The Other Facial Nerve
Cranial Nerve VII is also known as the facial nerve. This nerve travels from the upper lateral portion of the medulla oblongata and travels anterolaterally through the temporal bone and into the internal acoustic meatus (inner ear).
Fibers from this nerve supplies the mucous membranes of the auditory tube, soft palate, auditory or eustachian tube, pharyngeal structures, and the extermal acoustic meatus. It also supplies the taste buds on the anterior 2/3 of the tongue. A branch of the facial nerve, called the stapedius nerve, supplies the stapedius muscle. The stapedius muscle is the smallest striated muscle in the body and allows us to conciously dampen our sense of hearing.
After cranial nerve VII exits the skull, it gives off eight different somatic motor branches. These branches supply muscles around the ears, eyes, and mouth and even under your chin. These branches help you wiggle your ears and open your jaw.
Bell’s Palsy is when someone has paralysis of the facial muscles. This typically results in one corner of their mouth and their eyelid drooping. In serious cases, people can lose the ability to blink one eye. This condition is a result of paralysis of this nerve. Chiropractic has proven to be highly effective in the resolution of Bell’s Palsy.