Read below about swollen neck, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your swollen neck from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen neck

Take a quiz

5 Potential Swollen Neck Causes

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.

  1. 1.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.

    3 months of physical therapy.

    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
  2. 2.Rheumatoid Arthritis

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of function in your joints. It can affect any joint but is common in the wrist and fingers. RA is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that it is caused by the immune system incorrectly attacking the joints when it shouldn't.

    RA is a chronic disease which requires lifelong control.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, joint pain, muscle aches, daytime sleepiness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Swollen Neck Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen neck.

    Take a quiz
  3. 3.Branchial Cleft Anomaly

    A branchial cleft anomaly (abnormality) is a mass of unusual tissues within the neck. These tissues may form fluid-filled pockets called cysts, or they may form passages (called fistulas) that drain to an opening in the skin.

    Good prognosis if surgically corrected, with no issues later in life.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, neck bump, painful neck lump, trouble swallowing, swollen neck
    Symptoms that never occur with branchial cleft anomaly:
    bleeding from the ear
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Acute Thyroiditis

    Acute thyroiditis is a rare inflammation of the thyroid gland caused by an infection, radiation, medication, or trauma.

    2 weeks - 2 months with treatment

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    sore throat, fever, being severely ill, hoarse voice, pain in the front of the neck
    Symptoms that always occur with acute thyroiditis:
    pain in the front of the neck
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  5. 5.Retropharyngeal Abscess (Adult)

    Retropharyngeal abscess is a collection of pus in the tissues in the back of the throat. It is a potentially life-threatening medical condition.

    Good prognosis if caught early

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    sore throat, loss of appetite, fever, shortness of breath, being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Swollen Neck

  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.If you touch the swollen area, is there pain?
  • Q.Do food or drinks get stuck when you swallow?
  • Q.Do you have a sore throat?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our swollen neck symptom checker to find out more.

Take a quiz

Swollen Neck Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced swollen neck have also experienced:

    • 5% Neck Bump
    • 4% Sore Throat
    • 4% Swollen Face
  • People who have experienced swollen neck had symptoms persist for:

    • 32% Less Than a Week
    • 25% Over a Month
    • 25% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced swollen neck were most often matched with:

    • 4% Branchial Cleft Anomaly
    • 4% Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having swollen neck

Take a quiz