Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain in the chest that worsens when inhaling
  • Fatigue


Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleural lining-the membrane that lines the lungs. The inflammation is generally viral in nature. Pleurisy can accompany other lung infections, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. The condition also can follow a lung abscess or a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism).

Individuals with systemic inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are especially susceptible to pleurisy that is not accompanied by a lung infection. Studies have shown that about 20 percent of rheumatoid arthritics develop pleurisy at least once during their lives.

conventional Medical Treatment

If you experience a sharp pain when inhaling, go to your physician immediately. A chest X-ray will be performed but may show no abnormality. Treatment is usually aimed at making the patient comfortable, including bed rest and anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and indomethacin.

Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture Acupuncture can help alleviate pain and inflammation in the lining of lungs. It also can be useful in strengthening the patient’s weakened immune system so that the body is in a better position to fight the viral intruder responsible for this infection.

The practitioner typically focuses on auricular acupuncture points related to the lung, thorax, internal secretion, and adrenal gland.

Acupressure To reduce lung pain, the therapist may focus on points along the bladder meridian, which runs the length of the chest as well as Gall-bladder 34, Liver 3, and related ear points.

Chinese Herbal Therapy The TCM practitioner may prescribe balloon flower and asarum sieboldi to treat lung infection, while mastic tree may be recommended to reduce pain. There are many herb formulations, but it is best to see an herb-trained acupuncturist for a complete diagnosis first.