Inflammation Of The Lymph Nodes In The Neck - What To Do? Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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Video: Inflammation Of The Lymph Nodes In The Neck - What To Do? Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Video: Inflammation Of The Lymph Nodes In The Neck - What To Do? Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Video: Neck Mass: Swollen Lymph Node 2023, March
Inflammation Of The Lymph Nodes In The Neck - What To Do? Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Inflammation Of The Lymph Nodes In The Neck - What To Do? Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck: what are the causes?

Many people do not pay attention to the condition of the lymph nodes, while they serve as real "sentry posts". Even a slight increase in size may indicate a serious illness that requires emergency treatment.


  • What is a lymph node?
  • Causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes
  • Classification
  • Symptoms of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
  • What to do if inflamed lymph nodes are found in the neck?
  • The dependence of a specific lymph node on the disease
  • Diagnostics
  • Treatment of inflamed lymph nodes

What is a lymph node?

The lymph node (lymph node) is a peripheral organ of the lymphatic system that acts as a biological filter. Lymph flows through this filter from organs and parts of the body. There are about 150 groups of lymph nodes in the human body, called regional.

Lymphadenopathy characterizes a wide variety of pathologies. The doctor examining the patient is not always able to diagnose immediately by the standing of the lymph nodes. However, this condition indicates that the person needs additional testing.

Swollen lymph nodes can be a sign of measles, infectious mononucleosis, tuberculosis, rubella, toxoplasmosis, and adenovirus infection.

Most often, the lymph nodes become inflamed near the infectious focus. When a person has a sore throat, the nodes located on the neck and under the jaw are the first to react. When an abscess appears on the leg, the lymphatic tissue in the groin will become inflamed. If the upper limbs are affected, then the person develops axillary lymphadenitis.

Lymph node
Lymph node

The cause of inflammation of the lymph nodes is the penetration of pathogenic flora into the lymphatic system. They are activated, standing up to protect the body. By containing the infection, the lymph nodes protect the person from further spread of the disease. The lymphatic tissue begins to produce protective cells that accumulate in the nodes in high concentrations. Therefore, their increase in size indicates that the immune system is activated and is working hard. Therefore, if such a symptom appears, you should immediately consult a doctor.

The cause of inflammation of the lymph nodes
The cause of inflammation of the lymph nodes

Causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes

Causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes
Causes of inflammation of the lymph nodes

Infectious and bacterial diseases can cause inflammation of the lymph nodes (lymphadenitis).

Bacteria are classified into the following types:

  • Representatives of nonspecific flora: staphylococci, clostridium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus.
  • Representatives of a specific form: tubercle bacillus, gonococci, causative agents of syphilis, brucella, actinomycetes, tularemia bacteria.

At the age of 1-3 years, inflammation of the lymph nodes most often occurs due to diseases such as:

  • Scarlet fever.
  • Rubella.
  • ARVI.
  • Infectious mononucleosis.

With inflammation of one lymph node, we can conclude that it works hard. With inflammation of a whole group of lymph nodes, it is safe to say that this is a disease that requires treatment.

But before starting treatment, it is very important to establish the real cause of the inflammation of the lymph nodes. If the lymph nodes in the groin are enlarged, this may indicate that there are diseases of the genitourinary system or sexually transmitted diseases. In such a situation, the doctor will probably prescribe a blood and urine test, tests for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis, and then, taking into account the results, will prescribe treatment. If the lymph nodes in the armpit area are inflamed, this can also indicate inflammation of the organs located in this area. Inflamed lymph nodes located in the neck will tell about an ear infection or sore throat.

In obese people with loose adipose tissue, the lymph nodes become inflamed especially often. This process can be stopped on its own without causing any changes in the body. It is necessary to show alertness if the node remains inflamed for a long time, hurts and increases significantly in size. You should not postpone a visit to the doctor in such a situation.

Also in science there is such a thing as lymphatism. It is characterized by an increase in several lymph nodes at once. Lymphatism is diagnosed in children under 3 years of age, as well as at the age of 6-10 years. This is due to the rapid growth of the child, or with an unbalanced menu, when he eats meals containing a large amount of protein.

Lymphatism requires no treatment. However, the child should be monitored regularly by a doctor. A dangerous signal is the combination of inflammation of the lymph nodes with inflammation of the thymus gland, which is also an organ of the human immune system.

4 most popular causes of swollen lymph nodes

Scratched by a cat
Scratched by a cat
  1. The first reason is a cat scratched. Cat's claws are not sterile. They contain many bacteria. If the infection enters the wound and reaches the lymph nodes with the blood flow, then they will certainly become inflamed. Doctors call this disorder cat scratch disease (benign lymphoreticulosis). The animals themselves will not get sick at the same time. They are only disseminators of infection.

    Another infection that cats can transmit is toxoplasmosis. It enters the human body through the mouth. The lymph nodes become inflamed, the body temperature rises to 37.5 ° C, the eyes may water, and weakness increases.

  2. The second reason is a callus on the leg. Common calluses often cause inflammation of the lymph nodes. If an infection gets into them, then this leads to inflammation of the nearest lymph nodes. Sometimes the body copes with the violation on its own, and sometimes there is suppuration of the lymphatic tissue. In this case, you need to see a doctor. The surgeon may open the affected node and flush it. If this is not done, the likelihood of blood poisoning increases.

