Pneumonia and Consolidation


I suffered excruciating pain in the right side of my back. X-ray and CT scan confirmed right basal pneumonia about 8 weeks ago. I never had any fever or cough, just severe stabbing back pain. A recent repeat X-ray still shows consolidation and I still have back pain though not as severe - still no cough or fever and no sputum expectorated. I have never smoked but was diagnosed with adult onset asthma 3 years ago.

I'm worried I will be left with permanent damage (scarring/fibrosis?) to my lung. I understand consolidation should have cleared after 3-4 weeks?

Thanks for any light you may be able to shed on this.


15 Replies

Hi Meerykat. How horrible for you. I had pneumonian early this year and I really feel for you. Did you have antibiotics for it? It is strange that you had no fever but the consolidation is why you have no cough. That is why pneumonia is so dangerous. It sits down there and docs cannot hear the usual sounds of a chest infection. A good GP should be able to deduce what it is because it makes you so ill and they should have seen a lot of it. If as you say, there is still consolidation and pain I would suggest that you visit your GP and ask why this should be and do you need more antibiotic treatment to clear it up. Pneumonia can take months for you to feel better. Eight months on from mine I still have the pain exactly where you describe and referred pain in my lower right side when I breathe in suddenly. Do see your GP and hopefully get some reassurance. Big hug.x

Thank you so much Stillstanding for taking the time to write. It really is appreciated and makes you feel less alone in dealing with this scary illness. Best wishes. Susan xx

Meerykat, you are welcome

Hello Susan

Pneumonia is horrible I've had it twice, I also just had stabbing pain but mine were the front at the bottom of my ribs. It can take a long time to recover fully from it so just take each day as it comes, when your recovered healthy eating and exercise will help, you don't smoke which is good thing. Go back to your GP and ask for him to keep a check on you with x-rays, and ask for flu and Pneumonia jabs.

Try not to worry.

Kim xxx

Thanks Kim, I'm very grateful that you took the time and effort to help reassure me. I go back to GP one week today and I'll ask more questions. I think he may refer me to a respiratory consultant. Hope you are keeping well. Best wishes. Susan xx

Hope you feel better soon. A good idea to see your GP again to see if you need more antibiotics.

Take good care of yourself.

Love and hugs



Thanks Sian, I have an appt with my GP for a week today when he will have a copy of my recent X-ray result showing that consolidation is still present. My second lot of antibiotics finished today but I don't feel any better unfortunately.

Best regards.



How are you feeling now? Hope you are feeling better?

Love and hugs



PS let us know what the GP says at your appointment.


Hello Sian,

Thanks for your lovely email. It's great to know that people care :). My GP has referred me to a respiratory consultant and has given me another lot of antibiotics. The worry is when I finish them the pleuritic pain will start again as before.

I hope you are well. Take care.

Love Susan xxx

When do you finish the antibiotics? If I were you I would make an appointment ready to see your GP a day after you finish them. Hope they do the trick but it can take a long time.

Take care.

Love and hugs



Hi Sian, just a wee update to say I've finished the antibiotics. I'm waiting on my appt with the resp. Consultant. However, a glimmer of hope is that the excruciating back pain is nowhere near as bad. :))

You do such a lot of good work on this site Sian and so many people must be helped and inspired by that. Good for you and we'll done. You certainly helped me feel less alone in my darkest moments.

Take care.


Susan xxx

Hi Susan, my symptoms and experience matches yours exactly. I know this is an old post but how are you now, and how was your recovery?

Hi Bee, sorry about the late reply as I've been on holiday.

I'm happy to say that I've made a complete recovery. The excruciating pain I experienced in the right side of my back was diagnosed as pleurisy which is severe inflammation of the pleural membrane surrounding the lung. Pleurisy often accompanies pneumonia. For me, the pleurisy was the worst aspect to deal with due to the severe, unremitting pain. It took a good 6 months to finally feel well again and twinges of minimal pain were evident now and again for about 9 months. Interestingly, I was diagnosed with adult onset asthma a couple of years prior to getting pneumonia. I've never smoked but seem to have been afflicted with these respiratory problems in my fifties. It does take what seems a long time to fully recover from pneumonia and pleurisy. Are you taking painkillers?

Hope things start to improve for you soon.

Best wishes


Hi Susan

Thank you so much for responding, so good to hear from someone who has been through pretty much exactly the same thing and has now recovered :). Very good indeed. I find that there are so many emotions that one goes through when experiencing this, sadness, frustrations but then lots of hope.

Can I ask if there was anything you did to relieve the pain from the pleurisy? Like heat pads, hot water bottles etc.

I'm on my tenth day of antibiotics now, four left and I had hoped it would improve but I'm not sure if these antibiotics are just for the pneumonia. I know nothing about science and medicine and often I'm so tired, I forget things.

I'm on painkillers, a combination of paracetamol, ibuprofen and codeine but I'm not finding them particularly helpful. Since forever, I've always been weary of painkillers. It just feels weird taking over 20 tablets a day, including the eight antibiotics of course.

Anyway, thank you for your response and I hope you get a chance to write back.

Bee :)

Hi Bee,

Like you, the painkillers did not relieve my pain. In fact, the codeine made me sleepy and constipated. My GP eventually prescribed morphine (severadol) which did help but made me feel nauseated and very sleepy. I then got an anti-sickness tablet prescribed to help with that! I too was rattling with tablets.

I didn't feel heat helped me and lying down made the pain unbearable. I ended up trying to sleep upright well supported with pillows - which was a challenge!

You're so right about the gambit of emotions that swirl around. I thought I would never improve. It's difficult to accept such sudden attacks of poor health when you've previously been relatively healthy.

A few days prior to my diagnosis I had come off a flight from Portugal. The following day my back pain started. Being a district nurse, I diagnosed a severe muscle strain probably due to lifting luggage. However, after self medicating for a couple of days it got worse and I then started to suspect a blood clot in the lung. I got an urgent GP appt who said I had no air entry in the base of my right lung. I was admitted to hospital where a ct scan revealed pneumonia.

My third X-ray, thankfully, eventually showed that the pneumonia was starting to resolve, after about 3 months. But, it took a considerable time (many months) to feel completely free of pain. It's certainly not something I would want to suffer again. You have my every sympathy Bee. Pamper yourself and accept all help from family and friends. Maybe you could discuss the possibility of trying morphine with your GP - if he agrees, remember to ask for an anti-sickness tablet!

Kind regards. Take care.

Susan 🙂

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