what does painful lymph nodes mean

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Dr. David Brouwer answered:

What could a swollen painful lymph node mean??

Infection

Pain
At your age, a swollen and painful lymph node could represent an infection in that part of your body. If you have a primary physician it's a good idea to get checked.
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If a swollen lymph node is painful, does that mean it isn't cancer?

Not necessarily

Cancer
Most swollen lymph nodes are not cancerous, they are reactive or inflammatory. By that fact most lymph nodes that are tender will be benign. Unfortunately, a small percentage will still be malignant. If you are worried please see your doctor.
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What do hard, swollen, extremely painful/tender lymph nodes in the neck mean?

Diff possibilities

Neck_pain
Tender is usually a good sign & if you have a few relatively small tender lymph nodes & you struggle with allergies or have a cold, those could cause it. However if you have a very lg or hard, immobile node(s) it's best to get that checked out. You might also want to check for swollen lymph nodes elsewhere in the body & if you find some, that would be another reason to get checked out
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Dr. Mark C. Weston answered:

What do hard, swollen, extremely painful/tender lymph nodes in the neck mean in a girl?

Infx

Tonsillitis
Viral upper respiratory infx or bacterial tonsillitis mono thecommon cold are common lymph nodece nlargers
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Dr. Joel Gallant answered:

What does it meant by "tender" when used in"lymph node enlarge and become tender during infection?"Does it mean painful and soft when touch the node?

Painful

Pain
'Tender' means painful when touched or pressed.
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Painful lymph node behind the ear.

Likely infection

Ear
There are a number of conditions which cause lymph node enlargement, with infection being the most common cause. Behind the ear nodes can come from the ear, the skin, teeth and possibly sinuses. Take some ibuprofen (if it's safe for you) and if the node persists, seeks care.
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Dr. Michael Miller answered:

Are painful occiptal lymph nodes benign?

Monitoring Centers

Pain
Lymphatic system absorbs/carries things too big to go into the arteries/veins like bacteria eaten by white cells and digested food. Lymph Nodes "taste" the lymph for anything bad like bacteria/viruses/cancers, etc. When it detects a problem, it alerts the immune system and your body reacts. They enlarge in response to the inflammation they create when they react. They shrink when all is well
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Dr. Daniel Lee answered:

Painful swollen right side groin lymph nodes?

Nearby infection

Groin
Painful swollen lymph nodes on one side may often suggest that you have a nearby infection on that side. It should resolve when the infection goes away. The swollen lymph node suggests that your body is working to fight infection.
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Dr. Marc F. Hirsch answered:

What could enlarged non painful lymph nodes be ?

Infection, growth...

Cancer
Lymph nodes respond to infection, cancer and irritation nearby. Get it checked by a doctor and then followup with them at an interval they recommend. It could be just a benign enlargement that you never find a reason for.
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Can endometriosis cause painful groin lymph nodes?

Uncommonly

Endometriosis
Endometriosis can cause pain anywhere in a body. It has been detected even in lung, brain, all over the abdomen and even in men. If the groin pain is related to your period it could be endometriosis although unlikely.
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