Pro Health Web

About Lump At Base Of Neck – Its structure, Causes & More

Image default
Pro Health Web

Lump At Base Of Neck

A neck mass or a lump at the base of the neck is an ambiguous mass found in the neck area. The most common lumps or swellings are enlarged lymph nodes. These can be caused by bacterial or viral infections, cancer (malignancy), or other rare causes. Swollen salivary glands under jaw may be caused by infection or cancer. There are many possible causes, including congenital conditions like branchial anomalies and thyroglossal duct cysts.

Structure Of The Neck

It is mainly distributed in four compartments:

  1. The vertebral compartment contains the cervical vertebrae with cartilaginous discs between each vertebral body. The alignment of the vertebrae defines the shape of the human neck.
  2. The visceral compartment accommodates the trachea, larynx, pharynx, thyroid, and parathyroid glands.
  3. The vascular compartment consists of the two carotid sheaths found on each side of the trachea. Each carotid sheath contains the vague nerve, common carotid artery, and internal jugular vein.
  4. Besides the listed structures, the neck contains cervical lymph nodes surrounding the blood vessels.

Causes of a lump on the back of the neck

The most common causes of a lump on the neck include the following:

Swollen lymph nodes –

 The lymph nodes are the body’s drainage system and trusted Source. They help the immune system eliminate bacteria, viruses, and dead cells. Lymph nodes sometimes swell, especially if the body is fighting an infection. Several lymph nodes run along the back of the neck on either side of the spine. There are also lymph nodes behind each ear. A tender lump about the size of a marble that moves slightly when someone touches it may be a swollen lymph node. Sometimes, lymph nodes swell when there is an infection nearby. Therefore, a swollen lymph node in the neck might indicate an ear infection or an infected cyst. Lymph nodes can also swell for no apparent reason. As long as the swelling disappears, there is no reason to worry.


A nodule is an abnormal tissue growth anywhere in the body. Most cases are not cancerous. For example, nodules that produce a lump in the neck can be due to overuse of the vocal cords (e.g., in singers), the effect of alcohol use on the thyroid gland, and other causes.


Lumps in your neck can also be cysts. They can form almost anywhere in the body. A cyst is not solid and usually feels soft.5Cysts are often benign, but some cancers can be cystic. Many cysts go away on their own.


If you feel a lump in your neck, it could be a lipoma. Lipomas are not cancerous. People who have had one or a family history of lipomas are more likely to get them again.

Goiters or Colloid Nodular Goiters 

Another common reason for feeling a lump in your neck is that you have a goiter. Nodular goiters are lumps on the thyroid gland. They appear in the front of the neck, often just on one side. Since your thyroid moves up and down when you swallow, any goiters and lumps on the thyroid will also move. Goiters often point to a problem with thyroid function, but they can also appear if you have normal thyroid function.

Cancerous Tumors

There are thousands of ways to classify tumor types.  According to the American Cancer Society, fluid-filled projections and easily rolled in the fingers are less likely to be cancerous than those that are hard, irregular, rooted, and painless.


The skin on the back of the neck by the hairline comes into contact with many things that irritate it, including shampoo, residual detergent on clothing, sweat, and hair care products. This skin area is also subject to friction from the hair and clothes. As a result, lumps, bumps, and other skin problems are relatively common here. A chunk can be alarming, especially if it is not within sight. However, many conditions can cause a swollen lump on the back of the neck, including benign causes, such as acne and irritation. One reason sometimes leads to another. For example, a boil on the back of the neck can cause the lymph nodes to swell.