Can Lymph Nodes Cause Pain On The Upper Spine Of Neck?

Swollen-Lymph-Node-in-NeckCommon places to find enlarged lymph nodes are on the neck and in the groin. The ones along the back of the neck are the cervical lymph nodes and occipital lymph nodes. These nodes are along the spine in the back of the neck.

Swollen lymph nodes aren’t always painful but once they are discovered and no matter what the cause is, enlarged lymph glands can cause concern and create anxiety because of their association with cancer. Generally they are responding to an infection in the body and will go about their business without the need of interference or treatment.

When the cause is a serious infection like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) or other illness, it will need to be treated. When the lymph nodes on the neck are near the spine and they swell, it can cause pressure and pain along the spine. It is rare, but the cause may be from lymphoma, which will need to be treated before the pain and pressure from the lymph nodes will be relieved.

Causes of Pain in Upper Spine in Neck

Swollen lymph nodes can cause pain in the neck region but it is not the only cause. There are other ailments that may be the reason for pain in the upper spine. When lymph nodes swell it can be from an infection in the area or from lymphoma, which is cancer of the lymph nodes. Other causes include the following:

  • Meningitis (spinal or aseptic)
  • Disc that is degenerating
  • Strained muscle
  • Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cervical spondylosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Bone spurs
  • Infection of throat or ears
  • Whiplash
  • Viral or bacterial infection

All cancers can cause lymph node involvement, which can include the nodes on the back of the neck near the spine. When they are normal size they will not cause pain but when they are distended, there can be discomfort on the spine. In addition to swelling that persists there may be other signs that lymph nodes need to be checked by a healthcare professional.

When to have Lymph Node Checked and Treated

The lymph nodes will naturally swell and return to their normal size as they perform their function of filtering debris and circulating lymph. When they have a job that is too big to handle like a serious illness, infection, or disease then treatment of the cause will be necessary before the nodes will return to normal size. When the following symptoms of lymph node occur it could be a sign of a serious health issue:

  • Painful
  • Hard, fixed
  • Tender nodes
  • Rapidly growing
  • Rubbery
  • Sudden appearance

Only a healthcare professional will be able to diagnose the cause of the above symptoms. There may be additional symptoms that may accompany lymph node symptoms like sudden weight loss, flu-like symptoms, fever, night sweats, difficulty breathing, and infection. If a physician doesn’t find that the cause is an infection, a virus, or other illness the diagnosis may be lymphoma. To find out more about the relationship between lymph nodes and cancer, go to

Lymphoma and Painful Nodes on the Neck

Though an uncommon cause of pain on the upper spine is from lymph nodes that are swollen from lymphoma, it is possible it may be the cause. Only a physician can diagnose cancer after a thorough exam and the results of testing are received. When this is the case, the affected lymph nodes will need to be removed and a biopsy (dissection) will be done. Removal of a lymph node is called a lymphadenectomy and it is often done as an outpatient procedure.

There are many causes of spinal pain in the neck and one of those causes can be from swollen lymph nodes. The cause of the nodes enlarging is often just a minor infection but it may be from a serious health issue. When concerned about lymph node symptoms a physician should be consulted.


What Is Lymphoma: A Brief Guide

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the lymphocytes, which are white blood cells found in the immune system.  Lymphocytes are B and T cells that recognize infections and abnormal cells then destroy them.

The cells travel through a fluid called lymph throughout the lymphatic system that fights infections and other threats to the body.

When the lymph nodes swell and tenderize, bacterial organisms have collected in them indicating an infection.  The cancer occurs when these cells begin to multiply in an uncontrolled state.


Lymphoma occurs when the B and T cells transform and start to grow and multiply in an uncontrollable way until they form a tumor.  They will form in lymph tissues such as the spleen or tonsils.  These abnormal lymphocytes can also metastasize or spread to other organs throughout the body.  If it spreads to an area outside the lymphatic tissue, it is called extranodal disease.  The danger of these tumors is that they take over tissue space, which deprives them of the nutrients and oxygen they need.

Lymphoma The Two Types

There are two types of lymphoma.  Hodgkin lymphoma develops from a specific line of abnormal B cells.  Non-Hodgkin lymphoma can develop from either B or T cells.  Furthermore, there are 30 subtypes of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and each has its own genetic marker.  While both types of lymphoma appear the same and even have some of the same symptoms, these different strands of lymphoma have microscopic differences.  In fact, the different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma have a complicated classification scheme based on these microscopic differences.


Lymphoma represents just more than 5% of all cancers not including simple basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers.  However, it accounts for more than half of all blood cancers making it the most common type of blood cancer in the country.  Furthermore, people are almost eight times more likely to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma than Hodgkin lymphoma with nearly 54,000 cases of non-Hodgkin reported and about 7,000 cases of Hodgkin diagnosed each year.

