The pain due to inflammation of the pleura is called pleuritic chest pain. The pleura is a membrane that surrounds the lungs and made up of two layers – the inner membrane which function as a protective layer while the outer layer surrounds the chest cavity. Once these two layers of pleura move alongside each other, it triggers pleuritic chest pain. Respiratory conditions or an injury to the pleura and the lungs are the usual causes of pleuritic chest pain which is described as sharp and stabbing pain and becomes worse when the individual coughs or breathes deeply.
Between the layers of pleura, there is a thin film of fluid that lubricates the space between the two layers and allows the membranes to glide against each other when breathing. When there is inflammation and irritation, the fluid is displaced. There are certain factors that causes pleuritic chest pain which includes the following:
- Pleuritic pain is also related with tuberculosis
- Bacteria and virus that causes pneumonia can result to pleuritic chest pain.
- An injury to the chest such as a rib fracture can cause irritation of the pleural membrane, thus triggering pleuritic chest pain.
- An obstruction of the vena cava and malignancy of the lungs
- Reactions to certain medications that are used in treating tuberculosis, cancer or immune disorders.
- Post-radiation therapy
- Systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and sarcoidosis can cause pleural irritation and pain.
- Abscess of the liver, diaphragmatic hernia and pancreatitis
Symptoms of pleuritic chest pain
- Pain becomes severe while breathing, sneezing, coughing and laughing as well as yawning.
- A sudden shooting and stabbing pain in the chest area.
- It is similar to a cramp but in a milder form
- There is fever, cough and difficulty in breathing when there is an underlying condition.
Treatment of pleuritic chest pain
- If pleuritic chest pain is caused by a viral infection, it usually takes days for the condition to heal by itself. If it is caused by bacterial infection, take the prescribed antibiotic medication given by the doctor.
- If the person is suffering from cough, he/she should take cough suppressants.
- Acupuncture is an alternative method.
- Apply a warm compress over the affected area to help minimize pleuritic chest pain for a short duration and must be done 3-4 times in a day. Avoid applying cold compress on the chest since it will worsen the situation. Strap the chest tight to control movement of the lungs and provide relief from pain.
- Use herb hog weed that is used as a natural remedy for treating pleurisy. Use the powder of this herb daily since it eliminates the deposited matter found on the bronchial tubes.
- Drink fresh milk and eat oranges every day to help strengthen the immune system of the body.