September 30th, 2010
01:16 PM ET

What might cause tongue pain?

As a feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors answer readers' questions. Here's a question for Dr. Gupta.

From Anna, Washington, D.C.

“Is it possible to sprain/strain your tongue? I get shooting pains in my tongue. What can I take to stop the pain?"


Anna, thank you for your question. We consulted Dr. Steven M. Roser of Emory University School of Medicine’s division of oral and maxillofacial surgery and a professor of oral surgery. Roser has been in  practice for more than 20 years and said  he has never made the diagnosis of a sprained or strained tongue.

The tongue is one of the strongest and most robust muscles in the body, pound for pound, when you compare it with other muscles. We use our tongues almost constantly for talking, eating, and swallowing.  Rosen noted that, as with any other muscle,  overuse injuries are possible.

But as a medical professional, Rosen said,  if a patient came to him complaining of tongue pain, he would ask questions to rule out other, more common problems first.  He stressed the importance of seeing a dentist, oral surgeon or medical professional who can conduct an examination and  ask more questions about the pain.

The first thing a medical professional will do is try to get a better description of the type of pain you are experiencing:  Is it a sharp pain?  Where does it originate from or travel to? Is the pain constant or intermittent? How long have you had the pain? Have you taken anything to relieve the pain? Is it on both sides of your tongue?

Some of the possible causes for the pain include nerve-related problems. If the pain has existed for several years and you experience it when you are sitting still, it could be trigeminal neuralgia, which is a chronic painful condition that involves the nerve that carries sensation from your face to your brain. For trigeminal neuralgia, there is evidence that the nerve, which passes through base of the skull, is compressed by blood vessels or something that pushes on the nerve and causes pain. The pain is usually triggered by a stimulus– even a simple gesture like brushing your hand against your face can cause searing pain. Doctors can often relieve the pain with medication, injections or surgery.

If the pain is centered at the back of the tongue and involves the back of the nose and throat, and the ear, it might be glossopharyngeal neuralgia. The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but it’s believed to be tied to irritation of the ninth cranial nerve and may be the result of a viral illness such as shingles or herpes. Swallowing and speech can cause shooting types of pains.

If the pain has existed for only a few weeks, your doctor will thoroughly examine your tongue, mouth and throat for any evidence of lesions that might be evidence of oral cancer. Often you can’t see areas that have an ulcer, so your medical professional will most likely use a mirror to view areas behind the tongue and in the throat. Oral cancer has high rates of treatment success when caught early.

A sprain or strain of the tongue is probably the least likely cause of your pain. It’s important to see a medical professional who can ask specific questions about your tongue pain, thoroughly examine you, and assess whether you need treatment for the pain.

soundoff (2,288 Responses)
  1. pat mazza

    I used to be able to find good information from your blog articles.

    May 4, 2021 at 08:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Hairstyles Trends

    Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice at the same time as you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a weblog site? The account helped me a appropriate deal. I have been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered brilliant transparent idea


    May 4, 2021 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Batteries Orange County

    Hi there! I just would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for the great information you've got here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.


    May 4, 2021 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. truck window repair

    Good information. Lucky me I ran across your blog by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!


    May 4, 2021 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. peterbilt semi truck

    Having read this I believed it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 4, 2021 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Shower Riverside

    Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful post. Thanks for supplying this info.


    May 4, 2021 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. priligy

    priligy 30 mg priligy 90 mg

    May 4, 2021 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. aika online private server download


    May 4, 2021 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Keratoconus Specialist Near Me


    May 5, 2021 at 00:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. semi truck repair shop near me

    Hi, I do think this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may return yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    May 5, 2021 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. commercial vehicle maintenance

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Very well written!


    May 5, 2021 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Optometrist Phoenix

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I truly thought you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.


    May 5, 2021 at 06:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Eye Care Near Me


    May 5, 2021 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. health group near me


    May 5, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. purpose group


    May 5, 2021 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Vision


    May 5, 2021 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. international hx


    May 5, 2021 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Http://

    Please let me know if you're looking for a article author for your site.
    You have some really great articles and I think
    I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the
    load off, I'd absolutely love to write some material for
    your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me
    an e-mail if interested. Thanks!

