Last Updated: Oct 25, 2021
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Neck swelling: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

About Symptoms Causes Diagnose Treatment Eligibility Ineligibility Side Effects Prevention Post-treatment Guidelines Recovery Diet Price Results Alternatives Exercises

What is the treatment?

Neck swelling also goes by the names of Neck Lumps, Neck Mass or Swollen Lymph Nodes.

What are the symptoms of Neck Swelling?

Neck swelling commonly refers to neck inflammation. Some of the symptoms related to the condition include the following:

  • Skin related symptoms such as itching, irritation, rashes, and bumps on the skin.
  • Difficulty while speaking and swallowing.
  • The onset of pain with neck movement or deglutition.
  • Throat ache.
  • Presence of lumps beneath the neck skin.
  • Fever of high grade.
  • Lymph nodes swelling.

What causes Neck Swelling?

Neck swelling may be caused by the following reasons:

  1. Lymph nodes enlargement: This condition may be brought about by cancer or some other infections.
  2. Salivary glands swelling: It may occur due to malignancy or infections.
  3. Injury to the neck: It leads to the formation of lumps, especially in front of the neck.
  4. Occurrence of sebaceous cysts: they may form lumps underneath the skin.
  5. Swelling of the thyroid gland.

How Neck Swelling is diagnosed?

The diagnosis of the neck swelling is done in the following steps:

  • Asking the patient about medical history.
  • Physical examination of the patient.
  • Lab tests which include a collection of samples for blood tests.
  • Imaging tests which include X-rays, ultrasound, MRI, CT scan, PET scan.
  • The biopsy includes tissue examination.

How is the treatment done?

Neck swelling is a condition that is accompanied by the formation of a mass around the neck area. The neck mass is developed when one of these organs get inflamed: Lymph Nodes, the Thyroid Gland, the Parathyroid Glands, Laryngeal Nerves, Neck Muscle, the Wind pipe, the Voice box, salivary glands, various arteries and veins around the neck.

The most common cause of neck swelling is the inflammation of the lymph nodes which happens when the ears, sinus, or tonsils become infected. Lymph nodes can also swell up owing to dental infection and infection in the scalp. The treatment for a swollen lymph node involves the treating of the cause which could be of any type as has been mentioned.

Viruses like pharyngitis, Rubella, Herpes can make the lymph nodes swollen. Other conditions of a serious kind which can cause this ailment include HIV, autoimmune disorders and Cancer in the neck, mouth, lungs and breasts. Lymphoma and Leukemia can also cause the lymph nodes to swell up. Treatment greatly depends upon diagnosing the cause. So there is no specific treatment.

Can Neck Swelling go away on its own?

When the neck swelling has mild symptoms, it can get resolved spontaneously without undergoing any treatment. However, when some problematic symptoms are experienced, they can be overcome by an application of over-the-counter medicines and some home remedies including NSAIDs, hot and cold compress. If the cause of the disease is not related to any serious condition, it can be resolved away itself.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

The underlying cause behind a swollen neck cannot be detected without a proper diagnosis. The focal point of the disease can be found in one of the organs around the neck area or the condition could be the outcome of a different ailment altogether. Therefore, the doctor starts with checking the nose, ears, throat and the sinuses. If an obstruction is found the patient is sent to an ENT for further diagnosis. The ENT usually performs an oto-rhino-laryngoscopy to look for infection. Other imaging tests include sinus X-rays, Complete Blood Count examination, chest X-ray, ultrasound and MRI if need be.

Lymph nodes can get swollen due to disorders in the thyroid gland which can cause goiter or other such diseases. In that case thyroid treatments are recommended. Lymph nodes swelling can also be caused by bacterial infection which can be easily cured by antibiotics. If the cause is malignant then the cure will surely differ. For example lymph nodes swelling caused by cancer is treated by surgery, radiation or chemotherapy depending on the stage of the cancer. Lymph nodes inflammation which is directed to HIV follows a different treatment routine altogether. Early detection is a must when it comes to treating swollen lymph nodes. A person who is facing difficulties while swallowing or breathing due to this condition shall immediately seek medical aid.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Anybody who is suffering from a neck swelling whereby the condition is making it difficult for the person to breath, swallow or even talk should consult a doctor. A person suffering from persistent sore throat is also eligible to undergo the treatment.

What are side-effects of Neck Swelling treatments?

Mild swelling of lymph nodes can be caused by minor cold and flu. For that full-blown treatment is not needed. Home remedies are enough to cure this condition.

Treatment for neck swelling usually involves the application of antibiotics, NSAIDs as well as steroids in some cases. Side effects observed in the treatment such as:

  • The feeling of nausea followed by vomiting.
  • GIT related issues such as bloating, cramps, heartburn.
  • Diarrhoea leading to dehydration as well constipation in some cases.
  • Gastritis which may be severe.
  • Occurrence of ulcers or indigestion.

