Usually the first sign of pleurisy is a sudden chest pain. The pain may be very mild or very severe. Sometimes the pain is only felt while breathing deeply or coughing. Other times, the pain may be felt all the time and get worse with deep breathing or coughing. Usually the pain is felt in the chest wall over the area that’s inflamed. You might also feel pain in the upper abdominal area, neck, back, and shoulders.
Because inhaling deeply hurts, a person with pleurisy tends to breathe quickly and shallowly. On the side where the pain is, the muscles of the chest move less than those on the other side. If fluid builds up between the layers of the pleura, the chest pain may go away. Large quantities of fluid can make expanding one or both lungs difficult.
Other symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid breathing
Causes and Risk Factors
Irritation of the pleura can be caused by: