Heartburn Radiating to Jaw Pain
Heartburn radiating to jaw pain is not typical a symptom of acid reflux, the primary cause of heartburn. A condition causing esophageal spasms in association with heartburn and acid reflux can cause jaw and neck pain, but this condition happens in a very small number of people.
Esophageal spasms should not be the first assumption for people who are experiencing heartburn radiating to jaw pain. It is more likely that these symptoms are related to a cardiac (heart) problem and should warrant an immediate trip to a hospital or emergency clinic.
What feels like heartburn radiating to jaw pain can be a warning that the person is entering a state of cardiac arrest. It can also indicate that a myocardial ischemia is developing. In either case: it is a medical emergency.
What feels like heartburn radiating into jaw pain could actually be the onset of cardiac arrest (heart attack). A myocardial ischemia is a condition in which a major vessel that is feeding blood into the heart becomes blocked.
Vessels can become blocked slowly over time, leading up to a heart attack. They can also become blocked rapidly, causing a heart attack with no warning at all.
Pain that starts in the chest in the same place as heartburn, radiating to jaw pain, neck pain, or pain in the arms or back are classic symptoms of a heart attack and should be taken seriously
This type of pain is known as angina. It does not necessarily indicate heart attack, but rather a warning sign that one is about to happen or will happen sooner or later if something is not done. Angina is not normal and needs to be treated and anyone with angina needs to be monitored by a doctor.
How to tell if Heartburn Radiating to Jaw Pain is a Medical Emergency
If you feel heartburn that is severe enough to cause esophageal spasms, you will probably know the difference between regular heartburn pain and what seems like heartburn radiating to jaw pain that might be associated with a heart attack.
Additionally, heart attacks cause other common symptoms to appear suddenly and develop rapidly as the heart begins to stop. A sudden, sharp burning beneath the breastbone or ribs is the first hint that cardiac arrest is in progress.
Cold sweats and dizziness are very common with heart attacks, but may not always be present. General pressure on the chest or the feeling that something is inside the chest making everything feel very “tight” is also a common symptoms of cardiac arrest or myocardial ischemia that is worsening.
A mild heart attack may not be as noticeable or present as many unique symptoms. This is why any chest pain, even if mistaken for heartburn, radiating to jaw pain or any other upper extremity should be checked by a medical professional.
Esophageal Spasms that Cause Heartburn Radiating to Jaw Pain
Though it is a rare condition, esophageal spasms do occur in some people. When a person has severe gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (GERD), a complication in which the muscles in the esophagus constrict on their own can cause jaw pain.
Heartburn radiating to jaw pain is not a likely description to be used with this condition, however. Jaw pain in relation to esophageal spasms and GERD is often the result of the tightening of muscles and soreness from constrictions.
However, people who suddenly develop esophageal spasms often seek medical attention because the pain can feel very much like a heart attack. This is the safest way to deal with heartburn radiating to jaw pain, however. Skip the heartburn remedies in this situation and head to the hospital.