ZocdocAnswersWhy does my neck hurt near my jawline?

Question

Why does my neck hurt near my jawline?

I am an 18 year old male in college, with no medical history pertaining to my neck. For the past week, my neck (lymph node) is hurting and I am not sure why. It seems to be swollen and is very painful when I touch it. I do have a cough right now, and I wake up every morning with mucous in my throat and nose. This has been going on for the past 2 weeks. I take no medications. What should I exactly do? I am not sure what is causing these problems because I do not feel sick.

Answer

When you have swollen and tender lymph nodes, it is usually a sign that your body is fighting some sort of infection. Lymph nodes are small pockets of infection fighting cells where various particles are collected by the body as the body prepares to defend itself. When the body traps something that it identifies as infectious or otherwise harmful, more infection fighting cells and blood flow go to the area, it swells, and there is some tenderness due to the release of chemical factors and swelling in the area. The location of the lymph nodes is usually an indicator of the region that is affected, as lymph nodes follow a pattern similar to blood flow. This means that the infected area would likely be somewhere in your head or neck, given where the lymph nodes are bothering you. Given that you have a cough and mucous, it is possible that you have an upper respiratory tract infection of some sort. Alternatively, allergies could also be responsible for a similar presentation. If your lymphadenopathy (the medical name for swollen lymph nodes) and other symptoms don't go away by themselves shortly, or if you have other symptoms such as weight loss, night sweats, etc, you should see your doctor.

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

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