What are cranial nerves?

Cranial nerves are the pairs of nerves that control vision, smell, eye movement, sensation in the face, chewing and other movements.

The cranial nerves are 12 pairs of nerves that lead from your brain to different parts of your head, neck and upper body. They help control many functions in your body, including smell, sight, hearing, taste, feeling and movement in your face (including chewing and swallowing), and the function of involuntary muscles and glands that you need for digestion. Problems that can affect the cranial nerves include trigeminal neuralgia and Bell's palsy. Trigeminal neuralgia causes severe face pain, due to a problem with the trigeminal nerve. Bell's palsy causes weak or paralyzed face muscles, due to a problem with the facial nerve. Exact symptoms of cranial nerve problems depend on which cranial nerve is affected and what's causing the condition.

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