We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are the Common Causes of Neck Swelling?

By Marisa O'Connor
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Neck swelling is usually caused by enlarged glands in the neck, specifically the lymph glands, thyroid, and tonsils. The lymph glands and tonsils can be infected by virus or bacteria, such as mononucleosis, strep throat, and upper respiratory infections. The thyroid gland can become diseased or dysfunctional, as in the case of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, and cause swelling. A swollen neck might also be caused by allergies.

A diseased thyroid gland is one of the most common causes of neck swelling. The thyroid gland is located at the lower front region of the neck. Any disease that affects the thyroid gland can result in swelling of the gland and the neck by proximity. Hypothyroidism, which is a failure to produce a sufficient amount of hormones, is one cause of gland swelling. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is an over-production of hormones and can also cause gland and neck swelling.

Neck swelling may also be caused by mononucleosis, also called mono. The swollen appearance and feeling in the neck is caused by swollen lymph glands. The lymph nodes are an important part of the human immune system, and when an infection is present the lymph glands tend to swell up. Mono is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. Other symptoms of mononucleosis are fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite.

Sore throat is a common cause of neck swelling. A sore throat can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Swelling in the tonsils and the lymph nodes is symptomatic of a sore throat, which may appear as swelling in the neck. Symptoms of a sore throat are pain while swallowing and sharp, dull, or scratching sensations. If tonsillitis is the cause of sore throat, surgery is required to remove the infected tonsils.

A strep throat infection is also a common cause of neck swelling. Strep throat is a bacterial infection, specifically the streptococcus bacteria. The lymph glands and the tonsils both tend to swell when this infection is present. In fact, just about any upper respiratory infection can cause the lymph glands or the tonsils to swell. This is a sign that the immune system is responding to the infection.

Allergies can also cause a swollen neck. The skin itself may produce an allergic reaction, such as a rash, which usually includes some swelling. Food allergies can cause the throat to swell up. Any allergic reaction in the neck region can also cause the lymph glands to swell.

Cancer is a less common cause of neck swelling. Cancerous lymph nodes, as seen in Hodgkin's disease, may produce a swollen appearance and sensation in the neck. Thyroid cancer also produces swelling in the neck, commonly called a goiter. The swelling is a result of tumors growing in and around the glands.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Hymnomove — On Jan 28, 2014

Jolecter, as Ledgenderous said, talk to a doctor if you are worried. Most likely, the swelling in your neck will subside whenever you get over what is causing your glands or tonsils to swell. You could probably try ice or some kind of anti-inflammatory medication (like ibuprofen) to improve the neck swelling as well though.

By Ledgenderous — On Jan 27, 2014

If you have neck swelling only on one side, whether it be the right or the left side, it probably means that one side of your lymph glands or tonsils is more swollen than the other. Even if both glands or tonsils are swollen, this doesn't mean that they are necessarily going to react and swell the same way based on whatever is bothering them (such as strep, or some other kind of infection). If you are worried though, I suggest that you go speak to a doctor about your symptoms.

By Jolecter — On Jan 26, 2014

What if you just have neck swelling on the right side?

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.