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"Should I be concerned about a swollen/tender lymph node?"

ZocdocAnswersShould I be concerned about a swollen/tender lymph node?


Today is day 7 since I first noticed that my right lymph node in the middle of my neck is very tender and swollen. I figured it was just my lymph node fighting off an infection and it would go away after a few days. I never got a sore throat, fever, runny nose, cough or anything else that would be a sign of an infection. When I sleep at night I can only sleep on one side because when I turn onto my other side it is painful on the middle right side of my neck every time I swallow. When I apply pressure using my fingers to both sides of my neck at once it feels like the muscle on the right surrounding the lymph node is even tender. I have not injured my neck or shown any signs of being sick. The pain just sort of started to occur very quickly a week ago and has not gone away since. If anyone else has experienced anything similar to this or has knowledge on the subject, please respond with your opinion on what it could be and what I should do. I appreciate anyones feedback.


Sorry to hear that you have a sore neck and that there is a lump in your neck that is tender. I recommend that you get evaluated by an otolaryngologist (ENT aka ears nose throat physician) for your neck lump. You are correct in saying that sometimes a lump in the neck can be from a lymph node, but there are many other possible etiologies that can cause a painful lump. In addition, even if it is a lymph node, if it is so painful that you cannot sleep on that side, I think it warrants an evaluation by a physician. There are hundreds of lymph nodes in your neck, but not many in the midline actually (unless they are very low in the midline neck in what is called level 6), which makes me think that it may not even be a lymph node. The thyroid gland has a midline section called the isthmus of the thyroid gland which can potentially have nodules or other inflammatory processes that can cause pain as an example of a different cause for the neck pain. An ENT will be able to take a thorough history and do a focused head and neck exam to better help figure out what may be causing the lump and pain in your neck. I hope this helps.

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