Trigeminal Neuralgia & The Role of the Neck

The Role of the Upper Neck in Trigeminal Neuralgia

From Gray’s Anatomy. The big bulb (upper left) are the actual branches of the Trigeminal Nerve … but look back where those nerves go: into that arc-shaped track that goes all the way to the bottom of the picture, which is where your neck starts! It also overlaps with lots of other nerves that also process information from your throat, internal organs and brain.

The three parts of the Trigeminal Nerve – the Opthalmic, Maxillary and Mandibular Nerves – are like branches on a tree that emerge from a common trunk and common roots. That root of the Trigeminal Nerve is called the Spinal Trigeminal Nucleus. In the brain, a “nucleus” refers to any cluster of cells that do a certain activity. The Spinal Trigeminal Nucleus is a massive cluster that receives and processes all the sensory information from the branches of the Trigeminal Nerve.

So where exactly is the Spinal Trigeminal Nucleus? It extends from the brainstem inside the skull through the spinal cord all the way down to the level of the C3 vertebra in your neck. The implications of this basic biological fact are massive!



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