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Sharp pain around the jaw after alcohol consumption

For about 2 years now, I have noticed that after a glass of wine I experience a sharp pain around my jaw. I've had this sensation before whenever I eat a citris or sour fruit, however, lately after consuming any alcohol such as beer, wine, and margaritas, etc., I get this sharp, excruciating pain after just one glass. It hurts so badly, especially if I drink water. The moment the H2O hits the jaw part of my inner mouth, a burning sensation immediately follows. Now, here's the strange part, if I drink another glass of alcohol the pain will subside instantly. The pain will still return but will not be as painful as the prior time. I have read about Lymphoma, and I cannot say that I experience this pain any where else in my body, and I don't seem to experience any of the other symptoms. I'd appreciate any input in helping me come up with a solution for this. Someone told me that the solution was to either drink plenty or nothing at all in order to avoid this... ha ha. Anyway, one more thing... I don't think I have this problem with mixed drinks containing sodas and liquor.
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Avatar universal
This chain is the best thing that has happened to me in the last 5 years, which is exactly the time I've suffered from this. The first time it happened, I was having red wine while eating some grilled meat (I was 25). From the get go, I suspected it was something unusual and possibly serious, since I associated it with the parotid glands and thought nothing "benign" could come of it. Since I couldn't get a straight answer from any relative or friend -they look oddly at me to this date- I went to the Internet looking for answers and it only got worse since I got all types of explanations, many of them cancer-related. I was so scared I had a panic attack. After that, I mustered some courage and went to an MD... no straight answer. At that point, a couple of years later, I started to forget it, but each time it happened, I got scared *hitless nevertheless. So I went to an endocrinologist... she didn't take it seriously... she didn't even charge me for the appointment. She said it was some sort of allergic reaction and that was the end of it. Then, a few months later, I tried another doctor. He ran some general tests, ruled out anything serious but still, didn't give me any clear answer, much less a solution. So... anyway. Yesterday, it happened again. Some Lambrusco and anisette triggered it this time so instead of googleing "parotid pain" I went for "face pain" or "jaw" and came across this forum which has shed more light on the subject than 5 years of clueless specialists.
It is such a redeeming relief knowing I am not alone... at this point my parents believe I am completely nuts. I know now I am not.
What happens to me is that after drinking some red wine or beer -perhaps 5 to 10 minutes- I get this needle sensation behind my jaw, under the ears (both sides). I've tried water... as many of us have... only got worse. What I do is just wait it out; not speak, no nothing for about 10 minutes and then it goes away.
I've found a relation with grilled food. It happens more easily if I have a dry mouth at the moment also... and I believe food in general happens to make it more likely. It hasn't happened every time. Actually I've gotten drunk XD a few times during these years without suffering from it at all but with food, it is more likely. Gonna try a dentist next or allergologist, when I get a chance, but God knows I am so relieved now. Thank you guys.
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
I get this too...shooting pain behind my ears down my jaw after drinking beer or wine, I just asked my dentist about it to see what he would have to offer me as a solution.  I thought that it seemed odd since its similar to the tastebud pain after you eat something sour but my pain lasts for over 20 min and has gotton progressively worse, but only when i drink alcohol. But, It sounds like this may be a common thing, maybe some sort of reaction from the tastebuds. He was thinking it may be a neurological pain...hmmmm so we will see what he suggests.
Helpful - 1
Avatar universal
I quit smoking and this, have not been drinking my preferred red wine (or any alcohol, as I didn’t want to smoke!). Just poured my first glass of red wine, immediate sharp pain in my back jaw and under my ear, even the inside of my ears started to itch! I was like, what in the world???? It went away, had another sip. Same thing. Every single sip is resulting in this (as we speak). I’ve often wondered if I’m allergic to wine because I flush, etc (don’t with other alcohol). When I did paleo for 30 days, the first time I had gluten I got hives! I think it’s an allergic reaction.
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Avatar universal
I believe that the jaw pain after drinking alcohol may be related to sensitivity to histamine.

