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How long does it take for a strained/torn lower back muscle to heal?

I work in retail and put strain on my back everyday. I lift with my legs when I can, but sometimes I have to carry cases that are almost too heavy. A few months ago I came home from work with an ache in the lower part of my back. This was usually fixed by a good night's rest. When I got up the next morning my back still hurt. I bent over to open a drawer and it felt like a rubber band snapped up my spine. I went to urgentcare and they told me all I had was a pulled or torn muscle. They sent me to physical therapy and showed me a few exercises to do. My back felt better after 3 weeks but it quickly went back to aching after work. I've been switching between ice and heat at night,sleeping flat,and continuing my exercises but my back still hurts. What can I do until I can visit the doctor again? 

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