I went to a chiro and after the first "treatment" I could move the neck. I continued and didn't have neck problems again.
Fast forward about three years later and I develop sciatica and lower back pain. I go to a different chiro (the reason I didn't go back to the first was he pushed his religion too much for my taste) and after a couple of weeks my sciatica was gone after having it for almost six months.
On the flip side my sister was in a car crash had mid back pain and went to the same chiro I went to for my sciatica and she said it didn't help and in some cases made her feel worst.
This thread made my head hurt.
Part of the problem with trying to quantify something like chiro is that as a manual therapy much of the success is dependent on the skill of the practitioner and the relationship between the practitioner and client.
That said it is a no-brainer that the "good" ones are at the far and narrow end of the bell-curve and with the bulk of practitioners ymmv.
The same goes for massage and acupuncture, and this somewhat invalidates the research model used for Western medicine, ie the lack of consistency makes quantifying impossible.
This is very different than say prescribing a pill.
Because of this manual therapy practitioners are best sought out by referral imo.
I'd say see a doctor first if pain persists so you can describe and sort through the symptoms a bit better.
I would support seeing a chiropractor but from my experience they have a tendency to jump the shark and go right into treatment without, first, thoroughly diagnosing the issue. When you do go the chiropractor, if that is your choice and you feel is necessary, find one that does x-rays and make sure they're credible - if you can get a diagnosis before seeking corrective treatment that would be best.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend physio as they are better for rehab from injury and it sounds like this might be something that's developed over time. I'm also not a huge fan of physiotherapists because practice varies dramatically from person to person and you really have to hunt to find one that knows what their doing.
Originally Posted by Kintanon
Agreed. My Chiro has a sports medicine background which is a definite plus. I have gone in there barely walking and come out with a smile. If they are worth a damn they won't try to treat things that you should see a Dr about.