Whoever named it “The Funny Bone” had to have been joking. Right? That one spot on your elbow, that if you bump it just right, sends shooting pains and tingling down your arm and into your fingers. It hurts!
Well, the real name for the spot is the “Ulnar Nerve.” It starts in your neck and runs all the way to your pinkie. Most of the way, it’s protected, but right at your elbow, the Ulnar is right under the skin, passing through something called the cubital tunnel. That’s why just the right pressure from a bumped elbow can cause all that temporary pain. Temporary means just a few seconds to around a minute, but usually soon forgotten.
On the other hand (no pun intended) there are a few unfortunate people who suffer from pain or irritation of this area all the time, with a condition called Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. This can be caused by something as simple as repeatedly sleeping with your elbow bent under your pillow, or progressive physical activity that focuses pressure on your elbows. If it gets bad enough, it can cause your pinkie to curl up and stay that way! Fortunately there are ways to treat this: splinting, adjustment, physical therapy and even surgery in extreme cases. If your “funny bone” is making you miserable, let’s do some x-rays and get the problem solved.