Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck are a common problem in many people around the world. Know what causes this condition as well as its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
What Are Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck?
Picture 1 – Swollen Lymph Node in Neck
Source – drugster
These refer to the inflammation or enlargement of lymph nodes located in the neck area that is just below the chin. There are over 600 lymph nodes in the human body. The ones located in the neck get enlarged most frequently.
This disease is also known by many other names like lymphadenitis, swollen glands and swollen nodes. It is also referred to as swollen cervical lymph nodes. The term cervical refers to ‘cervix’ which means ‘neck’.
Chronic enlargement of neck lymph nodes is also known as Lymphadenopathy. When lymph nodes get inflamed in more than one regions of the body, the condition is known as Generalized Lymphadenopathy.
Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck Types
Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck are classified into six types. These are
Anterior Cervical Lymph Nodes
These are located in the frontal area of the neck. These are further classified into deep and superficial nodes.
Posterior Cervical Lymph Nodes
These are situated at the back area of the neck and extend from the middle of the head (mastoid region of the temporal bone) to the collar bone (clavicle). These usually get enlarged when there is an infection of the upper respiratory tract.
Tonsillar Lymph Nodes
These nodes are located just under the jaw bone and drain the back of pharynx as well as the tonsils.
Sub-mandibular Lymph Nodes
These abnormal structures arise along the bottom of the jaw bone and drain the base of the lips, conjunctiva and the tongue. They generally swell due to infections of the neck, eyes, pharynx, ears, head and sinuses.
Sub-mental Lymph Nodes
These lymph nodes are situated just under the chin and drain the base of the mouth, cheek, tongue, teeth and lower lip. These types of nodes arise as a result of toxoplasmosis, dental infections like Periodontitis and Mononucleosis.
Supraclavicular Lymph Nodes
These nodes are seen to arise just above the collar bone (clavicle).
Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck Symptoms
Know about some of the main symptoms of swollen lymph nodes in neck.
Pain in Neck – The neck area feels painful when touched. Pain in neck is the first symptom of this disorder.
Soreness – Patients often experience extreme soreness in the throat.
High Fever – People with enlarged lymph nodes frequently suffer from high body temperatures.
Rash – Sufferers also have rashes arising on various parts of the body.
Redness – There is also redness in the neck area where the lymph nodes have suffered an enlargement.
What Causes Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck?
Some of the main causes of Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck are :
Bacterial Infection – Conditions resulting from a bacterial infection such as Septicemia or Strep throat often lead to swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
Cancer – Cancerous conditions, such as lymphatic cancer, are also responsible for this disease.
Parasitic Infection – Infections caused by parasites are also a cause of Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck.
Autoimmune Diseases – Autoimmune disorders such as HIV infection can also result in this condition.
Some other Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck causes are ear infection, mononucleosis, tuberculosis, tonsillitis, mouth sores, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and skin infections. Skin conditions like impetigo, sebaceous cysts and acne may also be responsible for giving rise to enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. These are also caused by serious disorders like Larynx Cancer, Hodgkin ’s disease, Leukemia and Mouth Cancer.
Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck Diagnosis
The diagnosis of this condition is mainly carried out through observation and physical tests. The enlarged area is touched with hand to check whether there is an inflammation. A total physical examination is performed by doctors and the medical history of the patient is also taken into account to carry out a proper analysis.
Doctors may also ask the patient if he or she is suffering from other symptoms like fever, chills, sore throat, weight loss and fatigue. The sexual activity and a history of the patient’s medications and vaccinations are also analyzed for a proper diagnosis.
Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck Treatment
This condition has no specific treatment. Curing this disease requires treating the underlying disorder. If Lymphoma (lymphatic cancer) is the cause of this disease, treating the malignancy will automatically shrink the enlarged lymph nodes.
If infection is the cause of this disease, treating that infectious condition will make Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck cure possible. If a bacterially infectious disease like strep throat is the cause, doctors are likely to use analgesics (painkillers) like Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen. The dosage of these drugs will depend on the doctor’s prescription. The complete antibiotic course needs to be followed. Patients should not stop the course before time. This will make the course ineffective and the condition is likely to persist.