  3. The third reason is boils. Boils often appear in humans due to hormonal imbalances in the body. If a person sweats a lot, then ulcers form in the armpit area. The skin around them becomes inflamed, reddens, a person may even be hurt to raise his hand. This condition is called hydradenitis. Self-medication in this case is unacceptable. Skin prone to the formation of boils should be treated with salicylic alcohol or other antiseptic agents. It is prohibited to pierce boils. It is necessary to visit a dermatologist and consult with him about adequate treatment. With increased sweating, you need to carefully follow the rules of hygiene, wash at least 2 times a day. Linen should be changed daily. It is recommended to give preference to natural fabrics.

  4. The fourth reason is a lump in the chest. Swollen axillary lymph nodes can be a sign of breast cancer. This is a dangerous disease that requires immediate treatment. Therefore, you need to regularly conduct breast self-examination. This procedure for women over 35 should become as familiar as brushing their teeth. When suspicious seals appear, you need to visit a gynecologist or mammologist, undergo an ultrasound or mammography, and also be tested for a tumor marker. You need to independently examine the breast 2 times a month in a prone and standing position. If you find areas of compaction, regardless of their size, you should consult a doctor. Particular vigilance should be exercised in the case when the chest was recently injured.



Inflammation of the lymph nodes can be acute or chronic.

  • Acute inflammation is caused by infectious agents, or occurs when an injury occurs in the immediate vicinity of a lymph node.
  • Chronic inflammation occurs when a weakly virulent flora enters the node. Such a reaction can be provoked by the bacteria of syphilis, tuberculosis, brucellosis.

Inflammation can be of the following nature:

  • Catarrh. It is characteristic of the early stage of infection. In this case, the lymph node begins to be saturated with plasma.

  • Hyperplastic inflammation. It characterizes the late stage of the pathological process. The increase in the size of the node occurs due to the division of immune cells in it.

  • Purulent inflammation. It occurs only when the node is filled with pyogenic bacteria, or when the node is injured with a direct infection of it. If there is a lot of pus, then it can penetrate into the surrounding tissues. If pus does not encapsulate, then the person will develop phlegmon, which will spread throughout the neck. In the future, the likelihood of developing an abscess increases.

Symptoms of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck

Symptoms of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck
Symptoms of inflammation of the lymph nodes in the neck

Inflammation of the cervical lymph nodes will be indicated by symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the neck. On it, you can palpate the seal, which will be mobile and elastic. If the inflammation is intense, then the size of the seal will increase in size, reaching 5 cm in diameter and even more. In this case, it will be visible to the naked eye. The person will need anti-inflammatory therapy. When the node is dense, with indistinct contours and bumps, if it cannot be moved to the side, then this may indicate the presence of atypical cells in it. In this case, the patient is diagnosed with lymphadenopathy.

  • The lump will feel painful when pressed.
  • It can be painful for a person to swallow food.
  • The skin over the lymph node often turns red.
  • The body temperature may increase, the patient gets tired faster, he has headaches.

In most cases, this inflammatory reaction is preceded by an infection. A person may experience a sore throat against the background of ARVI, or suffer measles or rubella, which are accompanied by the appearance of a skin rash. With scarlet fever or angina, the body temperature rises to febrile levels. Osteomyelitis or soft tissue phlegmon is accompanied by pain in the jaw.

What to do if inflamed lymph nodes are found in the neck?

What to do when detected
What to do when detected

If one or more lymph nodes become inflamed on the neck, you need to do the following:

  1. The area of inflammation should be examined. Sometimes an abscess or injury can be found there.
  2. The lymph node must be gently moved and felt. If a person has lymphadenitis, then he palpates a small ball. When myositis is the cause of the discomfort, there will be no lump on the neck.
  3. It is important to assess the degree of soreness of the lymph node, to note whether it is displaced relative to other tissues, whether the local body temperature is increased.

    • If the nodes are small, move well and there are many of them, then this indicates a malfunction in the immune system. To determine the cause of the inflammation, you need to contact an infectious disease specialist.
    • When the node is bumpy, uneven, does not move well and hurts, you need to visit an oncologist. Such signs indicate a serious pathology.
    • A hot and painful lymph node may indicate a purulent process, in which case a consultation with a surgeon will be required.
    • Pain when feeling the lymph node and its mobility often indicates an inflammation of the throat or mouth. Visit your dentist or otolaryngologist. With the child, you need to go to the pediatrician.
  4. After the performed actions, it is necessary to conduct a self-examination. The condition of the throat and gums, soft tissues of the neck and face should be assessed. If any area is inflamed, then with a high probability it was he who caused the change in the lymph nodes. The next step is to see a doctor.

Lymph nodes are located in groups. They all collect lymph from specific areas of the neck or head. It will not be difficult for a doctor to find the cause of the pathology. However, with a strong inflammatory reaction or with tumors, all lymph nodes can become inflamed at once. This can make it difficult to make a correct diagnosis.

