What Are The Symptoms Of Pleurisy? Causes And Treatment Options

When the pleura (membrane that lines the inside of the chest cavity and envelops each of the lungs) gets inflamed and irritated, pleurisy develops. Also known as pleuritis, pleurisy characteristically results in excruciating pain, on inhaling and exhaling.

The signs and symptoms of pleurisy are:

  • Pain in the chest on inhalation and exhalation; it gets aggravated when you cough or sneeze or move; in between breaths, there will be no pain.
    Relief from pain occurs when you hold your breath or when pressure is applied over the painful area.
  • Dry cough.
  • Breathlessness and gasping.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Loss of appetite.

Most Common Causes Of Pleurisy

Thin membranes called pleura divide the lungs from the chest wall. One layer overlies each lung; whilst the other lines the inner chest wall. The layers prevent friction and allow the lungs to expand and contract when you breathe without any resistance from the lining of the chest wall.

Once the pleura get inflamed, they start rubbing against each other and this produces pain when you inhale and exhale.

Commonly seen causes are:

  • Viral infection, like, influenza
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Trauma to the chest
  • Rib fractures
  • Heart surgery
  • Lung cancer rarely results in pleurisy

Natural Treatment For Pleurisy

Treatment options for pleurisy chiefly focus on the underlying etiological factor.

Treatment management of the underlying cause; such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, fracture, etc needs to be started immediately.

  • Over the counter analgesics and NSAIDs are prescribed to ease some of the symptoms of pleurisy. In case, you have a large accumulation of fluid, you need to stay in the hospital and have the fluid drained constantly via a tube inserted into the chest.
  • Ginger is an effective remedy to manage most chest ailments; grate about 1 inch of the root, mix with a spoon of honey and consume thrice daily. Ginger will help reduce the inflammation as well as fluid buildup; and allay the symptoms considerably.
  • Start a vitamin C supplement; it will help expedite healing and treatment of the infection; and boost recovery appreciably. Talk to your health care provider about a vitamin C supplement and its dosage.
  • You may also include – tomatoes, limes, cherries, apples, capsicums and papayas in to your everyday diet; these are loaded with the vitamin.
  • Stay well hydrated and drink plenty of warm fluids.
  • Lie on the painful side; it actually helps diminish your pain.
  • Massaging is recommended too. Essential oils, such as, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree and Benzoin are beneficial for respiratory tract infections and diseases. These oils are greatly healing, comforting and warming. They help make breathing easier, ease pain and discomfort and reduce chest congestion significantly.
    • Blend 5 drops of any one of the above mentioned essential oils with 10 drops of a base oil such as olive oil or sesame seed oil and massage gently in to the chest and back. Applying heat after the massage will give added benefits. You may also inhale the essential oils by putting a drop on to a tissue and sniffing often or adding a drop or two to boiling water and inhaling the vapors.
  • Get plenty of rest; it is vital. Even when you start feeling better, do not overdo it. Resume work after about a month for complete recovery.

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