According to MedlinePlus, the glands in the back of the head are referred to as lymph nodes and are responsible for aiding the body in fighting illnesses and infections. Lymph nodes are also present behind both ears and run down each side of the neck.
The Mayo Clinic explains that lymph nodes are located throughout the body, but the majority of nodes are present in the head and neck areas. Symptoms that may accompany swollen glands include fever, throat pain and respiratory symptoms. The Mayo Clinic also explains that glands can swell as a response to blockages within the lymph system or autoimmune conditions.
According to WebMD, glands that are tender, mobile and painful are typically caused by infections or irritation. It is important for individuals with swollen glands that are hard to the touch and not painful to consult with a medical professional to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment. WebMD also explains that the most common conditions that cause swollen lymph nodes include bacterial infections, infected teeth, viruses, ear infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
Boots WebMD explains that swollen lymph nodes typically resolve on their own once the illness or infection causing them clears the body. It is important for individuals to consult with a physician if the swollen nodes are accompanied by inflamed skin, breathing difficulty, profuse sweating at night or high fever.