How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Julia Kizhner Your Own Question
Julia Kizhner
Julia Kizhner, Physician Assistant
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1126
Experience:  7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss
Type Your Health Question Here...
Julia Kizhner is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I keep getting a shooting pain on the left side of my face.

Resolved Question:

I keep getting a shooting pain on the left side of my face. It radiates up my cheek to the top of my cheek bone. If I press under my cheek bone, it fees very tender. If I put one finger inside my cheek and the other on the outside and gently squeeze, it feels tender and almost as if there is a knot in my cheek (not a solid bump). What could this be?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 7 years ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

Could you please tell me how long you have been experiencing these symptoms and if you have any associated symptoms such as increased saliva, fever, ear pain?



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

i have once in a while experienced the shooting pain, but not often..(maybe 4 or 5 times over the past year), but none of the tenderness. There is no increased saliva, fever, or ear pain. My jaw has been locking up once in a while throughout the day, but it does not hurt when I eat.

Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for your reply.

The most likely cause of your symptoms (development of this tender knot) is a blocked Salivary Gland.

There are 3 sets of salivary glands...the largest one is right in front of the ear (called parotid gland), the 2 smaller ones, called 'sublingual glands' and 'submandibular glands', lie deep in the floor of the mouth. All of the glands produce saliva.

It is most likely that the gland that got blocked is the one called "submandibular gland". It is located on the outer side underneath the tongue. The most common cause of gland blockage is formation of a tiny stone. Stone blocks the outlet of saliva causing the gland to swell up and get inflamed (and sometimes infected).

There is no danger in this condition other then discomfort, however, the stone does need to be removed to alleviate symptoms.

I would suggest that you make an appointment to see your dentist. A dentist would be the best specialist to have your symptoms looked at and treated.

I hope you find this information helpful. If you need any clarification or have any additional questions, please let me know and I will be glad to assist you further.

If you are satisfied with your answer, please click the green "ACCEPT" button, otherwise your deposit stays with JustAnswer and I do not get compensated for my work.

Best wishes,


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

what causes a stone to develop? i don't have any pain under my tongue or in that area - so how could it affect my cheek all the way up to the cheek bone area?

Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 7 years ago.

I would like to clarify something...this tenderness and the knot, are they new? If so, when did they start? If you look at yourself in the mirror, does it look like there is some swelling over the left cheek?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
they are new...they started yesterday. there is not any swelling over my left cheek.
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 7 years ago.

Most likely your symptoms are caused by the blocked duct. Stones can form because of the natural salt that is found in the saliva and they are quite common.

In your case, the blockage is in either the submandibular gland or the parotid gland. Actually the blockage is most likely not inside the gland itself but rather in the duct that drains the gland. Parotid gland is quite large, it spans almost the entire cheek. Its duct is located right in the middle of the cheek. It is most likely that the duct of the parotid gland is blocked.

Again, when the blockage occurs, it causes swelling and pain. It can progress into further swelling and infection if not removed.

Below is a link to a picture where you can see the location of the 3 glands. The largest on is the parotid gland. The one right underneath it is the submandibular gland. It is kind of located in the cheek but closer to the lateral surface of the tongue.

If your symptoms dont resolve overnight, I would suggest seeing your dentist. You might want to appy a cold pack to your cheek. That can decrease some the of the swelling.

Hope this provides you with more clarification. Please let me know if you have any other questions.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
if there is no swelling (which there is not) could this still be the is pretty tender and sore even without touching, but not really swollen?
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 7 years ago.

If this is an early blockage which has not yet caused a back up of saliva to the actual gland, you may not see the swelling of the actual gland. Initially just the duct gets tender and swollen, later it can spread into the gland.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
will cold compresses fix the problem?
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 7 years ago.

Cold packs can decrease swelling and a stone may pass on it own. You can also take Ibuprofen or Advil to alleviate the pain and swelling. Usually, though, the stone is removed either by properly massaging the duct where it is stuck (should be done by a dentist) or if that is not successful, then a tiny thin wire is inserted into the duct and the stone is removed.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
do you think the spasms and tenderness could be caused by trigeminal neuralgia?
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 7 years ago.

There is a possibility that the shooting pain that you have described which happens periodically on the left side of the face be related trigeminal neuralgia.

However, the tender knot in your cheek is not related to trigeminal neuralgia. That I would still be more likely to be a blocked duct then anything else.


Julia Kizhner and other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
thanks for your help...the first sign of any type of lump and I start thinking cancer...but the knot is moveable, so it is probably just the blocked duct you mentioned..thanks again
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 7 years ago.

You are too young for cancer although it is the most common thing everyone diagnosis themselves with (even medical students ).

A cancer lump is usually never painful, very irregular, and not movable.

I would love to hear back from you once you see a dentist. Let me know what you find out.