ZocdocAnswersWhat could the small lumps in my neck be?

Question

What could the small lumps in my neck be?

I have been having terrible neck and back pain. My question relates to my neck as it is the worst. I have always had neck pain but it is horrible at this point and is starting to worry me. It started as a couple small lumps in the right side of my neck. When pushed on they move with a crackling sound. It is as if the muscle on the right side has detroiated into multiple small lumpy muscles. The same is happening on my left side as well now. Almost as if i have a bunch of gravel or small pebbles moving around in my neck. My neck cracks every time I move it and gets stiff as well as feeling inflamed every day. This has been occurring now for about two years and seems to be getting worse as i stated it started off as one to two lumps and has progressed to many many small lumps. They feel somewhat hard but soft at the same time and when pressed they slide to the side with a crackling sound.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have terrible neck and back pain, and that you have lumps within your neck that all have you worried. I am happy to give you some of my thoughts about what might be going on, which will hopefully help somewhat, but I am ultimately going to recommend that you make an appointment with an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) physician to get evaluated. This is because they will be able to take more of a medical history, and examine you. These things are the cornerstones to making a good diagnosis and treatment/management plan. I am not completely sure why you are having the neck and back pain, but it sounds from your description that you may have lymph node swelling within your neck. Lymph nodes are a normal part of your immune system, and they swell in situations where your immune system may be activated (like during an infection, during neoplastic processes, or even during trauma and inflammatory responses). They feel like small, somewhat firm mobile masses within your neck. As far as the neck and back pain, there are many different etiologies. The ENT will be able to tell you if the masses in your neck are in fact lymph nodes, and also give you some idea about what could be causing your neck pain. I hope this helps, and I wish you all the best.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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