Lump on Back of Neck and Head – Causes and Treatment


What is Lump on Back?

According to research, the reported cases of patients having lumps on the back are very minimal. In fact, this condition is of very rare occurrence. Most often of the cases reported are not of a serious kind. At times, you might even find that a lump is present and within days, it will disappear even without medical interventions. Hence, this kind of lump is part of the not serious category. Hence, you need not be alarmed. However, there are painful or discolored lumps that don’t disappear quickly and will persist for a longer duration. You need to let the physician evaluate this lumps as soon as possible to be able to know the reason behind it.

Lump on Back

Picture 1 – Lump on Back

Lump on Back Causes

The lumps on the back can be either be found in the neck or head part. As we go along, the possible reasons or the etiologies will be discussed.

Lump on Back of Neck Causes

There are two primary reasons why there are lumps in the neck. The reasons are broken down into due to a swollen lymph nodes and salivary gland enlargement.

Swollen Lymph Node. Under the swollen lymph node category, the lumps of the neck might be due to bacteria, cancer, and thyroid, viral and allergic reaction in origin.

Salivary Gland Enlargement. Under the Salivary Gland Enlargement is the infection, mumps, salivary gland tumor and stone in salivary duct which all leads to having a manifestation of lumps in the neck region.

It may be Bacterial in origin which may be due to:

  • Atypical Mycobacterium. It is a type of bacteria that also affects the HIV patients who has a CD4 count of 50 or less. This kind of bacteria when shown positive in a person will manifest swelling and painless lymph nodes in the neck area.
  • Cat Scratch Disease. This kind of disease is due to the fact that a cat has scratched a person. After being scratch by a cat, within three to five days the signs will appear. One sign will be developing a red bump. It will later progress into non-itching papules and then will turn into crust after three days and will eventually heal with a scar. Three to four weeks after being scratched, the person will manifest solitary lymphadenopathy or having enlarged lymph nodes. This will be painful but rest assured that it will resolve after four months maximum.
  • Pharyngitis. This disease condition is an inflammation of the pharynx or the tonsils. It is a viral and self limiting disease. When it becomes severe, it may lead to having tender lymph node enlargement on both sides of the neck.
  • Peritonsillar Abcess or Strep Throat. It is an extension of the infection of the tonsils which is beyond the capsule. It also has abscess formation which is located behind or above the tonsil region. It can cause swelling or lump in the neck which is tender to touch.
  • Tuberculosis. This disease condition usually affects the lung. Systemically the tuberculosis can affect any part of the human body. If this condition is present in the nodes of the neck, it will result to a large lump having an irregular margin.
  • Tonsillitis. It is an infection of one or both the tonsils. When a person has this disease condition, it will manifest swelling or a lump in the neck area.

It may be due to Cancer such as:

  • Hodgkin’s and Non- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. These are known tumors of the immune system. Both disease condition share similar symptom that the patient manifests, which is the swelling or the lump found in the neck. The neck has a region where lymph nodes can be found. When these lymph nodes are infected, it enlarges and causes lumps or swelling in the neck.
  • Leukemia. In leukemia, the white blood increases in number. Hence, this might signify the start of the inflammation process. One of the sign of inflammation process is having lumps or swelling in areas of the body. Some of these lumps might be found in the neck region.
  • Mouth Cancer. Oral or mouth cancer is a tumor located in the mouth. Once the tumor progresses, it will manifest sore or lumps in the neck area especially if it is in the advanced state.

It may also be due to Thyroid problems such as:


  • Thyroid Cancer. Lumps of the neck may be due to Thyroid cancer. It is an abnormal thyroid tissue with uncontrollable proliferation and it has a tendency of invading the lymph nodes that are found in the neck. Hence, causing the lumps which when felt will feel non-tender and hard.
  • Goiter. Enlargement of the thyroid gland is called as Goiter. When one has this disease condition, he or she will manifest lump or swelling of the neck region.
  • Grave’s Disease. When one has Grave’s Disease, will manifest similar to the Goiter patients. Compared to goiter, this disease is autoimmune and is primarily due to thyroid gland over activity.

It may be Viral in origin which may be associated with:

  • AIDS. The AIDS which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is the final and last stage of HIV disorder. This will target and damage the immune system per se. Since it will damage the immune system, it will lead to inflammatory process. One inflammatory process is swelling of the lymph gland which will manifest lumps in the neck.
  • HIV disease. It is a condition that is primarily caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus will cause injury to the immune system which will make it harder for the body to fight opportunistic infections. It will lead to the person having swelling or lump of the neck.
  • Infectious Mononucleosis. This disease condition is caused by a member of the herpes virus family. It will lead to the manifestation of swollen of lymph nodes which will lead to lump of the neck.

Other causes may be due to Allergic Reaction

This allergic reaction will target the inflammatory process which will lead to having a swelling or lump of the neck, which is one of the symptoms under the inflammatory process.

Lump on Back of Head Causes

In some instances, it is difficult to tell that you have a lump in your back of the head or head lumps for that matter, with just one look. The lumps on the back of your head may be due to the following:

Lump on back of head

Picture 2 – Lump on back of head

Dermatitis. It is when the skin of the scalp found in the head becomes inflamed and itchy. It can then lead to weeping of fluid that when it dries, it will form in to crust leading to lumps in the head.

Skin Cancer. Some of the skin cancer may appear on the head particularly in the scalp region. When it appears in the scalp it can be described as a growth like a bump or lump in the head.

Cysts. Epidermal or sebaceous cysts are caused by a duct located at the basement of the hair shaft that was clogged. It will also lead to having lumps on the head portion.

Hive. Hives are due to allergic reaction. It will be manifested in large red bumps or lumps.

Lump on Back Treatment

Lump on Back of Neck Treatment

  • Pharmacological Intervention. When the etiology of the lumps of the back of the neck is due to bacteria or viral cause, antibiotics may be given. You may also give anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling.
  • Surgical Intervention. When despite pharmacological intervention has been done, yet the lump is not resolved or treated. Then, the last option left would be its Surgical Intervention.

Lump on Back of Head Treatment

  • Medication. When the etiology of the lump of the back of the neck is due to dermatitis, you can use medical shampoos out in the market such as ketoconazole.
  • Surgery. If the cause of the lump of the back of the head is due to cyst, malignant or benign in nature. Then it is necessary to remove it as soon as possible to prevent the spread of the cyst.


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