Cranial nerves are nerves that originate in the brain. Humans have 12 pairs of cranial nerves: olfactory, optic, oculomotor, trochlear, trigeminal, abducens, facial, vestibulocochlear, glossopharyngeal, vagus, spinal accessory, and hypoglossal. The functions of these nerves include carrying sensory information, controlling muscles, and regulating glands and internal organs. The first picture above depicts each cranial nerve's point of departure from the brain.
This particular instructable focuses on cranial nerve 5, the trigeminal nerve. This nerve originates in the pons, a part of the brainstem, and involves both sensory and motor functions. The trigeminal nerve controls muscles of mastication (biting and chewing) and carries sensory information about touch and pain from the face. The second picture above shows the three areas of the face that the trigeminal nerve innervates. This instructable will demonstrate 3 useful exercises for checking a patient's trigeminal nerve function.
Requirements: basic understanding of anatomy, patient who is comfortable with his/her face being touched, and a Q-tip that has been cut in half (or anything that has a soft end and a sharp end)
Time: 5 minutes
Step 1: Preparation
Get a Q-tip and cut one of the cotton ends off. It does not matter how long the resulting Q-tip is, as long as there is a blunt end and a soft end.
Have the patient sit so that, as you stand, your patient's face is approximately at your eye level. You will be standing during the physical examination.
Make sure your patient is comfortable with his/her face being touched.