Head bone's connected to what now?
June 3, 2011 10:26 AM   Subscribe

Am I just stupid about neck anatomy or are these neck lumps abnormal?

This may well be a really stupid question - but here goes. Directly below the jawline, about halfway between the chin and the back of the jaw on each side, I feel two symmetrical bumps. They're very firm and they lift up when I swallow. They aren't really visible at all externally. Are these lymph nodes? Bones? Muscles? I noticed them because one of them seemed a little tender a few days ago, although that's totally gone now. I had a minor infection a few weeks ago, but nothing lymph-nodey like that since. If these are lymph nodes, I assume I should go to a doctor? I don't mind going at all - I just would rather prefer an unknown internet commenter to a doctor if the answer is just "Those are bones, you ponce."
posted by UncleBoomee to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If they are not there anymore could have been swollen lymph nodes or swollen glands.
posted by majortom1981 at 10:28 AM on June 3, 2011

Those are lymph nodes, you ponce.

More than likely they are a little swollen because you were sick. Go see a doctor and get it checked out.
posted by TheBones at 10:29 AM on June 3, 2011

So they are not right where the jaw intersects the neck, instead they are sort of under where your bottom row of teeth are? I have them too! I had assumed that they were sort of muscle-tendon stuff.

IANAD, but IME in general symmetrical things that do not hurt or change are not super worrisome.

I don't go to the doctor just because my lymph nodes are swollen - if I had one swollen lymph node that stayed swollen or grew - especially under the arm, because of breast cancer - I would go, but not for generalized temporary swelling and no other serious symptoms.
posted by Frowner at 10:30 AM on June 3, 2011

They are lymph nodes, and my husband's are always slightly swollen even though there is nothing wrong with him.
posted by something something at 10:36 AM on June 3, 2011

I have one that swelled up randomly when I was 16 and hasn't really decreased (or increased) in size since. (I'm 28 now.) I freaked out and went to the doctor at the time, and I mention it at yearly checkups, but I'm still around and have always been told there's no cause for alarm.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:41 AM on June 3, 2011

Are they about the size of grapes? And directly under the jaw line, so it's less like your neck and more like the fleshy stuff under your jaw? Because if so, I think they're your submandibular salivary glands, rather than lymph nodes, and they're normal (especially if they're symmetrical).
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:46 AM on June 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

It sounds a lot like what Infinity said. Hooray, I'm a ponce!
posted by UncleBoomee at 11:42 AM on June 3, 2011

Some people can sqeeze 'em and squirt saliva into their mouths.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:52 AM on June 3, 2011

infinitywaltz: "Some people can sqeeze 'em and squirt saliva into their mouths."

I can. In fact if I don't they get clogged up and painful. I can do it just by shrugging my shoulders.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:24 AM on June 4, 2011

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