How to prevent Neck Swelling?

Neck swelling may undergo prevention by adopting some home remedies as well as changes in lifestyle. These remedies usually include:

  • Application of warm compression - it is done by wetting a cloth with warm water, followed by its compression against the affected area.
  • Over-the-counter medicines can be used.
  • Adequate rest - it is much important in such conditions.

Besides home remedies, some treatment methods are also preferred for the prevention of the condition which includes the application of antibiotics and infection-specific medicines depending upon the cause of the disease.

Should I go to urgent care for Neck Swelling?

Neck swelling can be considered as a normal condition when related to mild and short-lived or acute symptoms which can be resolved spontaneously without any need for treatment. However, in some cases it can be considered as a serious condition when accompanied by the symptoms like Fever, swelling in the lymph nodes, discomfort while breathing, swelling of the organs such as lips and face which occurs all of sudden, difficult breathing, or choking and swelling in the neck which is sudden and severely painful.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Treating lymph nodes swelling can have multiple side effects. For instance if antibiotics are used to cure the swelling, they can cause side effects such as nausea, loss of appetite, indigestion, abdominal pain etc. Lymph nodes swelling that are directed to cancer or autoimmune diseases can only be cured by chemotherapy which has life-long side effects like heart, lung, gastrointestinal system and hormonal disorders. Other side-effects include loss of hearing and eye-sight, dental problems. Lymph nodes swelling can also be an outcome of HIV, the treatment of which again has long-term side effects. Lymph nodes swelling caused by disorders in the Thyroid gland is cured by anti-thyroxine medications which are accompanied by side effects such as menstrual problems, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia etc.

How long does it take to recover from Neck Swelling?

Neck swelling is a kind of swelling in the neck muscles. It may be mild, moderate to severe depending upon the causes and extent of the severity. In most neck swelling cases, it usually requires a few weeks to recover completely from the condition. However, a time interval of almost one week is sufficient for the symptoms to fade away.

What to eat in Neck Swelling?

Some of the food items to be preferred during the condition of neck swelling include the following:

  • Different variety of soups, preferably chicken soups.
  • Consumption of honey as its medicinal properties helps to fight off infections.
  • Taking yogurt in our diet regularly.
  • Eating mashed potatoes.
  • Having eggs and oatmeal as a part of the daily diet.
  • Herbs like ginger.
  • Omega 3 fatty acid sources.

What not to eat in Neck Swelling?

Some of the eatables or food items that should be avoided strictly in cases of neck swelling include the following:

  • High caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea.
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • Hot and spicy eatables.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables, especially in their raw form.
  • Snacks that are fried or deep-fried such as popcorn, spiced chips, etc.
  • Saturated fatty acids.
  • Dairy products with high-fat content.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Recovery time depends upon the kind of cause that has led to the development of swollen lymph nodes. For example, if the swelling is caused by bacteria then it is cured by the intake of antibiotics; the healing period being four days to one week. However, if the cause is goiter or other disorders in the thyroid gland then it will take time. Lymph nodes swelling can also be directed to cancer, autoimmune disorders, or , HIV. These ailments can be managed only by long-term treatment and cannot be limited within the parameter of a specific recovery time.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The treatment of lymph nodes swelling varies from person to person depending on the kind of ailment that is causing the condition. The consultation fees could be anywhere between Rs 500 and Rs 1500 which is subject to change based on the remuneration of the doctor.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The post-treatment guidelines vary from person to person depending on the cause leading to neck swelling. For instance, a person who develops a neck swell owing to common cold and flu should protect the self from cold and can perform gargling with warm water. If the anomaly is of a severe kind like cancer, HIV, or autoimmune disorders then the post-treatment guidelines should include regular check-ups, consumption of the prescribed medicines, taking care of the emotional, social and spiritual needs as these ailments are accompanied by debilitating psychological effects.

Physical Exercises for the people suffering from Neck Swelling:

Exercises are always beneficial in cases of strain, especially when it comes to the neck. They play an important role to improve the flexibility of the affected region, relieving the pain, and loosening the stiffness in the neck. Some of those exercises include:

  • Neck tilt exercises especially forward and backward tilt.
  • Side tilt exercises.
  • Rotation exercises such as side rotation.
  • Shoulder roll exercises.
Summary: Neck swelling is a type of swelling of the neck muscles that may be mild, moderate to severe depending upon the causes and extent of the severity. Neck Exercises are always beneficial in cases of strain, especially when it comes to the neck. They play an important role to improve the flexibility of the affected region, relieving the pain, and loosening the stiffness in the neck.

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