Do you have a lump in your neck, back, or behind your ears? What does that mean!

Lumps behind the ears can occur for a variety of reasons. Most lumps are relatively benign, but sometimes they can be a sign of a more serious condition. A lump behind the ear can be hard or soft. Some are sensitive to touch, while others are painless. Let’s look at some of the causes of lumps behind the ears, possible treatments, and when to see a doctor.

A common infection causes a bump behind the ear
Lumps behind the ears are often caused by colds, flu, sore throats, and respiratory infections. This is because the lymph nodes behind the ear become swollen and inflamed due to infection. In most cases, swollen glands are not a cause for concern. If it goes away on its own or is caused by a bacterial infection, it can be easily treated with antibiotics. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers for any discomfort. You can easily find these at Smith’s Pharmacy or other local pharmacies.

If the infection is more serious, the lymph nodes may become enlarged, swollen, red, and painful.

A serious infection that causes a lump behind the ear is mastoiditis. Mastoiditis is a bacterial infection of the mastoid behind the ear. This usually happens when a middle ear infection is left untreated and spreads. It usually occurs in young children, but mastoiditis can occur at any age. Symptoms of mastoiditis are:

Severe pain behind the ear
ear canal
Fever
Headache
If mastoiditis is not treated, it can lead to hearing loss, meningitis, blood clots, and paralysis of the facial nerve. If you experience symptoms of mastoiditis, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

Skin diseases and non-cancerous masses
In addition to infections, many skin conditions can cause bumps behind the ears. Acne is most common on the face, but can appear anywhere on the body. Acne behind the ear can usually be left alone or treated with an over-the-counter cream.

Other causes are fatty masses (lipomas) and cysts. Both growths are smooth and usually painless. In some cases, the cyst becomes infected and requires antibiotics. However, most of them disappear on their own. If you have lipomas that are uncomfortable, they can be removed surgically.

Could it be cancer?
Sometimes a lump that can be felt behind the ear is a tumor. Most tumors behind the ear are benign, so tumors in this part of the body are rare. If the lump is solid, fixed in place, and/or irregular in shape, it may indicate cancer.

If it is accompanied by a mass of pain, sudden appearance or other symptoms, it is recommended to consult a doctor.

If you have a lump behind your ear or have swollen glands for several weeks, it’s best to seek medical attention to rule out something serious.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Spartanburg & Greer Ear, Nose & Throat today.

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