A lump in the neck is a raised or swollen bump in the region between the jaw and collarbone that can either be hard or soft to the touch and may be very painful. A lump in the neck, often also called a neck lump, is most often caused by enlarged lymph nodes as a result of some type of infection. A lump in the neck may sometimes indicate thyroid or head or neck cancer. Cysts, injury, enlarged salivary glands, and torticollis are other possible causes of a lump in the neck. A lump in the neck should always be evaluated by a physician to diagnose the cause.