There is nothing like running on a fall day to clear your head and keep yourself healthy. Although sometimes there is some pain that comes with driving your body to the limit. Both of our Dr. Collins are triathlon runners and are well aware some of the issues that arise while on a long run. What should you do when it is your jaw, and not your legs that are in pain?

two young adults running along trail outsideIt Could Be Serious

It is extremely important to listen to your body when you notice any kind of pain, especially when it is coming from an irregular place. Sometimes pain is just part of pushing yourself to the limit as a runner, but sometimes it’s a sign of serious problems.

Due to the phenomenon called referred pain, you could be feeling pain in your jaw when it is actually coming from your heart, and yes you read that correctly. Because pain signals between your jaw and your heart travel on the same nerve, your brain may incorrectly attribute pain to your jaw, where such sensations are more commonplace. A visit to your doctor is recommended to pinpoint if this is indeed the issue as it could be life-threatening.


If your heart is in the clear and the problem still persists, then you may want to visit your dentist instead as you could be dealing with temporomandibular joint disorder, more commonly known as TMJ. TMJ is caused by nerve damage along the temporomandibular joint which can also cause migraines and back pain. Since running has a high level of impact on your body, this shock can cause the TMJ joint to become painful and swollen.

…Or You Could Be Just Cold!

If TMJ and your heart are not the culprits then it could be that your ears are just cold! Cold air can enter your ears and cause the tissues of your jaw joints to become chilled which leads to discomfort. Be sure to dress appropriately for the season!

Consider Your Spokane Dentist

While we cannot treat heart conditions, please consider a licensed TMJ dentist if you suspect that TMJ is the reason for your pain. Both of our Dr. Collins are very familiar with the condition and with their background in running they can help cater your needs to your athletic lifestyle. Fine tuning your jaw muscles can improve the overall health of your body, which can help improve your comfort when running—and your time!

If you would like to schedule an appointment with Collins Dentistry and Aesthetics in Spokane, please call (509) 532-1111 today.