It depends on the cause of the pleurisy and whether or not there is fluid (pleural effusion). Antibiotics and anti inflammatories are used most of the time, and a good cough medicine, but the doc has to determine what is causing it.
Pleurisy is more of a symptom. It is a secondary condition meaning it is caused by something else, many times it is caused from coughing. If there is infection present this infection needs to be treated. If you have a cough, it helps to splint the area when you cough. To do this, it helps to hold a pillow to the rib area that hurts when you cough. This helps keep the inflamed tissues from rubbing together. Pleurisy is kind of like a blister. Two surfaces rub together and fluid develops between them in response. See below for a description of pleurisy.
Pleurisy is caused by inflammation of the linings around the lungs (the pleura), a condition also known as pleuritis. There are two layers of pleura: one covering the lung (termed the visceral pleura) and the other covering the inner wall of the chest (the parietal pleura). These two layers are lubricated by pleural fluid.
Pleurisy is frequently associated with the accumulation of extra fluid in the space between the two layers of pleura. This fluid is referred to as a pleural effusion.
The pain fibers of the lung are located in the pleura. When this tissue becomes inflamed, it results in a sharp pain in the chest that is worse with breathing. Other symptoms of pleurisy can include cough, chest tenderness, and shortness of breath.
As far as treatment, the cause of the pleurisy needs to be treated so if it is cough, taking a cough suppressant can help. If there is infection, you may need antibiotics. In severe cases sometimes the fluid has to be drained. Most cases will go away on their own with time once the causitive agent (cough for instance) has been stopped. Pain medication can help with the pain. Treatment of the underlying disease, of course, ultimately relieves the pleurisy
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