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What does Pleurisy feel Like?

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  • What does Pleurisy feel Like?

    Just a question for those of you who have experienced chest pain. I don't want to invent symptoms or turn every ache and pain into something significant but I was reading about pleurisy and wondering if that was what I had...

    Back in October 2009 I woke up one day with chest pain. It was very centered in my chest and had a heavy feeling (something sitting on your chest) and it got worse and felt sharper with a deep breath or when I was sitting upright (driving). At first I thought it was a heart attack but it didn't get worse then i thought maybe it was bad indigestion (I'd never really had indigestion so wasn't sure). By the 5th day I started to get worried something was wrong so I had an EKG (ECG) done and it was normal. About 8 days after it started it went away and never came back. My doctor told me it was probably stress but I wasn't stressed at all during that time. I have often wondered what it was.

    What does pleurisy feel like? Are there other symptoms that go along with it?

    thanks -
    Last edited by Nomad; 09-21-2011, 04:57 PM.

  • #2
    Hi Nomad--

    It's been a while since I had this, but I had two separate bouts of it. Both times, the pain woke me up in the middle of the night. I had significant sharp pain upon taking a deep breath, which forced me to breath shallow breaths to minimize the pain. I honestly thought I was having a heart attack! It settled a couple of hours later. I went to an urgent care center the next morning and had an EKG which was normal. When I saw my rheumy, she referred me to cardiologist, who did an echocardiogram, which revealed a minor congenital issue, but it would not have caused the pain. After ruling out cardiac involvement, I was diagnosed with pleurisy. After the first one, I would say I was sore afterwards--or maybe the pain was just significantly less. The second bout started the same, but hung around for several days. Rheumy gave me a short course of low-dose steroids and pain-killers to deal with the pain.

    I honestly cannot recall if the pain was worse when I leaned forward, but I do recall that this question was asked of me.

    That's my two cents.



    • #3
      I was actually going to start a new topic with the same question?! Thanks Nomad for starting it!

      What I was wondering is can it feel like a chest infection? I have had quite a few episodes last year, which I put down to chest infections, without the cough or sometimes with a slight dry cough. My chest felt really heavy too and I had to take small slow breaths as it hurt to breath and I had bad pain out my upper back. I kept on having to rub vicks vapo rub on my chest at night as it helped me breath a bit better but ot would always be worse at night. Would you get a high temperature with pleurisy?

      I have a similiar feeling again, but Im sure its just a chest cold this time. Both my sons have just finished an anitbiotic for chest colds. I know Im over analizing every ailment and wondering can it be related to my other lupus like symptoms but its hard not to !!!!
      Last edited by Marzipan; 09-21-2011, 11:00 AM.


      • #4
        I've had pleuirsy more times than I'd like to remember....for me it always starts as you described with the chest pain (feels like you are having a heart attack or like an elephant is sitting on your chest). It hurts to breathe deeply as Monica had said and I have pain in my upper back and sides where your rib cage is. They say that laying on the spot where it hurts should help but for me I don't find that is true. To answer "Marzipan" regarding the temperature for me it's hard to pin down as I'm always hot and feel like I have a temperature, I think what I need to do in the future is to actually take my temperature to find out if I have a fever or not.


        • #5
          Hi nomad,
          I've had Pleurisy 3 times and the first time i had it, i actually thought i was going to die with the pain...symptoms i had was chest pain, severe pain in my lungs coming up over my shoulder blades and besides that the pain was making me sweat.
          So if you have any of the symptoms we've mentioned you can't afford to mess about either get intouch with your GP or emergencey because pleurisy left to long can cause fluid on the lungs then it does turn serious.


          • #6
            Thanks All,
            It does sound similar but the pain was not severe enough to make me sweat. It also went away on its own...the last couple days it was much better then it just was gone. Does pleurisy usually resolve itself and is there a general length of time it lasts for?
            Can they test for pleurisy - how is it diagnosed?
            Terry - this happened a couple years ago - I had just never figured out what it could have been and was reading something about pleurisy and a little light bulb flickered...


            • #7
              Hi Jen,

              Here's a link that the NHS in the UK provide with details of what is provided to diagnose Pleurisy


              • #8
                Hi Jen,

                Lupus does cause Pleurisy and it's left a black patch on my left lung...when they took me in straight away i was x-rayed for clots on the lungs because that's what it causes but i was ok refering that one and then they did an Artery test on me and found out some of my Artries to my heart was fured up and they kept me in for a week to make sure i was ok and on the 3rd time i had it, it came joint with pneumonia my parents thought they was going to lose me and i had hot poultic put onto cloth and placed around my lungs i was lucky.

                Through it all now my lung capacity is very low but if you ever have these affects again Jen just don't esitate. xxx
                Last edited by Peridot_Gem; 09-21-2011, 05:17 PM.