By Marianne Ryan PT, OCS
Since I am a TMJ specialist, I see many patients who complain of jaw pain. One of the most important things we can do as physical therapists is to ask some specific questions during the initial visit to rule out other potential problems.
If someone complains of jaw pain I always make a point of asking when they feel the jaw pain, what makes it worse, and what makes it go away. If they feel jaw pain when exercising or during certain activities and if it goes away when they stop, I see a BIG RED FLAG.
Some of the most common heart attack symptoms may include chest pain which can spread to your shoulder and jaw. Pain in the shoulder or jaw may show up as early pre-heart attack symptoms and should be evaluated by your doctor. If the pain in your chest, shoulder or jaw is brought on by activity, such as walking, and then goes away with rest, it is important to report this to your doctor. Any pain that is brought on by activity and goes away with rest should be investigated as possible cardiac symptoms.