It may depend on how old they are. A recent study followed patients who had nonsurgical treatment for back injuries. One year after treatment, younger patients were more likely to return to work than older patients, and to stick with their jobs. In fact, 98 percent of patients under age 25 kept working, versus only 63 percent of patients 55 and older. The older the injured patients got, the less likely they were to keep working.
Researchers think that older people have a harder time healing, which makes it harder to work. There may also be fewer incentives to work as people get older and disability income becomes even more accessible.