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What can a lump or swollen lymph node in the neck indicate

A lump in the neck may be caused by a swollen lymph node, a thyroid nodules, or a contracture in the neck. These lumps may be painless or cause pain and discomfort, and may arise in various regions of the neck such as the nape of the neck, behind the ears or in the anterior region of the neck, for example.

So, to get an idea of the possible causes that can lead to the appearance of a lump in the neck, here are some situations that may be at the origin of the problem:

5 causes that cause lumps in the neck

1. Swollen lymph nodes 

When the lymph nodes are swollen, they form glands that appear as a lump. These lumps may arise on the back of the neck or on the side behind the ear, depending on the swollen lymph, causing pain and discomfort when you touch.

Swollen lymph nodes may be caused by infections or inflammations such as tooth inflammation, flu, tonsillitis, or otitis, for example, and do not require specific treatment, as they end up happening when the cause of the problem is treated. Therefore, to treat the swollen lymph node you should consult your doctor so that he can identify and treat what is causing inflammation in the lymph nodes and bet on rest and hydration. Learn more about this problem in Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

What can a lump or swollen lymph node in the neck indicate

However, if the swollen lymph node does not decrease in size or if you stop feeling pain, you should see your doctor because it may be a symptom of a more serious problem such as Hodgkin's lymphoma or sarcoidosis.

2. Thyroid nodule

When a lump appears in the anterior region of the neck, this may indicate the presence of a thyroid nodule, which should be evaluated by an endocrinologist. Generally thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms, but in some cases they can cause sore throat, swelling in the neck or difficulty breathing and swallowing.

When these nodules arise, it is necessary to consult an endocrinologist for diagnostic tests such as biopsy to identify if the nodule is benign or if there is a risk of cancer.

If the nodule is benign, treatment may not be necessary, and monitoring is recommended by performing ultrasonography and annual blood tests. On the other hand, if there is a risk of cancer, the doctor will initiate the appropriate treatment that may include the taking of medication such as levothyroxine or radioactive iodine, and surgery may also be necessary to remove the nodule.

3. Neck Contracture 

Contractures in the neck can cause a painful lump to appear on the back of the neck and arise when the muscle contracts incorrectly and can not return to its normal state when at rest. Usually these types of lumps are hard and accompanied by pain and discomfort in the affected region, and there is also movement limitation.

To treat a muscular contraction in the neck, it is recommended to take a warm water bath, apply warm patches to the region where pain emerges from, massage the area with anti-inflammatory ointments and do stretching exercises that flatten perfectly the neck. In addition, using remedies to relax muscles like Miosan or Dorflex may also be beneficial for treating contracture.

When contractions do not go away, worsen or when pain persists for more than 7 days, it is recommended to consult a physician or physical therapist to treat the problem.

What can a lump or swollen lymph node in the neck indicate

4. Sebaceous cyst

Another possible cause that can lead to the appearance of a lump in the neck are sebaceous cysts, which form on the skin due to the accumulation of sebum.

This type of lumps or cysts are usually a few centimeters and do not cause pain, but when they are swollen they cause redness, pain and temperature increase in the area where they arise. The treatment of these lumps needs to be done by a dermatologist, who may indicate a minor surgery to remove the cyst.

5. Neck cancer

In more severe cases, the appearance of a lump in the neck may indicate the presence of cancer and in these cases the lump is accompanied by other symptoms such as hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, frequent choking, weight loss and malaise general.

In the presence of these symptoms it is recommended that you consult your doctor as soon as possible so that the doctor can make the diagnosis and indicate the best treatment.

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