Lymph nodes are the bean-shaped glands that are located throughout the body. They are often found in clusters and can be found in the neck, underarm, thighs, or torso. When they are swollen, you can feel these clusters as bumps. Since they are part of the lymphatic system, they play a vital role in the function of the human body.
Take time to learn about swollen lymph nodes and when you need to be concerned about it.
What are swollen lymph nodes?
Swollen lymph nodes are an indicator that your body is fighting off an infection or some type of illness. The lymph fluid passes in and out of these nodes to be distributed throughout your body. Along the way, it could collect harmful matter such as bacteria or viruses. It also contains immune cells that help fight off the infection.
Whenever there is swelling, it could indicate temporary infection. It happens as a result of immune cell activity. The location of the swelling can point you towards the affected area.
The size of swelling can vary – it can be as small as a pea or as big as cherry. You will know when you have swollen lymph nodes because it is painful to the touch (or cause pain when you perform certain movements).
Symptoms of swollen lymph nodes
There are several symptoms that indicate you could be suffering from swollen lymph nodes. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Tenderness in the affected area
- Pain when touched or when walking or bending
- The presence of lumps
These are the other symptoms that could vary depending on the cause of the swelling:
- Runny Nose
- Sore Throat
- Night Sweats
Can TMJ cause swollen lymph nodes?
There are many potential causes for lymph nodes to become swollen. As mentioned above, it can be an indicator that there is an infection. Therefore, the presence of swollen lymph nodes means that you have to look at other potential health problems or infection in the body – instead of it being the actual condition.
Can TMJ cause swollen lymph nodes? This is one of the most common questions you are likely to encounter if you have this particular issue. As it turns out, swollen lymph nodes are one of the symptoms of TMJ.
The location of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) makes it prone to various complications. This is a complex joint that moves like a hinge. The cartilage acts as a cushion for the joints while also absorbing shock. Whenever that disk erodes or it is misaligned, it can cause some restrictions to the movement of the jaw.
One more potential issue that could arise from your TMJ is the erosion of the cartilage. When this happens, it is no longer able to provide the cushion to the joint as it moves. Any type of damage to the joints can also lead to this type of disorder.
Other lifestyle habits can further complicate the function of the TMJ such as teeth grinding and clenching your jaw. These habits can build tension in your jaw area and the surrounding joints. When there is tension for an extended period of time, this can cause spasm to your joints. Any disruption in the function of your TMJ can result in swollen lymph nodes. When the lymph nodes are swollen, this can result in pain in the face, neck, or jaw area.
If TMJ is not the cause of your swollen lymph nodes, it can either be due to viral or bacterial infections. A tooth abscess can result when bacteria enters the pulp of your tooth. This causes pus to develop in your tooth. When untreated, the infection can spread to your jaw area and bones of your teeth. This can be manifested by swollen lymph nodes.
Other possible causes of swollen lymph nodes are tooth extraction, tonsillitis, mumps, problems in your salivary glands, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
When to see a doctor
Swollen lymph nodes are not something that you can easily neglect. If the symptoms persist, it is best to see a doctor right away. This is an indicator of a type of infection or other illnesses, which is another reason why you have to get it checked out by a doctor.
If your swollen lymph nodes continue to enlarge or have not reduced in size for more than two weeks, then you should definitely see a doctor. It is also important to consult a doctor when it is accompanied by persistent fever, weight loss, or chills. If you notice that it moves when you push on the swollen lymph nodes or it feels rubbery, you should take it seriously.