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"How much pressure does one have to put under their jaw when looking for lymph nodes? How can I identify it?"
I have a question in regards to lymph nodes, I have been having terrible anxiety lately and I'm just looking for some advice. How much pressure does one have to put under their jaw when looking for lymph nodes? And also when I press relatively hard underneath the very corner of my jaw (underneath the ear) I feel something hard that is semi-tender but it seems more like a line for example a tendon then a lymph node, is this a lymph node? and is there any other part of the anatomy this could be?
Sorry to hear about your anxiety. Sometimes it can be terribly difficult to feel reassured, especially when you have concerns that you are having physical exam findings. The best thing to do is to speak with your doctor, who may either be able to reassure you, order additional testing, or send you to a specialist who is able to help you with your concerns more fully. The head and neck is a terribly complex area when it comes to anatomy, which is part of why it is so fascinating. Under the corner of your jaw there are several glands that you could be palpating, and there is also a long ligament and muscle that courses from your mastoid bone to your hyoid (the digastric muscle). Additionally, there are many other possible explanations. As for how hard to push to feel a node, this depends on the size of the node, but a doctor will usually apply mild to moderate pressure when searching for lymph nodes. If it is not readily apparent, that may be a sign that it is not significant, as usually only nodes larger than 1 cm are pathologic by size criteria. Please speak with your doctor about your question.
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