Swelling on the neck – causes, treatment

Swelling on the neck

There are very different reasons for swelling on the neck and every patient should have this clarified by a doctor. In addition to childhood diseases such as mumps or angina tonsillaris, diseases of the thyroid glands, a goiter and acute allergic reactions can also be responsible. Furthermore, a lcocal cancer, inflammation of the lymph nodes or an orthopedic problem of swelling on the neck can be the basis.

What is swelling on the neck?

In the case of swelling on the neck, the first thing that matters is whether the lymph nodesthe thyroid gland, the neck area or the region of the uppermost cervical vertebrae are swollen. In an acute, allergic reaction, the entire neck area and face may also swell.

Swelling on the neck therefore has very different reasons and only the family doctor and physicians of different specialties can fathom the exact reasons for them. The neck region is a very sensitive part of the body that connects the head to the rest of the body. Inside the throat are not only the pharyngeal tonsils, the airways and the esophagus, but also the thyroid glands.

In the neck area are the uppermost cervical vertebrae, which are responsible for the stability of the head and also for its movement. This makes this part of the body very susceptible to diseases and swelling on the neck.


In the inner area of the neck are the pharyngeal tonsils, which are part of the human immune system. These pharyngeal tonsils or tonsils can become inflamed, which can cause swelling on the throat.

This is also where the trachea and esophagus run. If these areas are inflamed, there may also be swelling on the neck. The thyroid glands are located in the front right and left in the neck area. They perform important functions in the regulation of metabolic processes. Above all, the iodine balance plays an important role in the health of the thyroid glands, which are noticeable in a swelling on the neck by a goiter.

In this cervical region are also the vocal cords, which are responsible for the speech ability of the human being and which can become inflamed. In the posterior neck area are the top two cervical vertebrae, the atlas and the axis, whose diseases can manifest themselves by swelling on the neck.

Diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & course

A swelling on the neck due to tonsillitis recognizes every doctor by swollen, reddened and suppurated pharyngeal tonsils. The goiter of the thyroid gland is visible to the physician as well as palpable and a blood count secures the diagnosis. The doctor recognizes allergies not only on the swollen throat, but also on facial swellingrashes and shortness of breath.

Inflammation of the oesophagus, trachea and vocal cords is clarified by blood values, by endoscopies and possibly by ultrasound, X-ray, MRI or CT. Inflammation of the musculoskeletal system in the cervical vertebra area is also determined by the physician with fluoroscopy and thorough, physical examination. He also recognizes certain cancers by swelling on the neck and tumor markers in the blood confirm the diagnosis.


Swelling on the neck can have many reasons and can be treated quickly. You should first investigate the cause. If the physician resorts to the wrong treatment method, it can happen that the complications become greater. If the doctor starts to treat with antibiotics, it is important that they are only administered in small batches. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria.

If the patient wants to treat himself afterwards, natural remedies help. Before that, it should be checked whether a possible allergy could be present, such as to iodized salt or ginger. If this is the case, such foods should be avoided. If the patient does not have an allergy, you can work with sea salt and ginger on a daily basis.

A mouthwash with sea salt has an antibacterial effect. The good thing is that anyone can create such a flush at home. With ginger you can create a natural tea. Complications almost never occur with these forms of treatment.

When to go to the doctor?

A swelling on the neck does not necessarily have to be medically clarified. Often the swelling is the accompanying symptom of a cold and disappears on its own as soon as the underlying condition is cured. However, if the swelling persists for several days or even weeks, a doctor’s visit is recommended. This is especially true if accompanying symptoms such as sore throat, nausea or fever are added.

Swelling of the throat associated with difficulty swallowing or shortness of breath indicates a serious vascular disease that needs to be diagnosed and treated. The symptoms may also be based on a tumor disease in the throat or larynx. Therefore, as soon as swelling persists for an unusually long time or is associated with severe symptoms, a doctor must clarify the causes.

In addition to serious diseases, swelling can also be due to a hormonal disorder or a malfunction of the thyroid gland, which worsens without medical measures. A sudden swelling on the neck associated with dizziness or high blood pressure must be treated in the emergency department. In case of severe pain or breathing difficulties, the rescue service should be called in for safety.

Treatment & Therapy

Swelling of the neck caused by bacterial tonsillitis is treated with antibiotics or by removing the pharyngeal tonsils. Treatment of the thyroid gland, the function of which is too high or too low, is initiated with special drugs.

If the swelling on the neck is based on a goiter, then this will have to be surgically removed. Inflammation of the esophagus can have bacterial causes, but there may also be of stomach acid, which entails treatment of the stomach.

The trachea can also become bacterially inflamed, whereby it is first clarified whether there is not even a foreign body in it, which must be surgically removed. Bacteria are often responsible for inflammation of the vocal cords, which makes treatment with antibiotics necessary. In addition to bacterial infections, can also be responsible for all this inflammation.

If necessary, the doctor will also clarify whether there is a tumor in the neck area that needs to be removed, irradiated or combated by chemotherapy. The allergic shock must be treated immediately with antihistamines, which the doctor will inject. Finally, the orthopedist treats diseases of the cervical vertebrae and neck muscles with physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory drugs and, if necessary, surgery.

Outlook & Forecast

Swelling on the neck often occurs in connection with a cold or flu. In addition to fever, sore throat or nausea, the lymph or tonsils swell. After a few days, there is a relief of the symptoms. This happens regardless of whether medical treatment takes place with the administration of medication or the person concerned decides not to seek medical help. Within about 2 weeks, in most cases, the swelling on the neck has completely disappeared.

If the affected person has undergone a dental or orthodontic procedure, the swelling on the neck also completely decreases in the course of the healing process.

If the swelling is a tissue change, the prognosis depends on the benignity of the tissue and the time of diagnosis. In the case of an or cyst, surgical intervention is often performed with the removal of the diseased tissue. Subsequently, it usually comes to a complete recovery of the patient.

In the case of a tumor, the type and severity of the cancer are decisive for the prognosis. The later the cancer is diagnosed, the worse the chances of recovery.


People can prevent swelling on the neck by strengthening their immune system and by refraining from smoking. Good oral hygiene also helps prevent throat swelling. Anyone who attends health checks and preventive examinations from health insurance companies reduces the risk of cancer.

Consuming iodized salt can prevent thyroid disease. Allergy tests and avoidance of allergens prevent allergic shock. Swelling in the neck and neck can also be prevented through exercise and good posture.

You can do that yourself

In case of swelling on the neck, various self-help measures can be taken. If the throat swelling is accompanied by pharyngitis, chamomile and you help. It makes sense to inhale the vapors of the hot tea under a towel and then drink the tea while gargling so that it can act longer in the throat.

If the swelling on the neck with enlarged lymph nodes is due to an infection such as mumps, cool vinegar or lemon compresses or quark wraps can relieve the pain. Envelopes with angelica can also relieve the swelling. The finished ointment from the pharmacy is spread on a linen or cotton cloth and placed on the affected area on the neck. The ointment dressing has a decongestant effect and promotes healing. It should be used one to three times a day.

With throat swelling, it is important to drink a lot and eat only soft food. In addition, careful oral hygiene must be ensured. Saliva stimulants such as chewing gum, candy, lemons and acidic juices stimulate saliva production and cleanse the salivary glands. and various homeopathic remedies can also help with swelling on the neck.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.