How Long Does It Take for Pleurisy Pain to Go Away: Understanding the Duration and Treatment Options

Pleurisy is one of the respiratory conditions that can cause sharp and sudden chest pains, which can be distressing and can cause anxiety. It is caused by inflammation in the lining of the lungs or the pleura and is known to cause severe pain that can last for days. However, many people are often left wondering, how long does it take for pleurisy pain to go away?

Understanding the timeline and duration of pleurisy pain is essential to ensure early diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and faster recovery. In many cases, the pain associated with pleurisy can be incapacitating and can impact activities of daily living, such as breathing, speaking, and walking. Therefore, those who experience chest pains and shortness of breath should seek medical attention immediately.

In this article, we’ll explore the answers to the ubiquitous question: how long does it take for pleurisy pain to go away? We’ll delve into the potential causes and symptoms of pleurisy, the different treatment options available, and strategies to help alleviate pain and discomfort. By the end of this read, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge you need to stay informed and make wise choices when it comes to managing pleurisy pain.

Causes of Pleurisy

Pleurisy is caused by inflammation of the pleura, which is the thin membrane that lines the inside of the chest wall and covers the lungs. The inflammation can be caused by several factors, including:

  • Viral infections: The most common cause of pleurisy is a viral infection, such as the flu or a cold. The virus can infect the lining of the lungs and cause inflammation.
  • Bacterial infections: Bacterial infections, such as pneumonia, can also cause pleurisy. The bacteria can infect the pleura and cause inflammation.
  • Fungal infections: Fungal infections, such as histoplasmosis or coccidioidomycosis, can cause pleurisy in rare cases.
  • Autoimmune disorders: Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, can cause the body to attack the pleura, leading to inflammation and pleurisy.
  • Injury: Trauma to the chest, such as a rib fracture or a motor vehicle accident, can cause pleurisy.
  • Pulmonary embolism: A blood clot in the lungs can cause pleurisy due to the inflammation it causes in the lung tissue.

In some cases, the exact cause of pleurisy may be unknown.

Symptoms of pleurisy

Pleurisy is a condition where the lining of the lungs gets inflamed, which can cause pain and discomfort. The symptoms of pleurisy often include:

  • Chest pain – This is the most common symptom of pleurisy. The pain may be sharp and stabbing and may worsen when you breathe deeply or cough.
  • Shortness of breath – You may experience difficulty breathing or feel as if you can’t catch your breath.
  • Fever – In some cases, pleurisy may cause a low-grade fever or even a high fever in severe cases.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to see a healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Diagnosing pleurisy

Pleurisy is a condition that affects the lining of the lungs, causing pain and discomfort. In order to diagnose the condition, several tests may be performed. Some of the common diagnostic procedures for pleurisy include:

  • Chest X-ray: This is usually the first test that is performed to check for any abnormalities in the lungs or chest cavity. It can help detect any fluid accumulation in the lungs, which is a common symptom of pleurisy.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests can help doctors determine if there is an infection causing the pleurisy. They can also reveal if there is any inflammation or other underlying conditions that may be contributing to the pain and discomfort.
  • CT scan: A CT scan can provide a more detailed view of the chest, allowing doctors to see any abnormalities or fluid buildup in greater detail. This can help them make a more accurate diagnosis and develop an effective treatment plan.

Another common diagnostic test that may be performed is a pleural biopsy. This involves removing a sample of the tissue from the lining of the lungs and examining it under a microscope. This can help doctors determine the exact cause of the pleurisy, whether it be an infection, cancer, or other underlying condition.

Diagnostic toolPurpose
Chest X-rayTo look for abnormalities in the lungs and chest cavity
Blood testsTo check for infection or inflammation
CT scanTo provide detailed imaging of the chest
Pleural biopsyTo remove tissue for examination and diagnosis

It is important to note that diagnosing pleurisy can be a challenging process, as many of the symptoms can be similar to other conditions. Therefore, it is important to seek medical help if you are experiencing any chest pain or discomfort.

Treatment Options for Pleurisy

When dealing with pleurisy, it is important to receive proper treatment in order to alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with the condition. Here are some common treatment options for pleurisy:

  • Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin, are often used to reduce inflammation and pain in the chest caused by pleurisy. In more severe cases, corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and swelling.
  • Antibiotics: If the pleurisy is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat the infection and reduce inflammation.
  • Thoracentesis: In some cases, a doctor may recommend draining the fluid that has built up in the pleural space. This is done through a procedure called thoracentesis, in which a needle is inserted through the chest wall and into the pleural space to remove the fluid.

In addition to these treatment options, individuals with pleurisy should also rest and avoid physical activity that exacerbates their symptoms. It is also important to stay hydrated and practice good respiratory hygiene in order to prevent further respiratory infections.

Here is a table summarizing some common medications used to treat pleurisy:

MedicationHow It WorksPossible Side Effects
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)Reduces inflammation and pain in the chest caused by pleurisyStomach upset, bleeding or ulcers in the stomach or intestines
CorticosteroidsReduces inflammation and swellingIncreased risk of infections, weight gain, mood changes
AntibioticsTreats bacterial infections that cause pleurisyStomach upset, diarrhea, allergic reaction

It is important to note that treatment for pleurisy may vary depending on the underlying cause of the condition and the severity of the symptoms. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for your individual situation.

Preventing Pleurisy

Although pleurisy can be a painful condition that can take time to heal, there are ways to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are some simple and practical measures to take:

  • Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, as it can irritate your lungs and lead to respiratory conditions.
  • Get a flu vaccine every year, as the flu can weaken your immune system and increase your susceptibility to pleurisy and other infections.
  • Practice good hygiene and wash your hands frequently, especially during flu season or when you are in contact with people who are sick.

