Pleurisy, also called pleuritis, is the inflammation of the pleura; the membrane lining the outer surface of the lungs and the inner surface of the chest cavity. The condition has several causative factors which include infections by bacteria, fungi, viruses and other parasites, blood clot in vessels supplying the lungs, tumors and cancers in the region, inhaled chemicals such as ammonia, congestive heart failure, tuberculosis, pneumothorax, collagen vascular diseases like arthritis, and some medications like phenytoin and hydralazine. Pleurisy is a serious illness that presents with chest discomfort, pain, breathing difficulties, and joint pain among others.
Chest pain due to pleurisy may be stabbing, sharp or dull. The pain may be localized in one area of the chest or spread to a larger area of the chest, and even the back. Following are 10 pleurisy symptoms to watch out for.
Pleurisy Symptom #1: Chest Pain
Pain in the chest is the most common pleurisy symptom. It usually has a sudden onset and may be stabbing, sharp, or a dull pain that won’t go away. In most cases, the pain worsens when you take a deep breath, when you sneeze, or when you cough.
It is worth noting that the pleura tissue covers the whole outer surface of the lungs and the inner walls of the chest cavity. Therefore, the location of any inflammation determines the place and the extent of the pain. This is the reason why chest pain associated with pleurisy may be localized to a small area or cover a larger area including the shoulders and even the back.