There is a membrane called the pleura that surrounds the lungs. It has two layers, the visceral pleura and the parietal pleura. The visceral pleura enclose the lungs while the parietal pleura is closest to the chest wall and the heart. The two layers of the pleura are separated or cushioned by the pleural fluid. The fluid acts as a lubricant between the two membranes that limits the friction as the lungs expand and deflate during respiration. An inflammation or swelling in the pleura results to pleurisy. Pleurisy pain occurs when the two membranes rub together.
There are several conditions can cause the inflammation, resulting to pleurisy pain.
- Infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungus, or parasites can result to pleurisy. These can include pneumonia or tuberculosis, which are common causes of pleurisy
- Immune disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Certain diseases can also cause pleurisy such as cancer, liver cirrhosis, and pancreatitis. You may also experience the condition if you have heart disease or kidney failure.
- Injury experienced at the jest such as rib fracture, a collapsed lung, blood clot, or inhaling asbestos is also seen as a cause of pleurisy.
There are some ways for you to find relief for pleurisy pain. Your doctor may prescribe pain medications along with antibiotics to fight the infection that is causing the pleurisy. Antibiotics are not recommended if the infection of pleurisy is viral in nature. NSAID’s are commonly recommended to ease the pain. If coughing is difficult because of the pain, splint your chest by hugging a pillow or two while you cough. If you are too weak to hug a pillow, an elastic ace bandage wrapped around your chest may do the trick. Breathe in two to three breaths before you cough if possible. This will help loosen the sputum inside your lungs to prevent getting an infection or making an existing one worse. If you are not under fluid restriction, a fluid intake of 2-3 liters may be ideal to help loosen the secretions. Take as much rest as you can, and go to the doctor if you have high fever, have extreme difficulty of breathing, or if you are coughing out yellowish or blood-tinged sputum.