The lymphatic system is the part of the body’s immune system. It consists of lymph nodes, which are scattered in different parts of the body and they are often found in clusters. The main function of the node is to trap the bacteria and the viruses and other foreign particles which enter the body.
Lymph nodes are present in the neck, in the armpits and in the groins; they are small and often palpable underneath the skin, especially in thin persons. However lymph nodes are also present in other parts of the body, which we are not able to palpate easily, as in the case of mesenteric lymph node in the abdomen. Lymph nodes present in the neck are known as cervical lymph nodes. Swelling of the lymph node in medical terms is called lymphadenitis. There are various reasons for swelling of lymph nodes in the neck. In fact swollen lymph node in the neck indicates that there is some sort of infective pathology in the vicinity organs.
Various Causes of Swollen Lymph Node in Neck
- An infection or a boil on the scalp can cause swelling of the lymph node in the neck on one side. It is often seen that a person having infection and dandruff together, complains of tender nodule in the neck area which subsides after the infection is resolved.
- Common cold, streptococcal sore throat, sinusitis, are few other reasons for swollen lymph nodes in the neck which are often found in children. They can be present on one side of the neck or on both side of the neck.
- Tonsillitis is another common cause of swollen lymph node in the neck. Especially in children.
- Viral diseases such as rubella can cause the lymph node in the neck to swell.
- Peritonsillar abscess, toxoplasmosis, syphilis can cause nodular swelling in the neck.
- Dental infection, gum disease, acne. HIV, syphilis etc.
- Tuberculosis is one of the important reasons for swelling of lymph node in the neck.
- Less common causes for swollen lymph node in the neck are cancer of mouth, oral cancer, and cancer of larynx, lymphomas, Hodgkin’s disease and leukemia. Hard swollen lymph nodes are usually seen in case of cancer. When the doctor palpates them, they are hard to touch and they do not move or they are fixed to the underlying tissue.
Treatment of Lymph Nodes in the Neck
As you know enlargement of lymph nodes is due to the underlying disease, your approach for its cure should be quick. If the lymph node is considerably enlarged, with or without pain and tenderness, you should consult your doctor immediately to find the underlying cause. Your doctor may analyze the symptoms and if there is a need he will advise you to do blood investigations and biopsy to rule out major causes. In minor conditions such as tonsillitis and cough and cold, sore throat home remedies work very well. However even after resolution of the disease, the swollen lymph nodes take weeks to subside to its normal size.