A lump in the neck can be painful, but it can also cause no pain at all when held. Although generally not dangerous, a lump in the neck can indicate a serious health condition.
If you have a lump in the neck, whether it hurts or does not hurt, you should immediately see a doctor to get proper and safe treatment.
Causes of Lumps in the Neck
Enlarged lymph nodes are the most common cause of lumps in the neck. Lymph nodes contain cells that help your body fight infections and attack malignant cells (cancer). When you are sick, your lymph nodes can enlarge to help fight infection.
Swollen lymph nodes usually occur when the body has an infection, including a throat infection, dental infection, measles, tuberculosis, lupus and syphilis. The lump can go flat on its own when your health condition starts to improve.
In addition, various causes of other neck lumps are as follows:
Swelling of the thyroid gland
Stones in the salivary glands
Skin tags or excess skin growth
This gland that looks like a butterfly is in your neck and right in front of your throat. The thyroid gland is usually not visible, but for some reason, the gland can swell and cause lumps in the neck which are often called goiter. This swelling can be caused by several things, such as iodine deficiency, overactive or underactive glands, and thyroid cancer.
The chemicals contained in saliva can sometimes precipitate and form small stones. The stone can block the flow of saliva into your mouth. This condition can cause a lump in the neck.
Most lumps in the neck are benign. However, the possibility of a neck lump is a malignancy the risk will be greater than the age of 50 years. You are also at high risk of experiencing a lump in the neck that is cancerous if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle, such as smoking and consuming alcoholic beverages. In addition, a lump in the neck can also be a sign that you have leukemia (white blood cancer), breast cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and lung cancer.
Skin tags can arise when the skin often rub against the surrounding skin. This results in small, tanned flesh that resembles warts called skin tags. This condition is common, painless, and harmless. Sometimes, skin tags can be twisted and broken up due to loss of blood supply. Anyone can experience it, especially people with type 2 diabetes, obesity, pregnant women and the elderly.
Recognize the Symptoms that are felt
To find out if the lump you have is dangerous or not, you can recognize the lump with the following criteria:
- It hasn’t diminished to more than a month.
- Look continues.
- Feels hardened or doesn’t move when touched.
- Accompanied by fever, shortness of breath, pain and difficulty swallowing, weight loss, increased heart rate, hoarseness, presence of blood in saliva, or changes in the skin around the lump.
If you experience a lump in the neck as above, you should visit a doctor to find out the cause of the lump. Some tests that you may undergo are blood tests, X-rays, ultrasound, MRI and biopsy. After knowing the cause, the doctor can provide the right treatment for a lump in your neck.
In general, lumps in the neck are not dangerous. But there is no harm in seeing a doctor if there are irregularities in the lump. Early detection can prevent you from the danger of a deadly lump.