A Pain in the Neck with a Lump

Not all pains in the neck are going to be in the form of a co-worker or offspring. Supraclavicular lymph nodes are in the neck in the hollow that is just above the clavicle (collarbone). When enlarged, it can cause pain in the neck or maybe a lump without pain.

Lymph nodes are responsible for filtering lymph fluid that travels throughout the body. They, like the supraclavicular one, can trap various infections and other debris that is going throughout the body. The body usually will take care of the waste without drawing attention.

When the body is overloaded due to illness, infection, or disease, the lymph nodes will swell and may become painful.


There are two supraclavicular lymph nodes, one on the right side and one on the left side. They are laterally located where it joins the sternum in the hollow above the clavicle (collarbone). Others in the clavicle area where the left and right Supraclavicular locations include the following:

These lymph nodes are responsible for draining the lymphatic fluid from the neck and head regions.


The function of the supraclavicular lymph nodes is to filter fluid in the body. There are two supraclavicular lymph nodes. The right one is responsible for lymphatic drainage of the mediastinum (middle section of the chest cavity), lungs, and esophagus (Overview of the Esophagus – merckmanuals.com). The left one is responsible for lymphatic drainage of the thorax and abdomen (via the thoracic duct).

Causes of Enlargement

Only a doctor or health care professional can determine the exact purpose of the enlargement of supraclavicular lymph nodes. These are possible causes:

  • Bacterial infection – an infection that is caused by bacteria (microorganisms)
  • Fungal infection – a disease caused by a fungi
  • Lymphoma – cancer that starts in the lymph nodes or lymphoid tissues
  • Thoracic cancer – lung, tracheal, esophageal, mesothelioma, thymomas, mediastinal, and chest wall cancers
  • Retroperitoneal cancer – outside the tumor or behind the tissue that lines the abdominal wall and covers many of the organs in the abdomen (peritoneum)

Additional Information – Swollen Lymph Nodes

Signs a doctor should examine a swollen lymph node:

  • The swollen lymph node is hard
  • The lymph node is more significant than an inch in size
  • The skin is pink or reddish around the enlarged lymph node
  • Other signs of illness, like weight loss, fever, night sweats, etc.

Usually, an enlarged or swollen lymph node is caused by an infection in the body, bump to the area, response to a vaccine, or drug interaction.