Does more frequent and longer lasting jaw pain mean a blockage is worsening?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 01, 2009
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother is indicating that her jaw pain is becoming more frequent and lasting longer instead of a piercing jaw pain that she had at the beginning. She is 92 and does use Nitro for the piercing pain. Is this a symptom that the blockage is getting more severe?

Expert Answers

James Frank is Assistant Professor of Medicine and Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the V.A. Medical Center in San Francisco.

One thing that this question brings up is that angina isn't always chest pain. And it's more common for women especially to have atypical presentations of angina, and jaw pain is one of those. If jaw pain is how your mother's angina presents and it's getting worse, then it's absolutely an indication that her blockage is getting more severe.

What to do about that is a different question. Since I don't know your mother's case, I can't really give advice. But in general, therapy could just be additional medical therapy, adjustment of her medications, or an intervention. But her pain is an indication that her blockage is worse and it needs to be evaluated. She definitely needs to talk to her doctor about this.