Spinal Nerves vs. Cranial Nerves

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Difference between Spinal Nerves and Cranial Nerves

Ever investigated the differences between spinal nerves and cranial nerves?  Even though, all nerves are interrelated, each nerve segment has its own functions. We are going to talk about various aspects of these nerves and which body parts they connect. It's amazing how each nerve allow us to function, experience and feel life as a richly and experientially as we do.

Spinal Nerves
Cranial Nerves

Cranial Nerves

Nerves are all connected directly to the brain and to the nerves of the spinal cord. Looking at cranial nerves the first one we will explore is the olfactory nerve. Olfactory nerves are used to conduct smelling sensations from the nose. Your sense of smell relies on impulse of odor from mucous membranes. It is said that the olfactory nerves are the only ones to have the ability to heal themselves. Optical nerves allows us to see via photoreceptors impulses which travel to the retina and then to the visual cortex. Ever wonder how people can zero in on an object?  Look no further, optical muscles with the help of optical nerves dilating one's pupils in a manner similar to a zoom lens on a camera.   

The Science Behind Cranial Nerves

The Trochlear is a tiny motor nerve that that allows the eye to go up and down. The Trigeminal nerve is basically a sensory and motor function that allows someone to feel their facial structure, facial movement and the sense of being in contact with external sources. The Abducens nerve provides a motor function that allows the eye to move; there are basically six nerves controlling eye movement. The Facial Nerve allows you to make your facial expressions and extends to area above and below the lip regions. The Vestibulocochlear nerve basically allows for equilibrium and carries impulses that allow one to hear. The Glossopharyngeal allows you to taste the food you eat. Vagus nerves control the muscle that let you speak and swallow your food. The Accessory nerves function allows you to shrug and move your head efficiently. And finally, the Hypoglossal nerve is the a supplementary nerve that allows you to concentrate on swallowing and controlling your speech.

Spinal Nerves

Spinal cord nerves provide sensations communication between all body surfaces and the brain. Whether you're feeling pretty darned good or feeling the pain, the spinal cord is the fundamental highway. Nerves are an absolutely required in muscular and organ functioning. Without happy,  healthy spinal and peripheral nerves everything from walking to body temperature wouldn't function normally. Spinal nerves allow us to live life fully by communicating bodily and external sensations to the brain for automatic responses or simply for the chance to enjoy senses of everyday life.  

Similarities and Differences

  • Cranial nerves emanate from the brain stem. Spinal nerves are rooted in the spinal cord.
  • There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves and 31 pairs of spinal nerves in the human body; 8 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 sacral, 5 lumbar and 1 coccygeal.
Which set of nerves is most numerous in one's neck?
  • Spinal Nerves
  • Cranial Nerves
 
 

Discuss It: comments 10

  • Guest
  • Cathy wrote on August 2010

What diagnostic test is best at detecting a pinched nerve, compressed nerve or a damaged nerve in the cervical spine? I have had a CT scan, and more than 3 MRI scans for back pain. So far, the results look (non-impressive) to the prescribing physicians. However, the pain rates from 5-20 on a normal day. Walking is difficult, moving my head, headaches, loss of feeling (top of fingertips), balance issues, pain going down leg(s) varies, does not occur all the time. Pain sometimes radiates down arm: Negative EMG for nerve disruption. I believe my cervical spine is unstable, traction is wonderful, the pain relief last only while in traction. Too bad, I cannot stay in traction and live life normally. Is there a surgeon out there who could read my MRI and give me their opinion? One that ACCEPTS Medicaid/Care Source. Thank you for reading this note. I'm off to get Radio Frequency Ablation today, what a painful procedure, which will NEVER fix the problem. That is a problem. The pain may leave for three months, or like last time, only a few weeks. Then, it will return. This is my fifth bout of RFA in my neck. I need help. Anyone? :(-

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