If sore Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck are accompanied by pain in the ear, an ear infection may be the cause. An ENT specialist should carry out treatment. The treatment of ear infection requires use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are very effective in treatment of Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck. However, these medicines are ineffective if the condition is a result of flu and common cold virus.
Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck Home Remedies
Home treatment for swollen lymph nodes in neck is done by a number of ways. These involve
Saline Water – Add one-fourth teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. Stir the mixture to dissolve salt well into water. Use this mixture to gargle every day. Gargle with this solution for three to five times every day for a week after you begin suffering from irritation and soreness in throat.
Hot Compress – Moisten a clear washcloth with some hot water. Wring out the extra water to make the cloth dry. Place the warm cloth over the enlarged area of your neck. The warmth will help drain out the fluid accumulated in the lymph nodes and reduce tenderness and swelling in the region.
Warm Water – Drink seven to eight glasses of warm water every day. The warmth should be a few degrees more than room temperature. Warm water will flush out toxins from the body and also clear out lymph node fluids.
Rest – If an infection is the cause of swollen glands, giving rest to the body can help tackle the disease. Adequate rest gives power to the body and makes it capable of healing itself. This boosts the immune system and makes it capable of combating infection more effectively.
Vitamin C – Taking Vitamin C supplements can boost the natural immunity of sufferers and make them able to combat infection. If you do not like supplements, you can include foods rich in Vitamin C in your diet. Some Vitamin C-rich foods are cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet red peppers and citrus fruits such as oranges.
Constant Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck
Many people suffer from persistent swollen lymph nodes in neck. In such cases, the lymph nodes remain swollen for a long time. The size of the nodes does not alter and remains the same for a long period of time. This usually happens when a person suffers from some kind of an allergy. A spinal misalignment is also a cause of Chronic swollen lymph nodes in neck. However, enlarged neck lymph nodes that refuse to go away can also be a sign of cancerous conditions such as Lymphoma.
Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck Problems
If left untreated, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck may give rise to many complications. If enlargement is the result of an untreated infection a pus-filled abscess may arise. This may need antibiotic treatment and drainage by incision. The skin under the inflamed lymph node may also suffer an infection.
The lymph node may also become too large in size and squeeze other structures located nearby. This can lead to serious complications. In worse cases, the affected person may become completely incapable for work.
How Long Do Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck Last?
Neck lymph nodes remain firm or swollen long after the underlying infection is cured. This is generally true in case of Swollen Lymph Nodes in children’s Neck. The size of glands in children reduces but remains hard and visible for several weeks even after infection has gone away. Swollen lymph nodes in neck of children are quite common and frequently arise due to common cold. A lymph node in a child is said to be enlarged if its diameter is larger than 1 cm.
Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck Cancer
In some cases, an enlarged lymph node can be a sign of throat cancer. Generally, there are seemingly harmless symptoms during the initial stages of throat cancer. This includes a swollen neck lymph node, painful swallowing, sore throat and a hoarse voice. Ear pain, slurred speech and numbness of facial muscles are some other symptoms of this condition. The symptoms can become persistent if there is a cancer. A patient can have swollen lymph nodes in neck for months in case of a malignancy.
Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck STD
In some cases, enlarged neck lymph nodes may be a sign of a sexually transmitted disease. This frequently happens due a Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) infection.
Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck on One Side
In some people, only one side of the neck gets swollen. Enlargement of lymph nodes in only one part of the neck can be an indication of severe medical disorders such as tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, ear infections, sinus infections, rubella and HIV infection.
Swollen Lymph Nodes in Neck are usually harmless and go away with treatment. However, these can become malignant in certain cases. It is important to get in touch with a doctor if your lymph nodes persist for two weeks or more despite home treatment. Early treatment will help you get cured from this condition at the earliest.
Written by Shoummojit
on June 13th, 2011. The article was last updated on August 30th, 2011