Swelling in the back

Swelling in the back of the neck


Swelling in the back of the neck is also known as a neck mass in the medical language. A variety of factors can cause neck bulk, which varies in different sizes. Most of the time, the swelling is not substantial and does not hurt the person. If a person notices any swelling in the neck, he or she should immediately see a doctor to check out whether the swelling or lymph is hazardous. If your body is afflicted with an illness, it will begin to send you messages. Swelling of lymph nodes can indicate the presence of cancer or another condition. 

The lymph node is a gland that swells as a sign or response to an infection or tumors in a human body. White blood cells are stored in lymph glands, which are tiny glands. The fluid in these glands and white blood cells stimulated by infection and malignancies induce swelling in the neck. There is no need for medicine if the swelling is minor. However, if a person’s swollen neck pains or swelling worsens, they should see a doctor. Doctors commonly prescribe anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, and other medications.

In this article, let’s discover the causes, symptoms, treatments, and risk factors of swelling on the back of the neck.

Swelling in the back of the neck causes:

The causes of swelling in the back of the neck are discussed below in detail;

General Causes

Swelling might be caused by a skin infection, sinus infection, strep throat, cold, or flu. These are the typical causes of neck swelling, which usually do not require treatment. However, if your skin infection worsens, you may need the immediate attention of a doctor to get the necessary treatment timely.

Immune system malfunctions

Immune system illnesses can cause swelling in the neck and other body parts. The most prevalent immune system disorders are lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.


The chances of survival decrease when cancer spreads to the lymph nodes. However, Lymphoma is a lymphatic system cancer that causes swelling in lymph nodes. Additionally, sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis or gonorrhea can also produce swollen lymph nodes in the groin area.


Some medications and treatments to allergic reactions might produce swollen lymph nodes. If the swelling isn’t terrible, it will disappear in a few hours or days. Anti-seizure and antimalarial drugs may also be beneficial.

Cysts of the sebaceous gland

A sebaceous cyst is developed when the sebaceous glands become clogged or injured. Sebum, an oily fluid that lubricates your skin and hair, is secreted by these glands. Sebaceous cysts appear as tiny, soft lumps on the skin, face, neck, or chest. 


A lipoma is a noncancerous fatty mass that develops between your skin and muscle and grows slowly. It usually appears on the neck, arms, shoulders, etc. Lipomas are more common in adults in their forties and fifties, and they typically don’t create any health problems but need treatment if it starts causing pain.

Swelling in the back of the neck symptoms:

Symptoms of swelling depend on its cause. The lump or bump that do not require a visit to the doctor has the following symptoms;

  • Swelling and redness
  • The lump doesn’t increase in size
  • It doesn’t move
  • Sometimes it aches, sometimes doesn’t
  • Warmth and tenderness

Symptoms, when you need to visit the doctor for swelling in the neck immediately, are;

  • Swelling or lump
  • Painful
  • Increase in size rapidly
  • It moves under the skin
  • It causes fever and weight loss

Swelling in the back of the neck diagnosis:

Your doctor will initiate the treatment by asking about your medical history and performing a physical examination. They might be able to figure out what’s causing your glands to swell depending on where they appear on your body.

They may also suggest one of the following tests to dig out its causes such as;

  • X-rays and blood tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Scan with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Biopsy
  • Computed tomography
  • PET scan

These tests will let you know about the nature of the swelling, and the doctor will prescribe medication or treatment accordingly.

Swelling in the back of the neck treatment:

Swollen lymph nodes might shrink on their own if they are not treated because these are primarily natural reactions of infections. The doctor may want to keep an eye on the prevailing health condition without treating them. Moreover, these can also be treated with antibiotics or antiviral drugs to alleviate the illness that causes enlarged lymph nodes.

Your doctor may prescribe medications like aspirin and ibuprofen to combat pain and inflammation. Malignancy-related swollen lymph nodes may not return to standard size until the cancer is treated. While during cancer treatment, the tumor and any contaminated lymph nodes can be removed.

Chemotherapy can also help to reduce the size of the tumor. But discomfort can be lessened by using simple home remedies like rest, good sleep, and compressing swollen parts with a warm cloth. Doctors also prescribe painkillers to alleviate the pain. 

Swelling in the back of the neck risk factors:

Most of the time, a bump on the back of the neck is nothing to worry about. These can also be caused by genetic mutation and close shaving. Symptoms of a severe infection include persistent fever, a firm and immovable mass that grows or changes rapidly and is accompanied by night sweats or unintentional weight loss. But if you do not have any of these symptoms, this swelling is harmless and will go away on its own. 

However, if you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor should check on any swelling that persists for more than a few weeks. The earlier doctor diagnoses the cause, the earlier it will recover.


  • https://www.healthline.com/health/lump-on-back-of-neck-hairline#other-causes retrieved on 22 January 2022. 
  • https://www.medicoverhospitals.in/symptoms/neck-swelling retrieved on 22 January 2022. 
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/neck-lump retrieved on 22 January 2022. 
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