What is the best way to relieve a lower back strain-exercise or rest?
I don’t know what kind of shape you were in before this happened and that is going to matter. If you are used to working out then by all means continue working out. The key to this is that the muscles were injured and that means that fibers of those muscles were torn or stretched. They are not coming back to normal unless there is some work to get them that way. Muscles need to be worked after an injury but the intensity of the workout must be toned down or else there is going to be more injuries. My recommendation is that you work out using light weights of no more than five pounds. You want to work the back muscles in a way that is safe and supportive. Try these movements without any weights to see how your back reacts. Sit on a solid chair with the feet flat on the floor. The knees should be slightly spread apart but not widely. Keep the head and neck straight and slowly bend forward from the waist. Keep bending forward until you feel a slight stretching sensation in the lower back.