Jaw pain can have many causes including cancer, but GERD or acid reflux, as well as clogged heart arteries, can cause pain in the jaw.

If you’re experiencing pain in the jaw, you need to determine if it’s associated with any particular activities.

• Does it hurt only when you chew or yawn?

• How about only when you physically exert yourself—which would suggest an atypical symptom of blocked heart arteries?

• Maybe it occurs within a certain period after eating large meals.

• Or maybe it just happens for no known reason.

Jaw pain is strongly associated with two conditions:

• Cardiac problem: heart disease or heart attack
• TMJ disorder (joint problem)

A lesser-known cause of jaw pain is GERD or acid reflux.

“Chest pain that radiates to the left arm or jaw should be seriously investigated by a heart doctor to rule out angina or a heart attack,” says Hugh Mai, MD, Director of Endoscopic Ultrasonography and Bariatric Endoscopy, Gastroenterology Division, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore and LifeBridge Health.

“Once a cardiac cause is eliminated, acid suppression should be tried. This can involve taking antacids or taking a medication that suppresses gastric acid.

“If either of these is successful in relieving the jaw pain, then the jaw pain may be associated with acid reflux as a referred pain pathway in atypical GERD.”

Dr. Mai is well-versed in the endoscopic treatment of GERD. LifeBridge Health provides the Baltimore community and beyond with a wide array of choices in health care services.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  

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