The bones of the low back have important functions of weight bearing, movement and protection of the spinal nerves. If they are injured the first critical question is whether there is an irreversible nerve deficit. If there is it dominates the management and rehabilitation of the injury. If there is no deficit the second critical question is whether it is better to intervene to prevent a deficit from developing or whether there will be a good recovery if the bone is left alone to heal. In most cases the recovery of neurologically intact patients after a lumbar spine fracture is complete but surgery is sometimes necessary and residual symptoms of pain, stiffness and weakness are sometimes found.