    May 5, 2021 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. dapoxetine

    buy priligy online dapoxetine for sale

    May 5, 2021 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. takeout near me

    I want to to thank you for this very good read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you bookmarked to check out new things you post…


    May 5, 2021 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. planned parenthood near me


    May 5, 2021 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. hino 268


    May 5, 2021 at 20:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. truck suspension near me

    It’s nearly impossible to find educated people in this particular topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 5, 2021 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. RV Kitchen Los Angeles

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this article plus the rest of the website is really good.


    May 5, 2021 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. international flatbed truck

    Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    May 6, 2021 at 00:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. messages

    My brother sugested I would possibly like this blog.
    He was entiresly right. This poszt actually made my day.

    You cann't believe just hoow much time I had spent for this info!
    Thank you!

    May 6, 2021 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Tires California


    May 6, 2021 at 01:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. phenylpropanolamine cats

    Magnificent site. A lot of helpful information here. I'm sending it to some buddies ans additionally sharing in delicious.

    And obviously, thank you in your effort!

    May 6, 2021 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. semu truck repair near me


    May 6, 2021 at 02:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. truck rear end repair near me


    May 6, 2021 at 04:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. health coach near me

    Your style is really unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this site.


    May 6, 2021 at 05:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. marketing training near me

    You are so interesting! I do not suppose I have read anything like this before. So good to find another person with a few original thoughts on this topic. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the web, someone with some originality!


    May 6, 2021 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. chase orange county


    May 6, 2021 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Optometrists Near Me

    Hello! I simply wish to offer you a big thumbs up for your great information you've got right here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.


    May 6, 2021 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. confidence training near me

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post plus the rest of the site is also really good.


    May 6, 2021 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. financial coach

    I'm very happy to find this great site. I need to to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every little bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to see new things in your site.


    May 6, 2021 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. dollar store near me


    May 6, 2021 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. rapid covid test near me

    This is the perfect webpage for everyone who wishes to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a topic that has been discussed for many years. Great stuff, just great!


    May 6, 2021 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. smoke shop arlington tx

    Merchant Accounts For Trực Tuyến Smoke Shops|Best Trực Tuyến Headshop 2021|#1 Online Headshop|Zerona Smoke Shop|Denver's Premier Smoke Cửa Hàng water pipe burst điện thoại thông minh app, you can find everything you need to know on the #DopeBoo blog. The problem with most trực tuyến head shops is they’re only the middlemen for other sellers. Everything you see here is from a genuine online smoke cửa hàng staffed by a professional team of experts who use the same products you do.|We've made the world's best smoke shop with only the best bongs, vapes, and dab rigs. They all of the new and hottest brands, our new favorite being Mathematix Glass. They stock a long list of American made glass and offer không lấy phí U.S. shipping on all products. Another plus is that their hassle-không tính phí returns and customer service are remarkable.


    May 6, 2021 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. commercial truck painting near me


    May 6, 2021 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. paint shops near my location


    May 6, 2021 at 17:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Forklift Tires Orange County


    May 6, 2021 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Liquors Stores

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the issues. It was definitely informative. Your site is useful. Thanks for sharing!


    May 6, 2021 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Forklift Repair

    This site was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Thanks a lot!


    May 6, 2021 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Kegs Of Beer Prices

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually believe that this amazing site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the advice!


    May 6, 2021 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Forklift Cylinders California

    This site definitely has all of the information I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 6, 2021 at 22:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. caucasian

    Hello! Thіs is my firѕt visit to your blog!
    We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same nicһe.
    Your blog provided us useful informati᧐n to wߋrk on. You have done a outstanding job!

    May 7, 2021 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. chinese near me


    May 7, 2021 at 04:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Forklift Service California

    After looking over a handful of the blog articles on your web site, I really appreciate your way of writing a blog. I book marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site as well and tell me your opinion.


    May 7, 2021 at 05:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. chloroquine for malaria

    is chloroquine phosphate the same as hydroxychloroquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ who chloroquine

    May 7, 2021 at 06:02 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46

Leave a Reply to Norwegia Portal


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.