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This is an archived entry for a more up to date version of this post click here!

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Hard Lump on Back of Neck


Post subject: Hard Lump on Back of Neck
- Mon Dec 01, 2003 7:54 am

About 3 or 4 days ago I woke up and noticed a slight stiffness in my neck. On the back of my neck, left side at the hairline, a small, hard lump appeared under the skin literally over night. The lump has no coloration and is perfecty round, not irregular and pea-sized. I am not sure if it is just a "kink" or somethink to be concerned about.

Over the past couple days the area surrounding the small lump has become relatively tender. This could be due to the fact that I'm constantly poking and prodding the area but, again, I'm not sure. There have been no headaches, no blurriness of vision and only a slight throbbing (mostly noticable when I mentally focus on the area).

What are the possibilities here? I'm worried about things like an aneurysm, but from what I've read, they are not hard and immobile if they do protrude. I'm also wondering about possible glandular problems, but I don't know gland location so well. Any ideas? Am I just being paranoid over a kink or an ingrown hair?
Post subject:
Tamer Fouad, M.D.
- Mon Dec 01, 2003 1:13 pm

Your reason for concern is understandable. Where exactly is it located? Factors in favour include the small size and sudden onset in addition to the tenderness. Concerning the possibility of a lymph gland enlargement, please refer to our page on the diagnosis and causes of lymph gland enlargement:
Click here!
Could you be more specific as to the location?

Post subject:
- Mon Dec 01, 2003 3:55 pm

Thanks for your reply - the lump is on the left side of the back of my neck my neck, approximately level with bottom of my ear lobe on that side. I has close cropped hair in tha back and the lump is at the bottom left corner of my hair line. And its pretty hard. The stiffness is most apparent when I try to turn my head to the right - just like a kink.
Post subject:
Tamer Fouad, M.D.
- Mon Dec 01, 2003 4:09 pm

Did it happen directly after the hair cut. Its a possibility that the close-cropping technique introduced an infection to that area which eventually was drained to the lymph node. Is it still tender?
Post subject:
- Mon Dec 01, 2003 4:17 pm

No - It actually appeared the morning before I had a haircut. But I have had some pimples in the area of my hairline recently. Also, what glands are in the back of the neck? I have not been able to find any reference to this area. I know their are glands in the throat area but thats the other side.

Just for my piece of mind, does the hardness of the lump mostly rule out aneurysm? What are you leaning towards based on my description?
Post subject:
Tamer Fouad, M.D.
- Mon Dec 01, 2003 4:31 pm

There are glands in the back of the neck. You will find reference to them in the article I posted to you. These are the occipital lymph nodes, the posterior cervical lymph nodes and the jugular chain of lymph nodes. If we assume that this is a lymph node then most of the time the cause is an infection. The only clinical concern is to rule out any possibility of malignancy. I am leaning towards an infection but given the constraints of the internet I feel that I have not been able to satisfyingly rule out possible malignancy. Ofcourse it could be a myriad of other things which are less alarming. Aneurysms tend to be throbbing on touch (you can feel a very strong pulse there). Being in the back of the neck that wouldnt be a classical presentation.
I would recommend you have someone look at it. There is no substitute for clinical examination in your case.

Thank you.
Post subject:
- Mon Dec 01, 2003 4:35 pm

Thank you docter - I do plan on having my GP look at it but he does not have any appointments for over a week. But thank you for your information (and there is absolutely no pulse at the spot of the thats good). And thanks for the article. I appreciate your help.
Post subject:
- Mon Dec 01, 2003 4:42 pm

By the way - I just look at the article you posted. I also have had some dandruff and I have an infected follicle or pimple on the top of my head - so that is consistant with posterior cervical as well.
Post subject:
Tamer Fouad, M.D.
- Mon Dec 01, 2003 4:56 pm

Yes it appears to be consistent. Let me know the outcome of your medical visit.

Warm regards,
Post subject:
- Mon Dec 01, 2003 10:31 pm

I hope this pops up as new again...

I don't know if its psychosomatic or what, but while I do not have any headache, I do feel a slight (not painful) pressure in my head at times and also have been feeling a mild tingling sensation. Obviously I'm really freaking out about this so I'm wondering if that is part of the problem. Since I can't seem to get into a doctor (HMO...enough said) I'm stressing out. Is this nothing related? Is it anything to worry about?
Post subject:
Tamer Fouad, M.D.
- Tue Dec 02, 2003 1:01 am

I don't think you should worry about this so much. I told you that based on your description i am inclined more towards a simple infection. But since I cant rule anything out here your gonna to have to be checked up, which is what you have agreed to do. One week is not so long a period of time since you do not have any other symptoms or complaints. If anything new pops up or if it suddenly increases in size let me know.
Have a good day!
Post subject:
- Fri Dec 19, 2003 6:59 am

Hi there,

I kinda have the same thing , on the right side , back of neck, about an inch to right of center inline with hair line/ ear lobe.. Noticed it there few weeks ago ... but it just worries me now.. my neck doesn't really hurt no headaces or anything but there is a little pain in my neck now and then.. but it just really worries me and is freakin me out.. i saw this post and i am hopein maybe u can help me.
Post subject:
- Fri Dec 19, 2003 6:06 pm

