Jaw pain


                                                                                                              Dear ER Doc,

I am 58 years old, and for the last 3 weeks I have had pain in my jaw.  It seems more noticeable when I am stressed, which is often right now, because my husband and I are about to lose our house.  My sister says I should go see the doctor, because it could be my heart.  What do you think?

Jeanine Newport, RI


Dear Jeanine,

Without knowing all the details, I think your sister’s concern is reasonable.  When the heart does not get enough blood flow because of clogged coronary arteries, it can cause pain in different parts of the body, including the chest, back, abdomen, shoulders, arms, and jaw.  I’ve even seen it cause pain in the left ear.  The pain can be different in different people.  Often times, the pain is more severe or noticeable when the body is under stress, or during exertion.  These symptoms are often referred to as “angina.”

So yes, jaw pain can be a symptom of heart disease, but that doesn’t mean that it’s definitely your heart.  It could be a number of other more minor problems as well.  So don’t stress out about this, but do get checked out right away, and let me know what happens.

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