Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

The lymphatic system of our body is an integral part of our immune system. This lymphatic system consists of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes or lymph glands, and some lymphatic organs like spleen, thymus gland and bone marrow. The lymph nodes are present throughout our body, which can be deep as well as superficial. They do the important work of filtration of waste from the different cells in the body. This drainage system ultimately reaches the chest and drains near the heart.

How Do You Check For Swollen Lymph Nodes?

How Do You Check For Swollen Lymph Nodes?

Lymph nodes are not felt unless they are enlarged or swollen. Lymph nodes are felt in the regions of head, neck, armpits or axilla, arms, groin and back of knees. All other lymph nodes are deep and cannot be felt superficially. By following a certain method, these lymph nodes can be felt if lymph nodes are swollen. The lymph nodes are located region wise, and each group represents that particular area or region in the body. Swollen lymph nodes generally indicate a problem in that particular part of the body. If lymph nodes are swollen in any places, it may indicate some serious infection, and many times, cancer. In case suspecting an infection, the health care professional will make it a point to examine these lymph nodes.

Checking The Lymph Nodes In Head And Neck

In the head and neck region, the lymph nodes can be felt in the front of the ear, back of the ear, just below the ear, in the throat just below the jaw line etc. To feel these lymph nodes, one must move the fingertips in a gentle and a circular motion. Also, one must make sure to check both the lymph nodes on both the sides, so that one can compare. If the lymph node is swollen, it will feel slightly larger than the other one which is not swollen. It could be as small as a pea or larger than that. For the neck region, one must tilt the head to the side of the examination in order to relax the muscle. Then one must follow the same method for checking of the lymph nodes. For the lymph nodes near the collar bone, one must hunch the shoulders so that the skin will relax and then lymph nodes will be easily palpable.

Checking The Lymph Nodes In The Armpits

While checking one armpit, the arm must be raised a little. Then, place the fingers of the other arm in the armpit and then bring the arm down. Once, the center of the armpit is established, locate the lymph nodes my moving the fingers along the from, back and the inner border of the armpit.

Checking The Lymph Nodes In The Inguinal Area

There are two chains of lymph nodes in the groin- the horizontal group and the vertical group. The horizontal lymph nodes are just located below the inguinal ligament, along its border. The vertical group is located just along the portion of the upper thigh.

Always make it a point to examine both sides for any comparison.

Lymph nodes, if not enlarged, are usually difficult to feel just like that. However, in case of previous infection, checking of the lymph nodes regularly can be important, as it gives an idea as to whether there is something wrong with the lymph nodes. Also, it gives a possible indication of the infection or cancer if any of those is present in the body, but otherwise symptom less. But checking them far too often can be pointless as well, as then it would not be possible to notice any changes in them.

Lymph nodes are an integral part of our body’s immune system. They form our body’s defense mechanism. The swollen lymph nodes are an important indication that something is not quite right in the body. Prompt medical action taken at such times can prove to be extremely beneficial.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: October 17, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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