Neck Lumps

Understanding Neck Lumps

What the average person might call neck lumps can actually be signs of a series of varied underlying conditions.  Neck lumps could simply be an allergic reaction to a new detergent or a reaction to a rash.  On the other hand, certain kinds of neck lumps could be the first sign of a serious condition like cancer.  Diagnosing the difference on your own can be quite difficult, so you should see your doctor at the very first opportunity.

What follows is a summary of some of the possible reasons why you might have neck lumps.  This article is purely informational in nature however, and you should not read it in lieu of having your condition diagnosed by a medical professional.  Delaying care for some of the conditions that present as “neck lumps” can mean the difference between life and death.  In short, read this article for clarification of the possibilities, but leave diagnosis to those with medical training.

Soft Neck Lumps

A whole series of soft cyst like neck lumps can occur suddenly.  Many are actually skin conditions caused by either allergic reactions or insect bites.  In most cases, these will go away by themselves, although sometimes a reaction can last for a prolonged period.  If the affected area continues to grow or does not disappear after a few days, you should have it checked out by a physician just to be on the safe side.

Lymph Nodes

One of the most common conditions where people report feeling “neck lumps” is when their lymph nodes have become inflamed.  The lymph nodes are the grape like nodules that you can feel along your neck adjacent to your jawbones.  When you are healthy you can palpate them with a bit of effort, but you will not regularly notice them.  You are most likely to notice your lymph nodes when you have some kind of a viral infection.  They become large and sometimes painful and you will be able to feel them impinging on your throat when you swallow.

The lymph nodes fill and become inflamed when the body is fighting infection.  The body naturally releases chemical defenses to fight against what it sees as an alien invader to its system.  When you have a viral infection, this enemy is actually dangerous to you and the body’s response is wholly helpful.  Sometimes, however, the body overreacts to an alien presence.  This is what an allergic reaction is.  The body goes into shock dealing with an enemy that is harmless to it.

The lymph nodes will often become inflamed when the body is reacting to some sort of problem where the immune system is called upon to do extra work.  Sometimes, the reason will be obvious.  You may feel under the weather or know that you have the flu.  It may be the first days of spring and you are having your seasonal allergies or hay fever.

If you have no clear explanation as to why your lymph nodes have become inflamed, then it is important to get it checked out.  Often people will not notice when they have been feeling a little bit tired or under the weather until they notice that their lymph nodes are inflamed.  Many serious conditions such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma are first diagnosed when the sufferer notices that he or she has inflamed lymph nodes.  Such cancers and diseases often occur in younger people and can be treated if diagnosed early and aggressively managed.  Where most people get into trouble is when they refuse to accept reality and allow the disease to get an insurmountable foothold, so you should be sure to get to a doctor right away.