CERVICAL LYMPH NODES

CERVICAL LYMPH NODES

WHAT HAS CAUSED YOUR CERVICAL LYMPH NODES TO SWELL? KNOW WHAT CAN BE THE RIGHT TREATMENT HERE

CERVICAL LYMPH NODES – Spine is an integral part of the nervous system. Of the many parts a spine can be divided into, cervical is a term used to refer to the beginning of a spinal cord. 

A lot many problems are associated with the spine. One such condition which when spoken with regards to the cervical region is known is cervical lymphadenopathy.

Sounds difficult, but is easy to understand. Left untreated and it may cause you your life. Facts show that above the age of 40, there’s a 4 percent chance of it being cancerous.

BRUSHING UP THE CONCEPTS

Meaning of the key terms:

  • Cervical region of the spine: This is the top most region of the spinal cord. In layman’s terms, the cervical spine is a reference to the neck region that is immediately below the skull. It consists of 7 vertebrae ranging from C1 to C7. Fun fact: two of them actually have names – C1 being called ‘atlas’ and C2 being called ‘axis’.
  • Cervical Lymph nodes: Given that the human body has lymph nodes in all the direction regions of the body, their presence in the spine is no surprise. Lymph nodes are like the soldiers of the lymphatic system, that transmit fluid containing while blood cells or as they are scientifically called lymphocytes. The cervical lymph node, like any other, is a barrier against infections. Lymph nodes are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. When large in number, they are referred to as the cervical group of lymph nodes.
  • Cervical lymphadenopathy: It refers to swelling or enlargement of the lymph nodes.

READ ABOUT SPINAL STENOSIS >>

WHY DO THEY SWELL?

This condition of swelling of cervical lymph nodes is known as lymphadenopathy. There are many reasons for the swelling of the cervical lymph nodes. Few of the most common causes listed below as: 

  • The local causes:
  1. Infection: Infection is the primary reason for the swelling of the cervical lymphs.  The presence of infection causing pathogens is followed by the accumulation of white blood cells in the region. Bronchitis, common cold , salivary gland infection, dental infection can be a few types.
  • The systemic causes:
  1. Cancer: In a few cases, the swelling points out cancer. These cancers are called lymphomas. If the situation holds true, one may experience fever, fatigue, abnormal weight loss and the presence of enlarged lymph nodes.
  2. Autoimmune disorder: Many autoimmune disorders like Lupus can be a reason for the swelling. Kawasaki disease is another most prevalent cause of lymphadeno[athy in kids. 
  3. Other chronic infections: Infections like Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome commonly known as AIDS, pulmonary tuberculosis are few of the many that can cause swelling of lymph nodes.

WHAT ARE THE LEVELS OF CERVICAL LYMPH NODES?

This condition is divided into six distinct cervical lymph nodes levels depending upon the site of malignancy:

  • Submental and submandibular group: 
    1. Level 1A: lower lip, floor of mouth, lower gum
    2. Level 1B: face, nose, oral cavity, submandibular gland and paranasal sinuses
  • Upper internal jugular group: oral cavity, oropharynx, nasopharynx, hypopharynx, supraglottic larynx
  • Middle internal jugular group: thyroid, larynx, hypopharynx, supraglottic larynx
  • Lower internal jugular group: thyroid, larynx, hypopharynx, cervical esophagus
  • Posterior triangle group: nasopharynx, thyroid, esophagus, lungs, breast
  • Central or anterior compartment: lower lip, oral cavity, thyroid, glottic and subglottic larynx, apex of pyriform sinus, cervical esophagus

 

WHEN TO VISIT A DOCTOR?

Visit the doctor as soon as the onset of the following symptoms:

  1. Abnormal weight loss
  2. Fever
  3. Pain and swelling 
  4. Fatigue
  5. Night sweats
  6. A single or multiple hard lymph nodes

 

HOW CAN THEY BE DIAGNOSED?

A neck checkup by a medical professional is the first step towards the diagnosis of cervical lymph nodes. The process involves ultrasounds, CT scan, blood tests, X-rays and MRI.

The next step involves the examining of the surrounding regions – salivary glands, tonsils, mouth etc.The process involved in the diagnosis are ultrasounds, CT scan, blood tests, X-rays and MRI.

 

THE AVAILABLE TREATMENTS FOR SWOLLEN CERVICAL LYMPH NODES.

The painless swollen nodes do not need specified treatment. It is the painful ones that are problematic. The treatment is entirely dependent on the causes for the swollen lymph nodes.

  • ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT:
    1. The local infections:
      • These can be treated by a series of treatments like:
        1. Warm and wet compress: it helps in dealing with the pain
        2. Antibiotics: A 10 day course of cephalexin, clindamycin and so on.
        3. Antivirals to treat fever arising due to the nodes.
        4. A lot of rest is also advised.
    2. Autoimmune conditions:
      • Can be treated using anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen or aspirin can be helpful.
    3. In cancer related lymphadenopathy:
      • Following can be the suitable treatment:
        1. Chemotherapy to shrink the tissue as well as killing the cancer cells.
        2. Radiotherapy using radiation to kill the cancer cells.
        3. Immunotherapy by increasing the production of immune cells in the region to kill the cancer cells. 
        4. Surgical removal therapy called lymphadenectomy for removing the cancer cells after the biopsy of the lymph nodes.
  • AYURVEDIC TREATMENT:
    Enriched with the goodness of herbs, ayurveda offers various medications that help in treatment in the most natural ways. The herbs included in the treatment are:
    1. Ashwagandha to boost the immunity, reducing stress and strengthening the internal system of the body.
    2. Curcumin to reduce inflammation and swelling, muscle ache and fight infections.
    3. Other herbs like amalaki, haritaki, shunti, pipali and others for their anti-cancerous properties.
  • HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT:
    Another way of dealing with the problem by eliminating the root cause of the problem. The advised medications under homeopathy may include the following:
    1. Bromium to treat swelling.
    2. Gelsemium and carbo animalis to deal with enlargement and inflammation of the nodes
    3. Calcarea Iodata is a well known remedy for swollen cervical lymph nodes.
    4. Calcarea flour helps in dealing with hard lymph nodes.
    5. Calcarea carb for dealing with nodes that might discharge puss.
    6. Belladonna to deal with painful nodes.
    7. Others like mercurius iodide, iodium etc.

 

CAN SWELLING OF CERVICAL LYMPH NODES BE FATAL?

Generally and in most cases, this condition is not fatal. They can, however, refer to the presence of more serious underlying problems in the body. They can be chronic conditions or autoimmune diseases. To name one, let us consider cancer.

 

CONCLUSION

The evolution in medicines has opened various paths for our problems. From herbal treatments to surgeries, every branch has something to offer. 

While choosing a treatment is only a matter of choice and in accordance with the severity of the condition, the gist lies in availing a treatment as soon as it is discovered. 

Cervical lymphadenopathy is not a condition to play with. It is absolutely essential to be treated immediately. With the perfect medical advice, mental well being, faith and by following what is told, it isn’t hard to fight a condition like this.

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