A swollen lymph node that is painful will catch the attention of the person who suffers from it, but a sensitive lymph node might not get noticed until it is bumped or rubbed against. The cause of the enlargement can be present before the node draws notice. Lymph nodes fight infection and will return to normal once an infection runs its course or the cause is treated. If it doesn’t return to normal a doctor will need to check to see if it is a symptom of a more serious illness, disease, or infection.

Inside a Swollen Lymph Node

Lymph nodes are organs that filter lymph, which is a clear or yellowish fluid that travels throughout the lymphatic system of the body and is an important part to a strong immune system. When the body is faced with infection, disease, or trauma it reacts to fight the imbalance in the body. When this happens the nodes can fill up with the debris that it filters until it is removed from the body. Lymphocytes are specialized white blood cells that fight infection.

Dead cells, bacteria, viruses, and other debris can build up in the lymph nodes while they are doing their job. Combined with the build up, lymphocytes and the lymph also fill the node, which enlarges it. The nodes can become sensitive from the pressure.

Ones That May Become Sensitive

Some lymph nodes are more susceptible to becoming sensitive when enlarged. Collars and other clothing can irritate lymph nodes in the neck. Other lymph nodes that can become swollen and sensitive include the following:

Nodes that are deeper under the skin may not be noticed when they are swollen and won’t become sensitive. The cause of the lymph node swelling may draw more attention than the nodes being enlarged. This is especially the case with abscesses, boils, carbuncles, and other types of staph infections. In the case of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) the infection will rapidly get worse and it may distract from the sensitivity of the lymph nodes.

Do You Know About – Posterior Cervical Lymph Nodes

Treating the Pain from the Sensitivity

Before treatment of painful or sensitive nodes begins, a doctor will need to diagnose the cause. While waiting for the treatment to be effective, over the counter painkillers and warm compresses can help relieve the discomfort. Loose clothing and avoiding pressure on the nodes will also reduce the soreness until it returns to normal size.

Infections That Cause Nodes to Become Swollen

Some infections are mild and will run their course with little or no intervention and the swollen lymph nodes will return to normal once it has done its job of fighting infection and filtering debris. Some of the infections and diseases that affect this organ include the following:

Treating the cause is necessary when the nodes are overwhelmed with filtering dead cells, bacteria, viruses, tissue, and other debris in the body. The nodes produce white blood cells to fight off infection. As the node fills with them it can create sensitivity from the pressure.


Usually a sensitive lymph node will not be cause for concern, but it is good to know when to get a lymph node checked.