Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why does the back of my tongue hurt?"
I have pain in my tongue. It is in the back where my throat starts. What is causing this tongue pain? Is something wrong with my throat and it is making my tongue hurt?
Pain in the back of the throat can come from innumerable causes, most of which are self limited and do not require visiting a physician. If your sore tongue is getting worse, making it difficult to breath, causing severe pain, persistent, or making it hard to move your tongue, you should see your doctor more quickly. For most simple problems, your primary care doctor can triage the issue quickly and refer you as needed. In severe cases, it may be necessary to see an otolaryngology - head and neck surgeon (aka ENT) to help diagnose and evaluate your problem. As the base of the tongue is sometimes difficult to see with the eye, an ENT will often use either a mirror or a small camera to determine what is causing the pain. While most causes are simple and go away with time, the vast number of causes that require treatment is a good reason to see your doctor if your problem does not go away or gets worse. While trauma and simple infections are common causes, there are some infections that require antibiotics or antifungals to resolve, as well as occassional masses that may need further evaluation. Please speak to your doctor.
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