Symptoms A-Z

Hard Neck Lump Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your hard neck lump symptoms, including 9 causes & common questions.

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9 Possible Hard Neck Lump Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced hard neck lump. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Skin cyst

A cyst is a small sac or lump, filled with fluid, air, fat, or other material, that begins to grow somewhere in the body for no apparent reason. A skin cyst is one that forms just beneath the skin.

It's believed that skin cysts form around trapped keratin cells – the cells that form the relatively tough outer layer of the skin.

These cysts are not contagious.

Anyone can get a skin cyst, but they are most common in those who are over age 18, have acne, or have injured the skin.

Symptoms include the appearance of a small, rounded lump under the skin. Cysts are normally painless unless infected, when they will be reddened and sore and contain pus.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination. A small cyst can be left alone, though if it is unsightly or large enough to interfere with movement it can be removed in a simple procedure done in a doctor's office. An infected cyst must be treated so that the infection does not spread.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: skin-colored armpit bump, marble sized armpit lump, small armpit lump

Symptoms that always occur with skin cyst: skin-colored armpit bump

Urgency: Wait and watch

Congenital wryneck

Torticollis is commonly known as "wry neck." In congenital muscular torticollis, a child is born with a neck that tilts toward one shoulder, and the chin rotates toward the other shoulder.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: neck bump, swollen neck, head tilting to one side with chin rotated to opposite direction, difficulty moving the neck, hard neck lump

Symptoms that always occur with congenital wryneck: head tilting to one side with chin rotated to opposite direction, difficulty moving the neck

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Non-hodgkin lymphoma

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that results from the malignant proliferation of white blood cells. White blood cells are a part of our bodies’ immune system and are important for fighting infection. Lymphomas are sub-classified as Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin lymphomas. These subtypes...

Hodgkin's lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma, formerly known as Hodgkin's lymphoma or Hodgkin's disease, is cancer of the lymphatic system. It is believed to be caused by a mutation in one of the body's immune system cells, called a B cell.

Most susceptible are those under age 30 or over age 55, with a family history of the disease, as well as anyone with a history of any illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.

Symptoms include swelling of lymph nodes in groin, armpits, and neck; lowered tolerance to drinking alcohol, including pain in lymph nodes afterwards; unintended weight loss; fever; chills; night sweats; and itching.

There are good treatments available for Hodgkin lymphoma, so it is important to see a medical provider about these symptoms as soon as possible.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination; blood tests; imaging such as x-ray, CT scan, or PET scan; and sometimes lymph node biopsy and/or bone marrow sample.

Treatment involves a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Bone marrow transplant, also called stem cell transplant, can be done in some cases.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal pain (stomach ache), shortness of breath, fever

Symptoms that never occur with hodgkin's lymphoma: pulsing armpit mass, armpit lump that comes and goes, shrinking armpit lump, pink or red armpit bump, black or brown armpit bump, yellow or white armpit bump, bleeding armpit bump, armpit bump leaking yellow or milky fluid, armpit bump leaking clear fluid, scabbed armpit bump, scaly armpit bump, neck lump that comes and goes, shrinking neck bump, pink or red neck bump, black or brown neck bump, yellow or white neck bump, bleeding bump, bump leaking clear fluid, neck bump leaking yellow/milky fluid, scabbed bump, scaly neck bump, pulsing chest mass, chest lump that comes and goes, shrinking chest bump, pink or red chest bump, black or brown mass on chest, yellow or white chest bump, blue bump on the chest, bleeding chest bump, chest bump leaking clear fluid, chest bump leaking yellow/milky fluid, scabbed chest bump, scaly chest bump, pulsing groin mass, groin lump that comes and goes, shrinking groin lump, pink or red groin bump, black or brown groin bump, yellow or white groin bump, inflamed groin bump, scaly groin bump, bleeding groin bump, groin bump producing clear fluid, groin bump producing yellow or milky fluid

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Hard Neck Lump Symptom Checker

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Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck

Enlarged lymph nodes occur when the node becomes larger as it fills with inflammatory cells. This often is a result of an infection but can occur without a known cause.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: neck bump, movable neck lump

Symptoms that always occur with enlarged lymph nodes in the neck: neck bump

Symptoms that never occur with enlarged lymph nodes in the neck: unintentional weight loss, fever, hard neck lump

Urgency: Phone call or in-person visit

Head and neck cancer

There are five main types of head and neck cancer, which are all named according to the part of the body where they develop: laryngeal (voice box), nasal cavity and sinus, nasopharyngeal (air passage way behind the nose), oral (mouth), and salivary gland cancers. Most of these cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), meaning they begin in the flat (squamous) cells that make up the thin surface layer of the structures in the head and neck.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, hoarse voice, neck bump, ear canal pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Skin abscess

A skin abscess is a large pocket of pus that has formed just beneath the skin. It is caused by bacteria getting under the skin, usually through a small cut or scratch, and beginning to multiply. The body fights the invasion with white blood cells, which kill some of the infected tissue but form pus within the cavity that remains.

Symptoms include a large, red, swollen, painful lump of pus anywhere on the body beneath the skin. There may be fever, chills, and body aches from the infection.

If not treated, there is the risk of an abscess enlarging, spreading, and causing serious illness.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

A small abscess may heal on its own, through the body's immune system. But some will need to be drained or lanced in a medical provider's office so that the pus can be cleaned out. Antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Keeping the skin clean, and using only clean clothes and towels, will help to make sure that the abscess does not recur.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash

Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess: rash with bumps or blisters

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis means the growth of tiny granulomas, which are collections of inflammatory cells. They are most common in the lungs, skin, and eyes.

The condition is thought to be an autoimmune response, meaning that the body turns against itself for unknown reasons.

Sarcoidosis can affect anyone. It is most common in women of African descent from age 20 to 40.

Symptoms include fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and unexplained weight loss. There is often dry cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest pain. The skin may show unusual sores or bumps. Eyes may be reddened and painful, with blurred vision.

These symptoms should be seen by a medical provider, since sarcoidosis can cause organ damage if left untreated.

Diagnosis is made through careful physical examination, blood tests, lung function tests, eye examination, and sometimes biopsy and chest x-ray.

Treatment involves corticosteroid medication; drugs to suppress the immune system; and sometimes surgery. There is no cure for sarcoidosis, but it can be managed. Some cases will clear up on their own.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, headache, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, joint pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is a slow-growing form of skin cancer. Skin cancer falls into two major groups: Non-melanoma and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: facial skin changes, pink or red facial bump, small facial lump, painless facial bump, growing facial lump

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Hard Neck Lump

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • What color is the bump?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Do you feel pain when you touch the bump?
  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your hard neck lump

Hard Neck Lump Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced hard neck lump have also experienced:

  • 7% Fatigue
  • 4% Painful Neck Lump
  • 3% Pain In The Back Of The Neck

People who have experienced hard neck lump were most often matched with:

  • 57% Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • 42% Congenital Wryneck

People who have experienced hard neck lump had symptoms persist for:

  • 33% Less than a week
  • 31% Over a month
  • 16% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Hard Neck Lump Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your hard neck lump

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.