The drinks and foods that are mentioned in this thread and are high in histamine are:

- Wine (especially red)
- Beer
- Shortbread
- Yogurt
- Sauerkraut
- Pickles
- Vinegar
- Sour foods (citrus fruits, sour cream)
- Aged cheese

Other foods high in histamine:
- Cured meats
- Smoked fish
- Avocado
- Tomato

Beer and wine are high in histamine and alcohol can trigger the release of histamine in the body. Alcohol also stimulates the release of saliva from the parotid gland and temporarily constricts (along with histamine) the duct of the same gland.

You can search online for "histamine sensitivity," and histamine intolerance."
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Avatar universal
I am so happy to have stumbled across this thread! Of course, not necessarily happy that many seem to suffer this same strange sensation. I have gone BATTY trying to figure this out. It started happening about 6 months ago, I would get this weird radiating pain from the back of my lower jaw toward my canine cuspid (that's where the pain like "strikes"). It happened only occasionally when swallowing random foods .. namely breads, spicy foods, pastas, rice, yogurt, sometimes a granola bar, and then all of the sudden - beer. Does anyone else experience this with foods as well?
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Avatar universal
Your description of whatever this is sounds the most like mine, 9 months ago it came on out of no where, the pain so severe my husband had to get me home right then, I took a pain pill [I hate pain pills} out of desperation, It took at least an hour to help me relax. Dentist, oral surgeon not a tooth. MRI, and a nuerologist  not the Trigeminal nerve but she thinks a nerve of some kind, so anti-sezure medication did not work, then Nortriptaline
weaning off of this to start another... I am a Crown Royal with a splash of diet pepsi for years this is my drink, I have also had an episode with beer, wine, vodka etc... usually 1 to up to 4 hours later it happens the pain is so severe I talk to myself about going to the ER for help, when I have not had any alcohol I do not ever get this...The pain can last up to 2 hours before I get it under control. I walk my Lab 3 miles everyday and go to Pilates at least twice a week so I'm being as healthy as a normal person can. I'm a hair stylist and a client gave me this link while researching this for I feel so much better to know we are not alone!! Lori
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Your description of whatever this is sounds the most like mine, 9 months ago it came on out of no where, the pain so severe my husband had to get me home right then, I took a pain pill [I hate pain pills} out of desperation, It took at least an hour to help me relax. Dentist, oral surgeon not a tooth. MRI, and a nuerologist  not the Trigeminal nerve but she thinks a nerve of some kind, so anti-sezure medication did not work, then Nortriptaline weaning off of this to start another... I am a Crown Royal with a splash of diet pepsi for years this is my drink, I have also had an episode with beer, wine, vodka etc... usually 1 to up to 4 hours later it happens the pain is so severe I talk to myself about going to the ER for help, when I have not had any alcohol I do not ever get this...The pain can last up to 2 hours before I get it under control. I walk my Lab 3 miles everyday and go to Pilates at least twice a week so I'm being as healthy as a normal person can. I'm a hair stylist and a client gave me this link while researching this for I feel so much better to know we are not alone!! Lori
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Yes I have this same problem. Did you ever get it figured out?
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Avatar universal
First bite syndrome, following surgery. Mine was a late teens tonsillectomy. On a search to find a margarita that doesn't trigger it.
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Avatar universal
Mine goes away after the first glass as well and is gone by 10 minutes or so. Usually it's only when I have wine but right now it is happening after having Sierra Mist with Pinnacle coconut vodka and Smirnoff raspberry vodka in it. So strange and hurts like a MOTHER for those few minutes!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I have had this for years—I find it is related to alcohol and salty foods. When I drank beer (mostly stout, which I stopped years ago due to allergies [processed with dairy, etc.]) I used to have it with a bag of chips before heading home from University, and my jaw/lower ears would burn and burn, a sharp piercing burn.

