Pleuritic pain?

I've had several big infections during the past year. All treated aggressively with oral antibiotics (UTIs and osteomyelitis & sinusitis and cellulitis). My SLE pattern seems to be catching any infection going.

in the past year I've noticed what i think of as "pleuritic pain" seeming to flare up and settle down in parts of my chest/ribs/lung region for a few days during these other infections.. Yes, I've been prone to mouth/throat/lung infections all my life and had pleurisy diagnosed and treated once, but this past year these sort of "sideline pleuritic pain" flares seem to just kind of sort themselves out -maybe thanks to being on plaquenil for a year now (I've had SLE all my life, but only been diagnosed in the uk since last June). I become aware of the pleuritic pain flare, it settles in to a part of my chest, giving a mix of hot sore/prickly/sharp/aching pain for say 5-6 days, and then it fades away

Following lots of experience managing my own versions of muscle/joint pain for many years, don't think this chest/ribs/lungs pain is simply muscle strain of some sort

Is anyone experienced in having & managing these sort pleuritic pain flares?

Does what I'm describing make sense or ring a bell with any of you?

I'm not anxious about this, but I would like to see how this could be part of my lupus picture, and how i can be sensible about keeping an eye on it. I admit: my past chest infections have been bad enough to make me want to practice prevention a go go!

4 Replies

Yes yes and yes.

Hello Pleurisy ... how goes it?

A dreaded and dreadful arch nemesis of mine.

Pleurisy / Pleural Pain

inflammed layers of pleura scratching one another like sandpaper



sternum pain where cartilage connects with ribs - press on sternum = increased pain

like being sat upon by an elephant

Pleural Effusion

with added fever (fluid build up thus less perceived pain - requires ASAP medical treatment)

As with any chronic pain consult with your doctors as these symptoms can be hiding larger issues such as a Pulmonary Embolism.

With your history of infections have it assessed by your doctor the next flare up as there could be a lingering nasty that requires attention. Usually easier caught when in flare up.

Anti-inflammatory Rx and or Anti-histamine Rx and or pain Rx if causing immobility / breathing problems are key to managing Pleurisy. If you feel like a fish out of water gasping for breath (like elephant sitting on you), unable to speak due to pain sore constricted throat (like a python grip), exhausting fatigue, lack of O2, etc ... get to your doctor ASAP.

If this is a relapse remit symptom have Rx treatment protocol at the ready to minimize the intensity of the flare ups.

Always if possible practice prevention a go go!

A button must be made : PRACTICE PREVENTION A GO GO!

Take care of yourself. Be well.



many thanks nouska

that helps a lot! yes, your description 'scratching like sandpaper' is exactly right, i could only think of 'prickly'. it is a very weird feeling. and the GP/osteopath suggestion of muscle strain just doesn't fit. when i only have this ribcage/chest pain relatively mildly (say compared to the agony of full-on pleurisy), it's very easy to be tempted to think it's 'nothing much' but even on a mild level it still is very sore and wearing. i can see now that it deserves recognition and thoughtful management: will make sure i have that Rx treatment at the ready

i had this pleuritic pain flare last week/early this week while i was getting over a raging UTI. the pain flared up during the last 5 days of antibiotics, which i finished yesterday. anyway, the chest pain seems more settled now, but fatigue is hitting me hard. so, am trying to go gently, take stock of things and go on learning how to.....take care of myself....

with best wishes to you for wellness too


The sandpaper clue suggests to me that this is pleuritic pain rather than costochondritis although it is totally possible to have both at the same time. I have costocondritis all the time, pleuritis much more rarely, Maybe a short course of oral steroids will help bring down the inflammation? Wish you better, Barnclown!


many thanks juliapulia (great name)

my rheumy had earlier suggested what to try in the way of steroids for other aspects of my condition, but my gp and rheumy have been avoiding giving this a go because of all these infections i've had one after another. which i gather is understandable, especially as otherwise my symptoms are mostly responding pretty well to plaquenil and lifestyle management.

but if this last flare of the sandpaper etc chest/ribs symptoms hadn't settled down as it seems to have over the past 10 days, i would've seen my gp and phoned my lupus nurse for their views and my guess is that we might have gone for steroids

main thing is: thanks to you & nouska & tatty i now feel more confident about taking this aspect seriously and making sure i clearly describe my chest/ribs flares to my doctors. i've spent so many years before last year's re-diagnosis being told everything was normal', that i'd almost begun to say all the wrong thing to drs, eg making light of my own symptoms and explaining them away etc...basically undermining myself and making it easy for drs not to take me serioulsy until it was almost too late.

your wishes are very welcome, and I send you the same


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