Interesting Facts About Funny Bone: It Is Neither A Bone Nor “Funny”

Have you ever hit the inside of your elbow in just the right spot and felt a tingling or prickly kind of dull pain? Even a light tap to the back of your elbow can send pain shooting down your forearm. You’ve hit the spot, your funny bone! It doesn’t really hurt as much as it feels weird.
But your funny bone is neither “funny” nor a “bone. Running down the inside part of your elbow is a nerve called the ulnar nerve. In fact, you’ve just hit your ulnar nerve, which controls feeling in your pinky and ring fingers, and helps control the muscles in the wrist, as well as parts of the hand.
This nerve travels from your neck down your upper arm, wrapping around the elbow joint on its way to the hand. In most spots along this route the ulnar nerve stays hidden within muscles and other tissue. But when it passes through your elbow joint, the nerve is particularly close to the skin — making it a vulnerable target.
For most of its length, the ulnar nerve is protected, like rest of the body’s nerves, by bones, muscles and/or ligaments. As the nerve passes the elbow, though, it runs through a channel called the cubital tunnel, and here it’s protected only by skin and fat, making it vulnerable to bumps.
When you hit your funny bone, you’re actually hitting the nerve against bone and compressing it. The result is an exhilarating cocktail of numbness, tingling and pain that shoots through the areas where the nerve does its work: down the forearm and hand and into the ring and pinky fingers.
You get that funny feeling when the ulnar nerve is bumped against the humerus, the long bone that starts at your elbow and goes up to your shoulder. Tapping your funny bone doesn’t do any damage to your elbow, arm, or ulnar nerve. But it sure feels strange!
People sometimes mention the funny bone when they talk about their sense of humor. Maybe you’ve heard someone say that something “really tickled my funny bone.”
Let’s now explore some interesting facts about funny bone:
1. When you hit your funny bone, it seems like the worst thing in the world, but imagine experiencing chronic irritation there, like someone banging on your funny bone day and night. It sounds like a method of torture you’d dream up in a revenge fantasy, but it’s a very real problem called cubital tunnel syndrome.
The most important thing you can do if you have cubital tunnel syndrome is to correct the posture that is causing the pressure on the ulnar nerve. Most often, the pressure is caused when you are sleeping, so putting a pillow under your arm before you go to sleep may offer some relief.
If this doesnt help, then your doctor may consider splinting the elbow for a period of time. Hand therapy can also be helpful. In extreme cases, you may need surgery to open up the tunnel so that the nerve has more space, and the pressure on it is reduced.
2. Bumping your “funny bone” like this doesn’t do any damage to your elbow or the ulnar nerve, but it sure feels weird! You can usually feel the sensation primarily in the areas controlled by the ulnar nerve: your pinky and ring fingers.
3. In case you’re wondering how the “funny bone” got its name, there are two camps in the debate over how the ulnar nerve got be known as the funny bone.
One side says that it’s an anatomical pun, because the nerve runs along the humerus, which sounds like “humorous.” (Get it?) The other side claims that the nerve got its nickname because of the funny (as in odd) feeling you experience after you hit it. No joke!

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