In addition to these preventive measures, there are also lifestyle changes that you can make to improve your overall health and reduce your risk of pleurisy. Here are some examples:

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet, rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, to support your immune system and lower inflammation in your body.
  • Exercise regularly to improve your lung capacity and strengthen your respiratory muscles.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing and accessories that restrict your chest and make it harder for you to breathe.

By following these simple tips, you can reduce your risk of pleurisy and other lung-related conditions, and enjoy a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Complications of pleurisy


Pleurisy can be a highly uncomfortable experience that can take a toll on your daily life. In some cases, pleurisy can lead to a number of complications that can further add to your discomfort. Some of the common complications of pleurisy include:

  • Pleural effusion: This refers to the accumulation of fluid in the pleural space. It can result from a variety of factors, including infection, inflammation, cancer, and heart or liver disease. Excess fluid can cause difficulty in breathing, chest pain, and a persistent cough. Treatment usually involves draining the fluid using a needle or tube.
  • Pulmonary embolism: A blood clot in the lungs can be a serious and even life-threatening complication of pleurisy. The clot can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, and coughing up blood. Treatment may involve blood thinners.
  • Pneumothorax: This occurs when air accumulates in the pleural space, causing the lung to collapse. It can arise from trauma, a complication of a medical procedure, or underlying lung disease. Symptoms include sudden chest pain, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. Treatment depends on what caused the pneumothorax, but may involve the placement of a chest tube to remove the excess air.
  • Empyema: This is a serious complication of pneumonia that can result in the accumulation of pus in the pleural space. Symptoms include chest pain, fever, and difficulty breathing. Treatment may involve antibiotics and drainage of the pus.
  • Chronic pleurisy: In some cases, pleurisy can become chronic or recurring, leading to persistent discomfort and damage to the lungs or pleura. This can result from underlying medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders or tuberculosis. Treatment may involve ongoing medication or surgery to remove damaged tissue.
  • Atelectasis: This refers to the partial or complete collapse of a lung due to lack of air. It can result from a variety of factors, including pleurisy, pneumonia, or a blockage in the airways. Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and a persistent cough. Treatment may involve re-expanding the lung through the use of oxygen or a chest tube.

Overall, the complications of pleurisy can be serious and require prompt medical attention. It is important to speak to your doctor if you experience any persistent chest pain, difficulty breathing, or other concerning symptoms.

Living with pleurisy

If you have been diagnosed with pleurisy, you may be wondering how to live with this condition. Pleurisy can be painful and disruptive to everyday life, but there are steps you can take to manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life.

  • Take pain medication as prescribed: Pleurisy can cause sharp chest pain, which can be managed with pain medication. Your doctor may prescribe painkillers or anti-inflammatory medications to help ease the discomfort.
  • Rest and avoid physical activity: If your pleurisy is severe, your doctor may recommend you rest and avoid strenuous physical activity until your symptoms improve. Light activity, such as gentle stretching and walking, should be okay once you are feeling better.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water and tea, can help keep your body hydrated and help thin out mucus in your lung.

Additionally, there are some lifestyle changes that you can make to help improve your symptoms. These include:

  • Quit smoking: Smoking can aggravate your symptoms and cause further damage to your lungs. If you smoke, it’s important to quit as soon as possible.
  • Eat healthily: Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation in your body. Avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats.
  • Reduce stress: Stress can exacerbate your symptoms and make it difficult to manage your condition. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to help manage stress levels.

Your doctor may also recommend other treatments, such as chest physiotherapy or surgery, depending on the underlying cause of your pleurisy.

Living with Pleurisy: Do’sLiving with Pleurisy: Don’ts
Take pain medication as prescribedIgnore symptoms of pleurisy
Rest and avoid strenuous physical activitySmoke cigarettes or use tobacco products
Stay hydratedEat unhealthy foods
Quit smokingIgnore stress levels and do not manage stress
Eat a healthy, balanced dietAvoid seeking medical attention
Reduce stress levels through relaxation techniques

Living with pleurisy may require some lifestyle changes and careful management of symptoms, but with the right treatment and support, it’s possible to lead a fulfilling life.

How Long Does it Take for Pleurisy Pain to Go Away – FAQs

1. How long does it normally take for pleurisy pain to go away?
Typically, the pain from pleurisy can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks – depending on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause.

2. Is it normal for pleurisy pain to come and go?
Yes, it is normal for pleurisy pain to come and go. Over time, the body may slowly heal itself, and you may experience fewer symptoms.

3. What can I do to alleviate pleurisy pain?
Some common self-help therapies include getting plenty of rest, using heat or ice to reduce inflammation, and taking pain medication. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before starting any treatments.

4. Are there any potential complications of pleurisy?
In rare cases, pleurisy can lead to complications such as pneumonia, respiratory failure, or even death. If you experience any serious symptoms, seek emergency medical attention right away.

5. Can pleurisy pain recur in the future?
Yes, it is possible for pleurisy pain to recur in the future. If you experience a recurrence, it is important to talk to your doctor to determine the underlying cause and appropriate treatment.

6. Can I work or exercise with pleurisy pain?
It is generally recommended that you rest and avoid strenuous activity when experiencing pleurisy pain. However, your doctor can help determine what level of activity may be safe for you.

7. When should I see a doctor about pleurisy pain?
If you experience persistent or severe chest pain, shortness of breath, or other symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away. Additionally, if you have a pre-existing condition or are at higher risk for complications, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks for reading! It is important to take pleurisy pain seriously and consult with a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any concerning symptoms. With proper treatment and care, the pain can be managed and you can get back to your daily life. Remember to check back for more informative articles.