The dependence of a specific lymph node on the disease

Site of inflammation of the lymph node

Lymph node characteristics


Under the jaw

The knot hurts, moves, its consistency is soft

ARI, tonsillitis, measles, inflammation of the salivary glands, deep caries, periodontitis, paratonsillar abscess

The knot is bumpy, does not move and does not hurt

Cancer of the mouth, jaw, or salivary glands

Near the ear

Moves well, hurts, soft

Inflammation of the ear, carbuncle in the temple area, inflammation of the earlobe (can happen after a puncture)

Doesn't hurt, doesn't move

Cancer of the skin of the temples, or the parotid region, or the ear

On the neck, behind her

Moves and hurts

Boil, carbuncle, nape phlegmon, ringworm, or other fungal infections

Does not hurt, does not move, is covered with bumps

Cancer in the occiput

Below the ear

Moves and hurts

Otitis media, purulent skin lesions in this area, mastoiditis

Not mobile, does not hurt

Dermal cancer, or the presence of metastases in this area

On the neck in front

Soft and sore

Boils on the chin, herpes, stomatitis, pulpitis, tooth root cyst, inflammation of the gums, osteomyelitis of the jaw, inflammation of the thyroid gland, tuberculosis

Lumpy, doesn't move, doesn't hurt

Cancer of the lip, mouth, jaw, thyroid gland

Several nodes on the neck are enlarged at once

This symptom indicates inflammation:

  • Ear.
  • Soft tissues of the neck or head,
  • Head hematomas after an injury.
  • Skull bones.
  • Salivary glands.
  • Nasal sinuses.
  • Tooth root cysts.
  • Tonsils with angina.
  • Thyroid gland.

Also, this symptom can be a sign of lymphogranulomatosis or toxoplasmosis.

Multiple lymph nodes are inflamed, not only in the neck, but also in other parts of the body.

This symptom may indicate HIV, brucellosis, infectious mononucleosis, systemic damage to the body, such as lupus erythematosus. Wissler-Fanconi subsepsis or reticulohistiocytosis may also be suspected.

lymph node
lymph node

If the lymph node remains enlarged for some time in a person who has had ARVI, or some kind of disease of the oral cavity, then no measures should be taken. You just need to watch him. 7 days after recovery, the condition of the node should stabilize. If it remains inflamed, then you need to see a doctor. The doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment.

However, if the lymph node becomes inflamed in a person who has previously had cancer, the doctor will need to go to the doctor immediately.



Inflammation of the lymph nodes is not an independent disease, but only the body's reaction to a particular disorder. To find the right treatment, you need to find out the cause of the inflammation. An adult should go to see a therapist, and a child should be shown to a pediatrician. In the future, you may need to consult an otolaryngologist, hematologist, infectious disease specialist, and oncologist.

Analyzes and studies:

  • Blood donation for general analysis.
  • Ultrasound of the lymph node.
  • PCR of blood for the detection of viruses and bacteria.
  • Lymph node biopsy.
  • Sternal puncture of the lymph node.

Treatment of inflamed lymph nodes

Treatment of inflamed lymph nodes
Treatment of inflamed lymph nodes

After the cause of the inflammation is identified, the patient will be prescribed treatment:

  • Fungal diseases of the skin and scalp are treated with systemic antifungal drugs such as Ketoconazole or Clotrimazole. Most often they are prescribed in the form of a cream or ointment.
  • With oral candidiasis, oral medications will be required. It can be Diflucan, Clotrimazole, Voriconazole.
  • When the lymph nodes become inflamed due to dental disease, a visit to the dentist is required. The doctor sanitizes the foci of infection. Physiotherapy may be needed, such as galvanization or UHF.
  • Antibiotics are given to patients when the disease is caused by bacteria. The specific drug will be selected by the doctor. You cannot do without the use of antibiotics for angina, purulent processes (inflammation of the tooth cyst, otitis media, furunculosis), with osteomyelitis, etc. Antibiotics are mandatory for patients with suppuration of the lymph node. If the patient develops an abscess or phlegmon, then the help of a surgeon is required.
  • Inflammation of the cervical lymph nodes with a viral infection does not require antibiotics.
  • If inflammation of the lymph nodes is a consequence of infectious mononucleosis, then patients are prescribed Viferon or Ciclovir. Immunoglobulins are also prescribed for the patient.
  • In case of herpes infection, the patient is prescribed Acyclovir in tablets.
  • Cancer tumors require surgery. At the discretion of the doctor, the patient will be prescribed radiation or chemotherapy.
  • If the lymph nodes become inflamed against the background of systemic diseases, then a consultation with a rheumatologist is required. He will prescribe drugs that will suppress the overactive immune system.

It is strictly forbidden to warm up the lymph nodes, or draw an iodine grid on them. There are bacteria or other dangerous microflora inside the nodes. Local increases in body temperature can cause them to spread throughout the body. Treatment must be selected by a specialist.


Article author: Mochalov Pavel Alexandrovich | d. m. n. therapist

Education: Moscow Medical Institute. IM Sechenov, specialty - "General Medicine" in 1991, in 1993 "Occupational Diseases", in 1996 "Therapy".

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