I now get it less often, but just had a vodka on the rocks with some veggie sushi. Of course I dipped in soy sauce—salty! As a result excruciating pain below both my ears and behind the jaw. Only just subsiding. I wish we knew what causes it.
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Avatar universal
I've always had pain in my 'gills' (sharp pain below my ears, down the side of my neck) when I drink white spirits (particularly gin), beer, tonic water etc, so I now just avoid them. I've met one other person in real life who gets this, so I'd suspected there must be more people out there too!
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Avatar universal
My symptoms are a bit of a twist here... First off, they are slightly different for wine than for spirits. For wine, the problem presents itself after consuming whites or certain varietals of red - most notably from Italy or Spain. (I have had fewer problems with California reds.) I get massive sinus congestion, pressure headaches, and a stiff jaw. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a clenched jaw, occasionally misaligned with the bottom protruding out further than the top. It's bizarre and only happens in my sleep. I drink only top shelf spirits, but seem to have a problem with scotch or rye whiskey. Typically, they will produce more of a rattling head ache - sometimes just after a few sips. But then too I can become highly congested.

Recently, the headaches of take on new territory. I now get a very stiff neck every evening (even after good wine), and significant pain in the upper back are of my neck, just below the skull. It's awful.

Separately, I've had significant issues with gastrointestinal pain, pressure and gas (during sleep). Even sitting in a car feels uncomfortable in the upper gastro region - near the pancreas, gallbladder, et al. I've had these checked out, and everything came out A-okay. Docs haven't a clue. EdwardRe's repost of commentary from Amollette89 makes me think it's possible all of these symptoms are related. #help
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1 Comments
Have you checked for a wheat gluten allergy? I suffered for most of my young adult life with major gastro intestinal problems, headaches, runny nose, fatigue and skin rashes. I discovered I have borderline celiac disease. Whisky (Scottish whisky made from barley) and rye are the worst alcohols for me-- both barley and rye contain gluten. It might be worth checking into.
Avatar universal
The bitterness and astringency of tannins cause a rapid increase in saliva secretion from the salivary glands, according to “Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine.” The main salivary glands in your mouth are the parotid glands, the submandibular glands and the sublingual glands. The parotids are the largest salivary glands and they are located directly over the hinges of the jaw, also called temporomandibular joints. Sudden stimulation of the parotid glands, either by ingesting tannins or from a cold draft, can lead to painful sensations and jaw muscle contraction or spasm. Jaw pain from consumption of tannins is usually mild to moderate in intensity and short-lasting. A similar phenomenon is experienced with drinking fresh, unsweetened lemon juice.
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Avatar universal
I'm also allergic to tree nuts (almonds and hazelnuts) and I also get this pain from wine. Frequently white wine, only sometimes red. If a diagnosis is made I'd be thrilled to hear what it is as I often have to pour out a good glass of wine!!
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Avatar universal
You're absolutely right, Vitamin C will give almost immediate relief (have tried several times, always works).  No need to suffer ;-)  Would be interesting to know what causes the pain/cramping effect, biochemically, though!
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Avatar universal
I have had this same problem for a bout 20 years. It feels like intense pins and needles. When it's happening, it worsens if I swallow of yawn. Anyone else? It doesn't happen to me just from drinking wine, but if I drink wine along with food that acidic, like pickles or anything with vinegar, that's when its the worst! I'm curious to hear if anyone else has experienced this and relates to the food/wine combo.
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Avatar universal
I have had this same problem for a bout 20 years. It feels like intense pins and needles. When it's happening, it worsens if I swallow of yawn. Anyone else? It doesn't happen to me just from drinking wine, but if I drink wine along with food that acidic, like pickles or anything with vinegar, that's when its the worst! I'm curious to hear if anyone else has experienced this and relates to the food/wine combo.
Helpful - 0
14688142 tn?1435892076
