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):
  • CLL Leukemia
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes
  • Lymphatic Congestion
  • Vasectomy Side-Effects
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hodgkin's Lymphoma

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:
frequent painful inguinal nodes
painful inguinal nodes
frequent swollen axillary nodes
minor joint pain/swelling/stiffness
history of adult allergies
history of Hodgkin's lymphoma
history of candidiasis
excessive thirst
occasional confusion/disorientation
red palms/fingertips
Latin / Hispanic ethnicity
much reduced sense of smell
... and more than 60 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
Hodgkin's Lymphoma 92% Confirm
Lymphatic Congestion 29% Unlikely
Vasectomy Side-Effects 26% Unlikely
CLL Leukemia 1% Ruled out
Sarcoidosis 0% Ruled out
Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) 0% Ruled out
HIV/AIDS 0% Ruled out
Enlarged Lymph Nodes 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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