Asthma UK community forum
9,881 members16,642 posts

Pleurisy pain


I have just got out of COSTA after five days in from a life threatening asthma attack which put me in ITU for a few hours and and close to being ventilated. It has scared me a lot but what is scaring me more is they have sent me home on nebs and morphine because I have pleurisy on my right lung. This has never happened to me before but the pain is really bad (I have a high pain level as well)and not managing things well. They have sent me home as there are too many infections in hospital and they are worried I will catch them if I stay in (I also have Addisons, so limited immune system).

My questions are a few so sorry this is a bit new to me:- Is there a way to help with the pain, I can't lie down as breathing gets worse, using all the pain killers I have and using neb every four hours?

I'm really worried about work this is my second period of time off in two months and the drs have said I need a least a week before I can think about work, is there a way I can help work understand my situation?

The hospital have not put me on antibiotics as my infection markers where not high enough to neeed them is this normal with pleurisy?

7 Replies

Hiya, pleurisy pain is horrid, I get that a lot. Have they explained to you what pleurisy actually is? Pleurisy itself is not an infection, it is inflammation of the pleura. The lungs have a double layered covering of membranes with a liquid inbetween which acts like a lubricant - and when they get inflamed, they 'rub' together and the liquid becomes sticky, so it doesnt allow the membranes to glide over each other like normal. Normally when you breathe, the two membranes will glide over each other, but when inflamed they will stick and rub, causing pain. When doctors listen to your chest, they will be listening for a pleuritic rub if they think you have pleurisy. For something which sounds so unexciting the pain can be horrific!

Shallow breathing can ease the pain, taking deep breaths will expand the ribcage more and cause more rubbing.

Viruses like flu, or the epstein barr virus can cause pleurisy as well as a host of other things. I've certainly had it without a chest infection. Have you been given a sick certificate from your GP for work?

Hope it eases off soon, get plenty of rest

Lynda :)


Hi Asha,

I'm sorry to hear you've been so poorly, I had my first ICU stay in October and it a lot so give yourself time to adjust to what you've been through.

Once my employer knew how poorly I'd been (unfortunately I was ventilated) they were.amazing so to them and keep them in the loop. They know people don't end up in ICU dir no reason!

As as Lynda said shallow breathing helps with the pleurisy and I find standing under a hot shower with.thr water falling on my back where tge pain is helps for a bit.

Rest up. X


Thanks, the doctors did not explain anything so that really helps. They have given me a sick note for work for one week from yesterday but I still worry what work will think about the amount of time off. I have another appointment with my local gp on Thursday so I might know a bit more then. Thanks again Amanda


I can only second what Lynda and Angelica have said with regards pleurisy. Shallow breathing, so don't do anything you don't have to. Avoid anything that might make you hiccup, sneeze (certain foods cause these for some people) or laugh.

Tell work that you've been in ITU. They should understand how very ill you've been to end up there and know that you'll need time to recover. A week doesn't sound very long, so maybe you'll need another note for some extra time off when you see GP on thursday. Don't go back until you feel ready, your lungs will have a strop if you do too much too soon, although judging this can sometimes be tricky.

Rest up and recover well. Gentle hugs


asha you said `I can't lie down as breathing gets worse, `

I find that happens if I lie on my back but is ok if I lie on my side

when I recently had pleurisy on my right lung I found lying on my right side helped to reduce the pain

have a read of the above links

I hope this helps you and that you feel better soon, take care of yourself


I think I might have pleurisy too. No infection right now, just really bad asthma attack where they wanted to admit me, and bad rib pain from really deep coughing. I also had chest surgery two years ago, so the scar pain is acting up too. I generally have a very high pain tolerance myself, but this is ridiculous!

I have lidocaine patches, which are lovely. You would think they would cause your skin to be numb, but they are local, and they actually just take the pain away. Of course, I have a bit of a hard time reaching my back!



Thanks, I went back to the drs and they want me off work for another week, not happy with that but have to comply with drs advice. I'm still nebing every four hours and using strong pain killers so not even able to drive.

Asthma nurse at the hospital rang today and advised that when my lungs are good (just after a neb) I try to do stuff around the house to get moving again. They also said I have a virus which is making it harder for me to recover.

Very fed up would much rather be working and be able to travel about and see friends etc. I'm missing church and feeling quite down about it all but hopefully I will pick up over this week. Thanks again and sorry for the moan. Amanda X


You may also like...