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... and I only have only one wisdom tooth (still in place) so that isn't it. I agree that it is salvitory gland related.


I've had this problem all my (drinking) life. Mostly it is with tequila, but tonight I got it for the first time with very cold beer. Wonder if it is the cold plus the alcohol.

I could also be slightly dehydrated tonight.

I've never gotten these symptoms with other kinds of alcohol - it's very bizarre...


I've had this happen all my life, too. And, yes, it is nice to see that I am not alone.

The only time that it happens to me is when I drink just one or two alcoholic drinks, slowly. It does not matter what I drink; rather, it only happens if I drink just one or two. I would also argue against the dehydration theories put forth here. I drink an abundance of water every day (6 to 8 liters), and never any soda or diet drinks.

Nevertheless, in my case, I will admit that I tend to over-drink, and usually do not sip or drink slowly. In fact, I have always felt ashamed of this pain. Convinced that since it ONLY happens when I sip, it was proof-positive that I must be an alcoholic. If I rather assertively drain the first couple of drinks -- whether they be beer, wine, mixed drinks, etc. -- I never feel this pain.

When I do nurse a drink, however, I notice it IMMEDIATELY. And by immediately, I mean instantaneously! There could not possibly be time for the ETOH or accompanying impurities, such as tannins to absorb into my system, causing some sort of "allergic" reaction to take place. Likewise, I don't believe it could be a blockage of the saliva gland, as some have suggested. (The suggestion of Hodgkin's or lymphoma is simply ridiculous. As the old med-school adage goes, "When you hear the sound of hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.")

The problem is obviously connected to the parotid gland. Other posters are right, Google the perotid gland and see if it isn't exactly where the pain occurs. Right where the mandible joins the skull, just below the ear. (The closest lymph nodes, by the way, are the sub-mandibular, and they are more in the throat, towards the base of the tongue. Besides, lymph pain after consumption of alcohol is a rare symptom of lymphoma, and is not restricted to the region of the jaw.)

I offer the following alternative hypothesis: What if the pain were caused by alcohol actually entering the parotid duct, also known as the Stensen's duct, and reaching the perotid gland itself? This would be like pouring alcohol directly onto a raw nerve.

The Stensen's duct is the large saliva duct that enters the mouth just inside the 2nd lower molar. If you tuck your tongue down inside your mouth, and about as far back as it will go, you will find a pocket just inside of your rear molars. (If you ever learned to "gleek" while in grade school, these are the same ducts that will shoot steams of saliva across the room as you touch the bottom of the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and squeeze.)

As you take a sip of beer, wine, scotch, etc., the drink would naturally flow to the base of your mouth under your tongue, to the pocket where the Stensen's duct enters your mouth. If your mouth were dry (which is NOT the same thing as being dehydrated), these large ducts could be dilated. If the alcohol were to flow into the ducts and reach the parotid gland itself, it would surely hurt like hell.

This same explanation would make sense for the many people who describe the same pain when drinking acidic drinks, such as lemonade or margaritas.

Drinking water before alcohol would moisten and close the ducts, and drinking water after it began to hurt would serve to flush out the ducts/glands. Drinking booze hard and fast, as I am prone to do, might flood the duct area, cutting off the path to the gland itself. I also probably salivate in anticipation of that first chug.

The pain described here has also been described as similar to the sensation experienced when one blows up too many balloons. Could air, perhaps, back up in to the same ducts when blowing up a balloon? Air on the nerves of a gland would act as a similar irritant.

It is interesting to note that the facial nerve (CN VII) runs directly through the parotid gland, and several other nerves (the CN IX and V3) either run in close proximity to, or are sympathetic to the parotid gland. This could explain the wider-spread area of pain felt by some people.


This topic is being closed due to having too many posts.

Please continue posting within the following one: Pain/cramp in jaw bone esp. after drinking alcohol