What Is Funny Bone, and Why does The Name call it?
What is the funny bone, and why is your funny bone called a funny bone? The funny bone is a portion of a nerve called the ulnar nerve at the backside of the elbow and lies against the humerus, the bone in the upper arm in the elbow. The ulnar nerve initiates from a net of nerves called the brachial plexus in the spine. The ulnar nerve supplies motor stimulation to portions of the upper limb and hand, which aid in moving muscles. The middle part of the upper arm, the center of the wrist, little finger, and ring finger receive sensory stimulation from the ulnar nerve. The name is a pun as the upper arm bone is called “humerus,” which sounds a lot like “humorous.” It is also referred to as so because of the odd feeling experienced when one bumps into something.
Why Does It Hurt When You Hit Funny Bone
The ulnar nerve in the elbow lies sandwiched between the skin and fat tissues. The bones offer no protection to the nerve making it more prone to injuries. The nerve is hit when one hits the funny bone and is compressed by the bone. So even a slight bump could cause numbness, tingling sensation, and pain in the fingers and forearm. The strange sensation is felt through the whole nerve even though the elbow is hit and disappears without complications.
Do You Laugh When You Get Hit on Your Funny Bone
The way one reacts when they hit their funny bone differs. Some may find the sensation funny and rub the area to make them feel better. Some may not pay much heed at all. The sensation lasts just for a few moments!
What Is Ulnar Nerve Injury
The funny bone nerve or ulnar nerve creates shock-like sensations when hit in the elbow. You may experience muscle weakness or lose sensation if you suffer from an injury to the nerve. This is often called nerve palsy or ulnar neuropathy, affecting making fine movements and performing routine tasks. In some cases, it could make the hand look like a claw.
What Causes Ulnar Nerve Injury
The causes of ulnar nerve injury are not known. However, the damage could occur due to:
- Illness that damages the nerve
- Severe injury to the nerve
- Excess pressure on the nerve
- Pressure on the nerve due to swelling
- Fracture of elbow or dislocation
Damage to the ulnar nerve is like disconnecting a telephone cord. The messages from the brain are not transmitted to the targets of the hand and are not received.
Signs and Symptoms of Ulnar Nerve Injury
Some common signs and symptoms of an ulnar nerve injury are:
- Sharp pain, tingling sensation, and numbness of the arm
- Loss of sense in joints of the ring and little fingers
- Discomfort or inability to fold thumbs and fingers
- The ring and little finger taking the shape of a claw
- Loss of muscular protruding on the hand
Ulnar Nerve Injury Complications
Injury to the ulnar nerve causes loss of sensation and inability to move to the arm and fingers. The extent of loss is proportional to the seriousness of the injury. Cuts on wrists, brain trauma, and cysts in the Guyon’s canal are a few reasons for injury to the ulnar nerve. It could make one unable to grasp objects with limbs and even deform the hand like a claw. The below complication can develop because of injury to the ulnar nerve:
1. Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
This occurs when there is a pressure or stretch of the ulnar nerve around the elbow region. This could cause pain and tingling sensation for a longer time.
2. Guyon Canal Syndrome
When the Guyon canal compresses the ulnar nerve or ulnar canal (a canal in the wrist) through which the nerve passes, it can cause sharp shooting pain. It occurs when you lift heavy weights and overuse the wrist.
3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs due to injury to the middle of the nerve.
When to See Doctor
A slight bump to the funny bone could have a lasting impact for a few hours or maybe a day or two. The pain or tingling sensation should ideally disappear on its own, and one should be able to regain their routine tasks without much difficulty. However, if the pain persists and there seems to be a loss of sensation around the wrist, ring finger, and little finger with serious impairment to movement, you must consult a doctor. This is especially crucial since children cannot always state the symptoms experienced. So, it is recommended to seek expert advice for further diagnosis and treatment.
The anatomy of the nerve resting in the bone of the upper arm called the “humerus” is what led to the bone being called the funny bone. The weird or funny feeling you experience when you bang the elbow to something certainly does not sound funny. Well, some could experience a “pins and needles” kind of sensation, while others may feel nothing at all. In a nutshell, the funny bone is just a moniker of the scientific name. While a slight bump would not cause many injuries, it can often severely impact. It is ideal to seek medical advice in such cases.