What Causes Neck Lump on the Left Side?

The presence of a lump on your left side of your neck can be caused by a variety of different things, ranging from swollen lymph nodes to an enlarged salivary gland, of which the root causes can be as mild as some allergic reactions, tonsillitis and also as severe as a mouth cancer, AIDS. Simple home remedies may help relieve the lump, however, it is important to consult your physician for an evaluation.


Causes of Lump on Left Side of Neck

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Bacterial Conditions. There are several bacterial conditions, which can cause swollen lymph nodes in the neck. They include the following-strep throat, cat scratch disease, atypical mycobacterium, tonsillitis, bacterial pharyngitis, peritonsillar abscess.

Viral Conditions. There are a number of viral conditions that can be the cause of swollen lymph nodes in the neck, such as the following-rubella, which is German measles, herpes infections, AIDS, viral pharyngitis, HIV disease, infectious mononucleosis.

Other Conditions. There are many other conditions that contribute to the swollen lymph nodes, including Hodgkin disease, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, mouth cancer, leukemia, thyroid diseases (Grave’s disease, goiter, cancer of thyroid),  food allergies, drug or medication allergies and some other allergic reactions.


  • Over the counter pain relievers can be used to ease the discomfort from lump on left side of neck, such as Tylenol, and ibuprofen or Motrin and Aleve can be used to help ease the pain and also to decrease the swelling. It is vital to note that aspirin should not be given to children, as it can cause Reye’s syndrome.
  • A warm wet washcloth applied to the area can also help to ease the pain as well as to decrease the swelling.
  • As always, get plenty of rest, especially at those times that your body may need to recover from an illness or injury.

Salivary Gland Enlargement

Salivary gland enlargement can be caused by the following conditions, including mumps, a stone in a salivary duct, infections and salivary gland tumor.


In order to care for salivary gland enlargement, the situation should be evaluated. Some situations require no treatment at all.

  • Some other conditions may require antibiotics, such as if fever or pus are present or if it is caused due to a bacteria. Most of the time antibiotics are not helpful if the cause is viral.
  • The presence of an abscess requires surgery or aspiration.
  • To prevent an infection from spreading, brushing and flossing at least twice a day and not smoking are extremely helpful.
  • To keep the mouth moist, warm salt water rinses, which include a cup of warm water with a ½ teaspoon mixed in, can help and can also provide some soothing as well.
  • It is important that you remember to drink plenty of water, which you can add sugar-free lemon drops in to help in the production of saliva as well as help in the reduction of any swelling.
  • Using heat to massage the gland can help as well.

When to See a Doctor

It is important to know when it is necessary to contact a physician for an evaluation. If you have lump on left side of neck that are accompanied by any of the following other symptoms:

  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing and/or swallowing
  • Red skin over the lymph nodes
  • Lymph nodes larger than an inch
  • Tender or hard lymph nods
  • Lymph nodes that last for a month or more
  • A fever over 104 degrees Fahrenheit
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