Cervical Lymph Node Pain

What Causes Tenderness On Front Or Side Of Neck?

Tenderness on front or side of neck can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose tenderness on front or side of neck, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "tenderness on front or side of neck" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes
  • CLL Leukemia
  • Lymphatic Congestion
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Infectious Mononucleosis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
history of CFS diagnosis
current sore throat
occasional rashes
shortness of breath when at rest
resolved atypical recent headaches
infrequent earaches
frequent swollen inguinal nodes
chronic dry cough
frequent unexplained vomiting
history of non-vaginal candidiasis
edema of the eyelids
chronic diarrhea
... and more than 80 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of tenderness on front or side of neck:
Cause Probability Status
Lymphatic Congestion 98% Confirm
Hodgkin's Lymphoma 25% Unlikely
CLL Leukemia 12% Unlikely
Infectious Mononucleosis 1% Ruled out
HIV/AIDS 0% Ruled out
Enlarged Lymph Nodes 0% Ruled out
Epstein-Barr Virus 0% Ruled out
Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate recent swollen/painful lymph nodes, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
SIDES OR FRONT OF NECK: Do you have any tender or painful lymph nodes here?
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No
→ Often, but not right now
→ 1-2 lymph nodes painful
→ 3 or more lymph nodes painful
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no painful cervical nodes, frequent painful cervical nodes, painful cervical nodes or multiple painful cervical nodes, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Enlarged Lymph Nodes

Enlarged Lymph Nodes also suggests the following possibilities:

... and also rule out issues such as:
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