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. 우리카지노

    My family members always say that I am wasting my
    time here at net, however I know I am getting familiarity daily by reading such fastidious articles or reviews.

    my blog ... 우리카지노

    May 31, 2021 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Web Site

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!


    May 31, 2021 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV And Trailer Repair Near Me

    I was more than happy to uncover this site. I wanted to thank you for your time just for this fantastic read!! I definitely liked every little bit of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to see new things on your website.


    May 31, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 2006 Sprinter Fuel Pump Repair


    May 31, 2021 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. xem bong da

    cùng với tâm điểm là màn so tài thân Man City vs Chelsea.|Giấy phép thông tin điện tử số 2526/GP-TTĐT do Sở Thông tin và Truyền thông Hà Nội Thủ Đô cấp cho. Thủ môn Alisson đã rơi nước đôi mắt sau Khi làm bàn thắng ra quyết định cho Liverpool trước West Brom để nuôi Liverpool mong muốn top 4 Ngoại hạng Anh. VTV.vn – Vào 23h00 tối nay, Wolfsburg sẽ tiếp đón Bayer Leverkusen trong khuôn khổ vòng đấu đầu tiên của Bundesliga. HLV Tan Cheng Hoe mang đến biết, ông ko quan lại tâm đến đến tác dụng đối cùng với tuyển Malaysia trong cuộc tranh vé đi tiếp ở bảng


    May 31, 2021 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Limo Van Repair Shop

    I blog quite often and I really appreciate your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I am going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new details about once a week. I opted in for your Feed as well.


    May 31, 2021 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jet Van Repair

    I blog often and I truly thank you for your information. This article has really peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.


    May 31, 2021 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Glass Repair Near Me


    June 1, 2021 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. 2006 Mercedes Sprinter 2500 Turbo Actuator Repair

    May I simply say what a comfort to discover an individual who actually knows what they're discussing on the web. You definitely know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to read this and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you are not more popular because you surely have the gift.


    June 1, 2021 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Water Repair Man Near Me


    June 1, 2021 at 08:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Service Van Repair Shop Near Me

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a really good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.


    June 1, 2021 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. loudoun criminal lawyer

    Yes! Finally something about loudoun criminal lawyer.

    June 1, 2021 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. rv parts los angeles

    I quite like looking through an article that can make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!


    June 1, 2021 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv furniture southern california

    A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I believe that you ought to write more on this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people don't talk about these issues. To the next! All the best!!


    June 1, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. auto paint supply orange county

    Very good article! We are linking to this particularly great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.


    June 1, 2021 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. couches orange county

    Can I just say what a relief to find somebody that genuinely knows what they are discussing over the internet. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you aren't more popular because you most certainly have the gift.


    June 1, 2021 at 13:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Lana Mozick

    May I simply just say what a relief to uncover an individual who really knows what they are talking about on the internet. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people need to check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.


    June 1, 2021 at 15:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Jenny Driggers


    June 1, 2021 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Mauro Eversole

    Good day! I simply want to offer you a huge thumbs up for the great info you have got right here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.


    June 1, 2021 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Thuy Moffet

    This page truly has all of the information I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    June 1, 2021 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. horse trailer awning installation

    May I simply just say what a comfort to discover an individual who actually knows what they're discussing on the net. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people must read this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you are not more popular since you surely possess the gift.


    June 1, 2021 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. socal upholstery

    This page certainly has all of the information and facts I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    June 1, 2021 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Willene Skowron


    June 2, 2021 at 02:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sprinter Van Technician Shop


    June 2, 2021 at 04:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Gladys Gilomen

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


    June 2, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Leisure Travel Van Repair Shop


    June 2, 2021 at 07:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Business Van Repair Shop Near Me


    June 2, 2021 at 10:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Brooks Toczek

    An intriguing discussion is definitely worth comment. I think that you need to write more on this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people don't speak about these issues. To the next! Best wishes!!


    June 2, 2021 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Sherwood Konarik


    June 2, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. progressive photo inspection near me


    June 2, 2021 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. 메이저놀이터

    Wonderful work! That is the type of information that are supposed to be shared across the web.
    Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this submit upper!
    Come on over and seek advice from my website . Thanks

    June 2, 2021 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv remodeling companies


    June 2, 2021 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. camera repair california

    Good info. Lucky me I found your website by accident (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!


    June 2, 2021 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Rey Yancey

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the greatest blogs on the net. I'm going to recommend this web site!


    June 2, 2021 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. High Exposure To Nicotine Among Adolescents Who Use Juul And Other Vape Pod Systems ('Pods').

    Why Are Nicotine Salts So Much Better


    June 2, 2021 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Social Media Marketing Agencies


    June 2, 2021 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Norman Mctier

    May I simply just say what a comfort to find somebody that really understands what they're discussing over the internet. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people must read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you aren't more popular because you surely have the gift.


    June 2, 2021 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Xavier Yzquierdo


    June 2, 2021 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Florrie Vielle


    June 2, 2021 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Lavina Katzenberger

    This excellent website really has all the info I needed about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    June 3, 2021 at 00:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. fiberglass near me

    This is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 3, 2021 at 02:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. rv furniture california

    Good post. I am experiencing some of these issues as well..


    June 3, 2021 at 02:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Dashboard Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 03:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Local Marketing Services


    June 3, 2021 at 03:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Sprinter Van Repair In Huntington Beach

    Can I just say what a relief to find somebody that genuinely understands what they are talking about online. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people ought to check this out and understand this side of the story. I can't believe you aren't more popular because you most certainly possess the gift.


    June 3, 2021 at 05:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. SEO Marketing Specialist

    I really like it when people come together and share thoughts. Great site, keep it up!


    June 3, 2021 at 05:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Internet Marketing Consultant


    June 3, 2021 at 06:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Chevy Express Van Repair


    June 3, 2021 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Social Media Marketing Services Near Me


    June 3, 2021 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Social Media Marketing Business


    June 3, 2021 at 08:53 | 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 Best Private Proxies


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.