Health Tips for Seniors


Archive for March, 2006



Diseases of the neck – Sore Stiff Neck, Enlarged glands

Sore-Stiff Neck. Stiffness in the neck is the usual result of irritation in the muscles, bones and ligaments that make up the spine in the neck region. Sudden soreness or stiffness, of a temporary nature, is often due to the strain of unusual neck-bending activities, such as gardening work and ordinarily a day of rest relieves painful situations as these. Stiffness, or pain in the neck of a recurrent nature, is usually caused by continuing difficulties from sprains, fractures and arthritis or possibly an infection elsewhere in the body, such as, teeth.

The treatment of neck stiffness and soreness depends upon its cause. X-rays may reveal local difficulties in the neck, while examination of the entire body may reveal an infection causing general arthritis or other systemic disease. The only treatment a person should attempt for himself in such matters, is regulation of elimination, diet, proper rest and avoidance of exceptional exercise in the neck region. Continuing soreness and pain in the neck should be investigated by the physician for possible serious underlying disease.

Enlarged Glands in the Neck. Enlarged neck glands commonly follow an infection in the mouth, possibly of the teeth,


Fig. 31. Neck growths and enlargements, present since childhood, often are the result of abnormal development. Fast-growing enlargement at any age is most likely due to infectious processes, but may mean cancerous disease. Goiter moves up and down with the swallowing act and is most often close to the midline.

tongue or pharynx. These enlarged glands, can be felt just below the angle of the jaw, extending straight downward. They are frequently tender to the touch, and if infected, can be painful without being touched at all.

In addition to infection, enlarged neck glands can result from tumor growths in the oral cavity, of the lip, tongue, gum, jaw or tonsil. They may also indicate a cyst within the neck, enlargement of the thyroid gland or systemic lymphoid diseases, such as Hodgkin’s Disease. Any neck enlargement lasting more than a week, may represent serious disease, and the physician should be consulted without delay.




Examining the Neck for problems

The neck

The neck, the support and connection for the head to the body, is also the location of the thyroid gland and many human ills as well.

Examination of the Neck

The neck is examined in a well-lighted position before a close-up wall mirror for clear observation.

1. Note flexibility of the neck. Bend the head slowly frontward and backward, from side to side, and rotate to the right and left. Stiffness or soreness noted in these actions may denote arthritis, irritation of the neck muscles and ligaments, or an infection in the neck.


Fig. 30. The neck contains the body’s important connections for the head and senses. There are many great blood vessels, glands, nerves, breathing tubes, muscles and other structures in this small space. It also may figure prominently as a thing of beauty.

2. Feel for enlarged neck glands. Bend the head back and feel along the sides of the neck muscles, stretching from the breastbone to the mastoid bone. Enlarged glands in this region can be rolled under the fingers, and usually are painful to touch.

3. Feel the region of the thyroid gland. With the thumb and forefinger, press gently on the sides of the windpipe just above the collarbone. Swallow and feel the thyroid gland rise and fall along with the windpipe.




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