Psoas Abscess

Facts About A Psoas Abscess And The Muscle It Affects

 

Experiencing a psoas abscess is not all that common a disorder, but should one develop you would probably know it, even though the symptoms might not necessarily point directly to the abscess itself. Since a psoas abscess is not too common an aliment, we seldom if ever here the turn. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that most of us have never heard the term psoas before, and have no idea what it is.

One Of The “Core” Muscles

 

The psoas is a fairly large and long muscle. In fact there are two of these muscles, one on each side of the body. These are deep muscles, which run down the back from the lower spine to the groin area. The psoas muscles belong to the group of muscles we often call our core muscles, even though we tend to think of our core muscles as consisting only of the abdominal muscles. Practically everything we do revolves around our core muscles.

 

Functions Of The Psoas Muscles

 

An understanding of what the functions of the psoas muscles are can give you a better idea as to why a psoas abscess can become quite serious if left untreated, and why its symptoms can range from back pain to an inability to walk normally.

-     The psoas muscles act to flex the hip and also to flex the spinal column.

-     Since these muscles flex the hip and the thigh, they are the primary muscles which enable us to walk.

-     The psoas muscles make it possible to torque our spine to the right or to the left, and also make it possible for us to twist our pelvis in a variety of ways.

-     The group of muscles which work in conjunction with the psoas muscles, to control movement in the back and hips, include the psoas minor, the iliacus, iliopsoas, and the quadratus lumborum.

 

A Favorite And Valuable Exercise

 

The importance of healthy psoas muscles cannot be overstated. If you are enrolled in a stretch and flex class, a yoga class, or are undergoing therapy for hip or back problems, you will probably be encouraged to stretch and exercise the psoas muscles. The way this is often done is while lying on your back with your knees bent, you pull your knees towards you shoulders, and hold them tin that position for a few seconds. This exercise tends to open up or release the psoas muscles, while strengthening your lower back muscles, and relieving any lower back discomfort at the same time.  A tight psoas muscle is one of the leading causes of lower back pain. In the event a psoas abscess was present, this exercise could be extremely painful on one side, which would be one means, albeit a painful one, of determining if an abscess might be present.

While the pain experienced in performing the bent-knee exercise may point towards the presence of psoas muscle damage, or the presence of an abscess, one of the tell-tale signs will usually be a change in one’s gait, since one leg will often be favored when walking due to the pain an abscess is causing. Other symptoms of an abscess in one of the psoas muscles would be back pain, abdominal pain, or pain in the groin area.

 

Treating A Psoas Muscle Abscess

 

One may wonder how a deep muscle, such as the psoas muscle is, can be affected by an abscess. Aside from an infection caused by an injury, there are any number of ways the muscle could become infected, just as it is possible for any organ in the body to become infected.  When a psoas muscle becomes infected, it is often the result of infection spreading from nearby organs, the bowels, or the spine. Should an abscess form in one of the psoas muscles, it will have to be subjected to drainage and debridement, debridement being the removal of infected, damaged, or dead tissue. Drainage tubes can normally be inserted with the help of imaging equipment, but if imaging equipment is unavailable, open surgery may have to be resorted to. Antibiotics will then be used to eliminate any bacteria which may remain in the abscess area.

 

A psoas abscess can in some cases become quite large or widespread, with the infection at times severely damaging muscle tissue, and in some cases even bone tissue. Since soreness in the back or the hip is not that uncommon, a person having such an abscess will often not report any problem until walking becomes too painful. By that time the infection, and the size of the abscess, may have spread significantly.

 

Knowledge Of The Muscle Itself Can Be Valuable

 

The chances are you will never have to be faced with this kind of a problem. If you ever are, the prognosis is generally favorable, although the earlier the abscess is detected and treated the better. In any event, having some knowledge of the psoas muscles can in itself be valuable, in that taking care of this muscle through exercise and gentle stretching could significantly cut down the likelihood of  those back or hip problems that are not caused by injury, arthritis, or some other disorder.