I have read some pretty detailed explanations of the trigeminal nerve and they only served to confuse me even more. I am going to try to explain it in a way that is far easier to understand.
If you look at the entire nervous system only about 20% of the input to the brain comes from the spinal column! The other 80% comes from twelve sets of cranial nerves. Here is where it gets tricky. 70% of that 80% comes from the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is important because it provides nerve stimulation to some very important parts of the head and face such as:
- The muscles that move the jaw
- The lining of the sinuses
- The temporal mandibular (TM) joints
- The teeth
- The muscle that tenses the ear drum
- The joint that connects the teeth to the jaws
- The control of the blood flow to the anterior (front) of the brain.
- The tongue
- The ear canal
Take a good look at this list…how many of you have complaints of ear problems? Tooth aches? Sinus problems? Migraines? Jaw Pain? How many of you have been to multiple doctors and have been told that there was “nothing” wrong?
The trigeminal nerve has three branches
- Ophthalmic nerve
- Maxillary nerve
- Mandibular nerve
The trigeminal nerve root where these three branches meet, can be found next to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and some of the nerves pass around or through the TMJ. Damage or irritation to these nerves as well as muscle trigger points can cause a host of painful conditions.
Did you know?
Internal changes in hormone levels, usually a falling estrogen level, along with stress and sleep deprivation, weather changes, and alcohol will trigger the trigeminal nerves to start firing off.