I get the horrid intense pinching pain between the ear lobes and corner of the jaw when eat any kind of food after having any kind of alcohol.  If I drink after I eat the symptoms occur but less intense.  I'm going to research what someone else here said about "ectopic pancreatitis".
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14688142 tn?1435892076
Strawberries are a natural source of salicylic acid, which causes some people the symptoms.  Search this thread for salicylic acid.
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Avatar universal
For me its not so much as a pain, as much as it feels like electic shocks on nerve endingat the joint of my jaw bone near my ears. I normally experience this when I drink wine coolers.so I dont anymore. Now it happens occasionally when I just have an alcoholic beverage.  So what is it called?
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Avatar universal
I have experienced such pain twice in my life. First time there was no alcohol involved at all. I was hiking at the mountain and I took too little water with me. I was hiking long time, all day long, 14 hours, and I was dehydrated. When I came home, totally exhausted and dead tired, I drink water (few glasses) took a bath and then set to eat. I was eating different things but when I tasted yogurt, incredible sharp pain hit my throat and all salivary glands. It was like fire, no warning at all! I stopped eating. It took 15 minutes before I tried to taste the food again. Everything on the table was OK, but the yogurt was causing the pain. I repeat, there was no alcohol a day before, no alcohol during the hiking, no alcohol during the dinner. The next day I wake up, still pain in my muscles, and I decided to eat a peach. The sharp pain hit again, but the intense was no so intense. Then after a few days, when my body recovered completely from tiredness, I could eat yogurt, peaches and everything normally. So, I think this is something with metabolism (in liver, kidney, pancreas, I don’t know, I just guess), clearly, no alcohol involved. Second time, it was alcohol involved. I was having fun, drinking vine brandy and eating salad of raw parsnips, daikon, beetroot, and carrot. I was not drinking water enough, so I was dehydrated. During the night it was OK, but the next morning I wake up exhausted and dead tired. When I tried to eat anything spiced, or crisp, or beer, the same sharp pain hit my throat and all salivary glands. I was drinking alcohol many times before, all kinds, including vine brandy too, but I’ve never experienced something like this. This time, the pain was in all jaw, i.e. in all salivary glands. I was worn out and in pain for 7 days. So, I think, the problem must be more complex than it seems. Maybe, some chemistry in other organs, driven by dehydration, or tiredness influences on body reaction.
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Avatar universal
I’ve had this for 40+ years--so does my sister and so did my dad. Never happens if I drink without eating, but instead is a delayed reaction to the first ounce or two of acidic alcohol (beer, wine, champagne/cava/prosecco, margaritas, tequila sunrises, etc), about 15 min. into or after the accompanying meal. Happens with expensive wines too (even biodynamic ones w/o sulfites). Especially if I’ve gone a few days w/o alcohol, or if it’s been a long time between meals. Has never happened to me at multi-course dinners with wine pairings or on vacation in Europe, where eating & drinking go hand-in-hand at lunch, dinner, and after.  I figure it’s God’s way of telling me I’ve had enough alcohol for the day--I get to enjoy the taste but never drink enough to get buzzed (sounds weird, but I hate getting high). Never lasts long enough to be debilitating (toothaches, labor pains, fractures and back sprains are far worse).
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Avatar universal
Amollette89 Posted a very telling piece of information a few years ago, but it seems to be burried, and many people have not noticed it. I have gone through similar pain for 4 years now, so I thought I would re-post her comment as I found it most helpful among everything here!
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The symptoms you describe here are almost certainly a form of "ectopic" pancreatitis. The cells of the Parotid salivary gland are very similar to those of the pancreas, and they respond to the same stimuli. The pancreas "hates" alcohol. It causes it to swell and leak its own enzymes, particularly amylase and this effectively starts the process of auto digestion. You are digesting your own tissue, hence the pain!! There is no cure and no treatment, just don't drink alcohol. The facial nerve also runs through the parotid gland and when swelling of the Parotid gland is triggered by a stimulus such as alcohol, this swelling can push on the facial nerve causing pain.
The symptoms may lessen if you eat when you drink as then the marjority of the amylase produced by the salivary gland is diverted to the stomach and GI tract to digest the food.
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