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Painful Lymph Nodes Under Jaw

There can be several reasons for noticing painful lymph nodes under jaw, and even other places in the body. This condition should not be ignored as it may be an indication of some underlying disorder, which may require prompt medical intervention.
Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Lymph nodes are a vital part of the lymphatic system, which in turn is a component of the immune system. In a pivotal role as the body's defense mechanism, the lymph nodes help filter the harmful pathogens from the body to prevent it from jeopardizing the health of an individual. The lymph nodes secrete lymph, which is a fluid rich in antibodies that help fight against a number of infections and diseases. The lymph nodes are located almost everywhere in the body. There are also a few lymph nodes situated below the jaw and chin, which play the same important role, as do the other nodes.
At times, the lymph nodes may get affected owing to some disorder in the body, which can lead to jaw pain under the jaw line, or on one side of the jaw line, or both. Sore lymph nodes under jaw can be quite discomforting, and tasks like chewing, speaking, etc., can become quite difficult. To solve this, it is necessary to get to the root cause of this condition.
There may be several reasons for the occurrence of painful lymph nodes. At times, the pain may be temporary and subside after a while. But in case the pain persists and the swelling is quite prominent, then it is essential to contact an endocrinologist or a health care provider for the exact diagnosis of this condition. Here are some of the causative factors which can be indicators of why the lymph nodes under the jaw appear to be painful.
  • Lymph nodes may appear to be painful and swollen as a result of over production of white blood cells (or lymphocytes). This can be a counter attack for protecting the body against foreign particles. Therefore, a rise in the white blood cell count can cause the lymph nodes to swell and become painful.
  • Another cause of swollen lymph nodes which can also trigger pain is infection and inflammation of the gland and sore glands under jaw. The swelling and pain may be a result of bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. The swollen lymph nodes may also feel sore and tender when touched.
  • Tooth infections and abscess are also responsible for painful lymph nodes under the jaw. Infections in the ear can also trigger the feeling of pain in the glands, below the chin, and jaw.
  • In case there is a swelling, and a hard feeling while touching the areas, it may be a sign of lymphoma (also referred to a lymph node cancer). This is because there is a growth of tumor in the lymph nodes, which may be malignant in nature and lead to cancer.
  • Other infections that cause pain and swelling in the lymph nodes are common cold and flu, measles, infectious mononucleosis (mono), mouth sores, gingivitis, and skin infections. These may be primary causes or may also have been caused due to secondary problems like autoimmune disorders.
Treatment Methods

Swollen and painful lymph nodes are not only distressing, but can also be a matter of grave concern. This can be an indication of an impending disorder, which may require immediate medical attention. In order to stem the pain and discomfort, one can apply a hot pack on the affected area. This will also help in bringing down the swelling. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication forms to bring down the infection and inflammation in the lymph nodes. In case the doctor doubts the malignancy of the tumor, then he may advice the patient to undergo a lymph node biopsy to assess the exact nature of the tumor.
A routine screening with a health care provider will prevent painful lymph nodes under the jaw and in other places. Modification in lifestyle may also contribute towards preventing certain disorders.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.