The lymphatic system is made up of numerous vessels, glands, nodes and organs. Its purpose is to remove impurities from our body’s system. The purpose of the lymph node is to filter out harmful substances and use immune cells that attack and destroy germs that are present in the lymph fluid. One of the most important lymph nodes in the body is the posterior cervical lymph node. Its purpose it to filter the skin of the scalp, neck and upper chest. It is located in a vertical series that follow the back of the neck.
Lumps can be present when a lymph node becomes overtaxed. These lumps may be circular or in the shape of an oval. They may be the size of dimes or the size of a half dollar coin. Sometimes they can be the size and shape of a thumb.
This common occurrence can lead to a lump becoming warm and tender. They may be painful when depressed and more serious inflammation cases may be painful at all times. This sign is an indication that you may want to speak with a medical professional.
3. Associated Symptoms
Other symptoms, such as fever or sore throat may be signs of an infection. Symptoms of other diseases may be signs that your body is fighting something else. Previous medical events or medications may also be something to take into account. Monitor your symptoms to better answer any questions that your doctor may have.
1. Autoimmune Diseases
Systemic Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, HIV/AIDS and other autoimmune diseases may be causes for swollen lymph nodes. These may cause swelling of the posterior cervical lymph nodes, but they are likely to influence other nodes as well. If you are diagnosed with one an autoimmune disease, then make an appointment with a doctor if you find that you have any swollen lymph nodes.
Cancers of the head and upper chest may be collected in the posterior cervical lymph nodes. Immediate medical attention should be sought if you find that your lymph nodes are swollen, and you have been diagnosed with cancer. Cancerous cells may be distributed widely throughout the body from the lymph node. A biopsy will be taken to determine if the cancer has made its way to the node and the node itself will need to be removed.
The most common cause of swollen lymph nodes are infections. The posterior cervical lymph nodes are used to collect and purify the head and neck. During infections in this region, then lymph nodes are used and may be worked into overdrive. Congestion and fever may be associated with head colds and the flu. Respiratory and sinus problems may be present as well. Teeth, gums and other mouth problems may also be associated with posterior cervical lymph node inflammation.
If you find that you have an infection of the lymph nodes while you are fighting an illness, then make an appointment with a medical professional when you are able to do so. Inflamed lymph nodes are a sign that the infection is taking its toll on the body and that you will be best served by speaking with a doctor.
Some drugs, such as phenytoin an carbamazepine, may cause lymph nodes to become swollen. There may be other pharmaceuticals that have similar symptoms. If you begin taking a new drug and find that you are experiencing these symptoms, then speak with your doctor about possible side effects of your new drug. Your doctor should be able to inform you about the average duration and intensities that are associated with the side effects.
Vaccines may cause an inflammation to occur. This is a normal side effect of vaccinations and is a sign that the vaccine is working. Vaccines are safe for adults, children and infants. The swelling is temporary and is not an indication of mental health problems.
Getting a Diagnosis
To diagnose your condition, doctors will consider a variety of symptoms in addition to your swollen lymph nodes. They will look to see if:
- Connected lymph nodes are matter lymph nodes that could be caused by a malignancy, tuberculosis or sarcoidosis.
- If the lymph nodes are mobile, soft, painful or inflamed, they may be caused by an infection.
- Shotty lymph nodes develop a rubbery texture that often occurs after an infection has healed. They do not appear the same way as infected lymph nodes or malignant lymph nodes.
- Pain as well as fixed, hard lymph nodes could be an indication of cancer.
Doctors may also consider symptoms like fevers, night sweats, fatigue and weight loss to diagnose your condition. A biopsy may be given to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
You should go to the doctor if you have lymph nodes that are swollen without an underlying condition like an infection. Symptoms like rubbery, hard, fixed lymph nodes, excessive night sweats, weight loss and persistent fevers are also signs to go to the doctor. If the swelling continues to increase and has existed for more than two weeks, go to the doctor. You should also go to the doctor if you have swollen posterior cervical lymph nodes as well as problems swallowing, breathing issues or a sore throat.