Pleurisy is swelling (inflammation) of the thin layers of tissue (pleura) covering the lungs and the chest wall. In young, healthy people a viral infection of the lower respiratory system or pneumonia may cause the inflammation and pleurisy.
Other causes of pleurisy include air leaking into the pleural cavity from a hole in a lung (pneumothorax), injury to the chest (such as a broken rib), tuberculosis or other infections, or a tumor in the pleura. Pleurisy caused by a virus usually lasts a few days to 2 weeks.
Common symptoms of pleurisy include:
Over-the-counter pain relievers, including acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) and ibuprofen (such as Motrin and Advil), may help relieve the pain caused by pleurisy and may reduce fever. Treatment of pleurisy depends upon the cause.