I notice at work more than half the people have taken time off because of back pain. So far, it hasn't struck me. If it ever happens, is there some way to cut the sick leave short and get back to work? Maybe I shouldn't think like this, but I do like to be prepared.
It is entirely possible that you might experience nonspecific low back pain at some point in your life. It's estimated that eight out of every 10 adults will report this problem to their physicians. But the prognosis is good. If there's no fracture, tumor, infection, or other serious problem, most people are back up and on their feet quickly.
But a small number of people do go on to develop chronic pain and disability. They may be off work for several weeks or more. Research is focused on finding ways to prevent back pain. One way to do this is to study groups of people who have low back pain and see if there are any common features to help predict those who might be at risk.
A second approach is to identify subgroups of patients who seem to respond well to a particular type of treatment. Studies have already shown that age, gender, and poor function are predictive of longer use of sick leave. On the flip side, another study has shown that previous use of sick leave is a positive factor in response to work modification as a means of returning to work sooner.
There's no reason not to be prepared for various health issues and concers. But you are probably right that preparing for something just because it has happened to other people may not be necessary.