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Lump in Armpit and Back of Neck? Find the Cause and Ways to Treat Them

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Illustration of a person pointing to a lump in their armpit, indicating potential swelling or enlargement of a lymph node

You’ve discovered a lump and aren’t sure if it’s harmless or if you should be concerned – that’s human nature. However, the only way to be worry-free is to have it checked by a doctor. Before you do so, take a closer look at the lump and consider the following questions:

  • Is it pleasant to the touch?
  • Is it transitory?
  • Is it a moving object?
  • Is it getting any smaller?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, your lump is unlikely to be serious. You should, however, have it checked by a doctor.

Why Does A Lump Form in the Armpit and Back of the Neck

Your armpit is located beneath your shoulder joint, where your arm joins the shoulder. It is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and small glands known as lymph nodes. An armpit lump is any abnormal growth on your skin in this area that should not be there.

The most common cause of a lump on back of neck is a swollen lymph node (also known as a lymph gland). Lymph nodes are present in your neck naturally; you just can’t feel them most of the time. However, if you have an infection, such as a cold, ear infection, tonsillitis, or glandular fever, they can swell as your body fights the infection. This is normal, and the swelling should subside as the infection heals. If the swelling does not subside, you should consult a doctor. Lumpiness can occur anywhere on your body. If you find a lump, don’t ignore it.

What Are the Causes?

Lymph Node Enlargement

Your lymph nodes are part of your immune system, and they may swell if your body is fighting an infection. This is a natural defense of your body and a symptom of illness, so rest and stay hydrated to help you recover, by which time your glands should have gone down.


Cysts are fluid-filled lumps that form beneath the skin’s surface. Pilar cysts are cysts that form around hair follicles, such as those under the arm. However, they are more commonly found on your scalp. These cysts are most common in middle-aged women and can run in families. A painful lump in armpit is not dangerous and may go away on its own.


Lipomas are soft fat lumps that form beneath the skin. They don’t appear in the armpit very often, but when they do, they’re nothing to worry about and don’t usually require treatment.

Infection of the Breast

A breast infection (or mastitis) causes inflammation of the breast tissue, and a lump may appear under the arm as a result of the infection spreading to the lymph nodes. It is more common in nursing mothers and usually affects only one breast. You may require antibiotics to treat it, so make an appointment with your doctor.

Other possible causes of a neck lump

A neck lump can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • A problem with your salivary gland, which could be an infection or salivary stones.
  • A thyroid problem – this could be swelling of the gland (goitre) or a thyroid cyst.
  • A skin problem, such as a skin tag, acne with boils, an abscess, or fluid-filled pores.
  • A blood vessel – It is possible for a blood vessel in the neck to enlarge, resulting in the formation of a lump (aneurysm).
  • A lump may be present at birth or develop later in life due to abnormal development.

How to Treat Lumps in Armpit

Your doctor determines the treatment based on the underlying cause of the lump. They may prescribe oral antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. The armpit lump should start to disappear after a few days as your body and the antibiotic fight the infection. If oral antibiotics are ineffective, your doctor may recommend hospitalization for administering intravenous (IV) antibiotics. If your lump is due to allergies, it should go away once you start taking medication and learn to avoid your allergy triggers.

Most armpit and neck lumps do not require treatment and doctors can simply observe them. If your doctor determines that this is the case, you can relieve any discomfort with home remedies such as warm compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers. If the lumps are cancerous, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for further treatment.



About the author:

Happy Kumari is a biotechnologist with Masters degree in Biotechnology. She has pursued her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Amity University, Noida. She aspires to contribute in the field of healthcare and research. Happy has worked at Effectual Knowledge Services as a Patent Associate.

Currently she is associated with Maxinov Solutions Private LTD as Research Analyst and a medical content writer at Diseasefix. Happy’s area of interest includes research in the field of Cancer Biology.

Happy Kumari

Happy Kumari


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