Guidelines recommend minimal medical intervention for acute non-specific low back pain. However, patients often request strategies to reduce symptoms and recover quickly. Self-care techniques that do not contradict current evidence-based recommendations may be suggested. Self-care techniques can reduce costs and iatrogenic complications that can occur with medical treatment. They may also increase the patient's perception of control and improve long-term outcome. A shift in paradigm for the health care provider and the patient is required for self-care to be successful. These issues, as well as self-care approaches such as medication, exercises, modalities and mind-body techniques are discussed. Practice points for each approach are given.