Mine has been *slowly* shrinking...It turned out that the lump on top of my head was an infection of some sort. I think that my gland may have swelled as it fought off the infection - but you should definitely see a doctor about it.
Post subject: hard bumps
- Wed Jun 02, 2004 3:33 am

I too have hard bump(s), 2 nites ago I had a horrible headache and the next morning I had this hard bump on all back of my head on the left side about 1/2 an inch from my ear. I felt extremly tired. when i touched it, my lymph node hurt too and it was i little bit hard as well. Later that day about 9 hours later i felt a smaller one on the exact oppissite side. And then i have all these little bumps on my back and arms, kind of like bug bites but then like small pimples they itch a lil bit too. I visited my sister whos one year old son had chicken pox but they said it wasen't contagois anymore. I have know idea what to do.
Post subject:
Tamer Fouad, M.D.
- Wed Jun 02, 2004 4:18 am

Hi RachelLiz,
It seems that you may have a generalized lymph gland enlargement. This could be due to many causes. Do you have fever? rash? You need to be examined by your doctor and you may also need a blood test or even a biopsy from a lymph node depending on the outcome of this examination.

Please check our generalized lymph gland enlargement page for a list of possible causes.

Post subject: Re: Hard bumps
Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
- Wed Jun 02, 2004 10:02 pm

Dear Rachel,

Do you have any allergies whether to medications or towards any environmental agent?

The sudden appearance of such bumps on the skin could point towards an allergic reaction.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
Post subject:
- Thu Jun 03, 2004 12:10 am

thank you for the advice, i have chicken pox as well and i did have a headache and a fever the past few days but haven't taken any asprine. I'm going to see my Doctor tomorrow about thoughs bumps.but thanks anway.
Post subject:
- Sat Oct 30, 2004 8:56 pm


I've a problem similar to those stated here. I'm 17 and for the past two years I've felt a lump at the back of my neck, about an inch from my right ear, and about a centimeter below my head. The lump is about 2 cm in size. I asked my father about it (he took four years of pre-med in college before switching to dentistry) and he told me it is nothing, so I let the topic die for a while. After reading a novel where the main character had lymphoma, the topic had inhabited my mind once again. Soon, I began to search the rest of my neck, pressing hard on it, and I found other was less than a cm in size, and rest about the size of this: O. Eventually I went to my physician and she, also, told me not to worry about it. My problem is this, I told the physician about an ear infection I had for the past three months and I think she assumed the lumps where associated with that. But, like I had previously said, they have been there for much longer than three months. Should I continue to worry, or see my GP again?

Oh, and the lump is painless (unless you count the occasionally pain in the neck I get).
Post subject: Hard bump on back of neck
- Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:30 pm

I too have this hard little bump under my skin on the back of my neck about the size of a pencil eraser. Except about a quarter inch above the lump their is some sort of bite or ingrown hair. To me it looks more like some sort of insect bite. Is this possible and what do you think that I should do about it. I have had it for a week now and I have been putting neosporin on it and it is scabbing. Can you help me out with any advice,Please?
Post subject: Treatment?
- Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:20 pm

I have the same thing, hard lump/mass on right side upper back of neck. Causing some pain when sleeping or turning my head a certain way.
Let's say it is an enlarged lymph node, with no apparent infection (ie - ear, eye, scalp problems). What is the treatment for this? Warm packs? Lymph node massage?
Thanks for any reply.
Post subject:
- Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:02 pm

o.o this is really weird, i have a small circle lumpy kind of thing on the left side of my neck and its right under the back of my jaw bone...i had a similer kind of lump around last year december. its been there for around 2 weeks and it doesn't hurt but when i touch it, it moves around but if i push it in too much it hurts...i also have tonsolightus which have been swolen for the past 2 weeks i took some medicine and it got better but every now and then it still hurts...i don't have any headaches or bluryness but when i try to swollow something or use the swollowing action a get a lilttle pain under my adams apple.

sorry for my bad grammer and bad spelling, the only reason i posted here was because i saw people responded fast, and if it helps solving my problem i was 14 3 weeks ago and 15 now.. someone reply fast...please..
Post subject:
- Sat Jun 25, 2005 7:00 pm

 someone reply please...
Post subject:
- Fri Jul 01, 2005 1:35 am

Hello. I was reading this thread because I found a small pea size lump on the back on my neck - to the left just along the hairline too ! I only noticed it because I have a horsefly bit or something on the back of my neck ( nickle size, red , puffy, sore ) and then just slightly lower than it to the left... is the lump. Its under the skin, almost in the tissue kinda... and I was wondering if it was something serious or just some swollen gland because of the insect bite... however, if you pinch the skin the Lump seems to be bigger deeper in teh skin... its not really spongy... and there is not pain - just that feelig that its not right... any ideas?
Post subject:
- Sun Jul 03, 2005 12:53 am

I just discovered my little "lump" today! It's rather sore; right side of my neck around back by the base of my hairline. I'm only 17, so I hope it's just a swollen gland... I would need antibiotics for that, correct? And about how long will it take for the bump to go away? Thanks
Post subject:
- Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:45 am

Wierd.... Just tonight I felt a hard lump on the back of my neck, just on my hairline. (on the left side) Its soooooo sore... and the pain is moving up on my head, I think into the glands.

I do have a pimple just beside it, but would that have anything to do with it??? I can't sleep cause I am so worried about it... and its so painful.

What could this be??

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