What Are the Different Kinds of Nerves in the Body?

The types of nerves in the human body include afferent, efferent and mixed nerves. Afferent nerves carry information from the receptors in one direction, which is from the body to the brain, while efferent nerves carry nerve signals in the opposite way. Mixed nerves have bundles of nerve cells that allow the signals to travel in both directions, according to InnerBody. The nerves work with the sense organs to provide an interpretation of the environment.

Science also classifies nerves by special function, including the 12 pairs of cranial nerves that connect the brain to the sense organs, digestive tract, heart, and the muscles of the shoulders, neck and head, as described by InnerBody. Roman numerals I through XII identify these nerves based on the location where they originate around the brain. They also have names based on their function.

There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves which connect the spinal cord to various parts of the body. Mixed nerves allow for two-way communication within the body, states InnerBody. Spinal nerves exit the spinal column through openings between the vertebrae. The human body has one pair of coccygeal nerves, five pairs of sacral nerves, five pairs of lumbar nerves, and 12 pairs of thoracic nerves; science classifies these nerves by the region where they exit the spine.