Lymph Nodes Swelling

Swelling in the groin, neck or underarm can be indicative of lymphoma.  Swollen arms and legs can also be a symptom if lymph nodes are taking up too much space in the blood vessels, nerves and/or stomach.  Sometimes people feel full and they can also feel numbness or tingling.  There may also be other symptoms that are not specific to lymphoma but may result from the condition.  These symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Itching
  • Lethargy
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss that cannot be explained.


Lymphoma is usually treated through biological therapy, chemotherapy or radiation therapy.  Bone marrow transplants may also be used to treat the disease.  However, treatment can be contingent upon a number of factors including the patient’s age and health status as well as the type of cancer and how much the cancer has spread.  Treatment will also depend upon whether the patient has had previous cancer treatments and other personal characteristics that can affect the treatment.  In some cases, lymphoma may even be curable.

How To Identify Lymph Node Cancer?

Identifying cancer of the lymph nodes is a process. A diagnosis cannot be made simply by feeling an enlarged lymph node or having a doctor identify a swollen lymph node.

In addition to the circulatory system, the body also has a lymph system. This system works in conjunction with the circulatory system to remove debris and waste from the body. Fluid located within this system is simply called lymph.

Lymph nodes are the areas in which the lymph is filtered. Some lymph nodes are deep within the body and others are more superficial. Cancer can be present in the lymph nodes either from cancer that originated in that system or that started elsewhere and travelled to the lymph nodes. Usually the cancer starts elsewhere in the body.

Diagnosis requires a series of steps that should be carefully overseen by a qualified physician. Reading this article you will learn about what lymph nodes are and how to identify lymph node cancer.


Lymph nodes can swell and become enlarged due to cancer and also other conditions like an infection or virus. If you find an enlarged lymph node or your doctor finds one, further investigation is needed. Sometimes there can be cancer cells in a lymph node that is not swollen.

  • Surgery – If a cancer patient has surgery to remove cancerous tissue, the surgeon will usually remove at least one of the nearby lymph nodes. A doctor can also perform a lymph node biopsy with a needle. These nodes or biopsies will be examined under a microscope by a pathologist to determine if they are cancerous as well.
  • Microscope – Under the microscope cancer cells can be identified as to where they came from, such as breast cancer cells. If they are cancerous the likelihood of cancer reoccurrence is higher.
  • PET And CT Scans – Doctors also have the option of using different imaging studies and exams to help identify cancerous cells in the lymph nodes. PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computerized Tomography) scans are often used in cancer patients to help identify potential lymph node cancer deep within the body and near the original cancer sites. Imagining studies are performed frequently throughout the course of cancer treatment.



If you are concerned about one or more of your lymph nodes being enlarged, painful, or feeling irregular, discuss your concerns with your doctor. Your doctor may order additional testing or surgery to help get to the bottom of what is going on. Identifying lymph node cancer should always be left up to the medical professionals.

What You Need To Know About Lymph Nodes Behind Ear

The human body works in such complex ways that it is sometimes difficult to understand just how and why certain parts work the way they do. Take for example lymph nodes behind your ear.

Lymph nodes are tiny organs that are shaped like a bean and are found throughout the body. They are a part of the immune system and consist of white blood cells that help protect against germs and other viruses.

The ones found near the ear fall under two groups. The first one called preauricular nodes are found in front while the ones behind the ear are called sub occipital nodes.

Lymph Nodes Behind Ear Can Swell

The purpose of the lymph nodes is to fight bacteria so whenever your body needs to deal with it, lymph nodes begin to swell because that is their natural response. There are however, other reasons why the lymph nodes behind ear can swell. It could be because of injury, inflammation, and in worse cases it could also be the first signs of cancer.

What To Do For Pain

If you feel some pain on your nodes you should not hesitate to consult a doctor. The most important matter is to treat the underlying cause of the swelling so that it will easily subside. For pain management however, most doctors would recommend mild dosages of pain relievers like Aspirin. You can also apply warm compress on the area just to soothe the pain.

It is also important for you to take a rest from you usual daily activities to help you recover faster. An infection means that your body is doing everything that it can to fight bacteria that is attacking it therefore you will need all the rest that you can get.

Lymph Nodes And Other Symptoms

If you experience swollen lymph nodes along with high fever, night sweats, and rapid weight loss then it could be a sign of something more serious and will need immediate medical attention. Lymph nodes behind ear usually mean that there is an infection in any of the following areas:

  • Scalp
  • Sinuses
  • Nose
  • Eyes
  • Skin

Untreated pain behind the ear could lead to hearing loss and other more severe forms of infection so this matter should not be taken lightly.


In more serious cases, the swelling of the nodes can actually be a tumor and a doctor will recommend for a biopsy and the lymph node will have to be removed. If you are just experiencing an infection swelling will usually subside in a matter of a week and it will return to its normal size after the symptoms have been taken care of.