Despite years of extensive research, the etiology of idiopathic scoliosis still has not been resolved. A hypothesis on the role of posteriorly directed shear loads was studied in several biomechanical and imaging studies. So far, it has been shown that: on the human erect spine these posteriorly directed shear loads act; these loads decrease the rotational stability of the spine vitro and in vivo; once rotation occurs, it logically follows an already built-in vertebral rotational pattern, that is pre-existent in the human spine; this pre-existent rotational pattern is related to organ anatomy, and not to handedness; certain areas in the female spine are more subject to posteriorly directed shear loads as certain areas in the female spine are more backwardly inclined. Although it is appreciated that the cause of idiopathic scoliosis is multi-factorial, we believe that the delicate upright spinal sagittal balance and the unique posteriorly directed shear loads acting on the erect human spine play a crucial role in the rotational stability of the human spine, and thus in the pathogenesis of idiopathic scoliosis.
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