Why Hitting Your Funny Bone Isn't So Funny
Have you ever slammed the corner of your elbow on a piece of furniture, open door, or counter in passing? Hitting your 'funny bone' has been experienced by almost everyone but isn't amusing to most. So, what's the science behind it? Why does hitting our elbow hurt so uniquely? And why is it called a "funny bone"?
The sharp and distinctive pain is mysteriously named the 'funny bone' but what makes it so funny?
The Science Behind It
Turns out that when we are hitting our elbow, it isn't the bone that causes the stinging pain (despite the misleading phrase of "hitting your funny bone"). What actually happens is that we are hitting the ulnar nerve that runs from our neck throughout our arm.
Why It Hurts
We have a million nerves in our body, so how come we don't experience that "funny bone" pain when we bump other parts of our body? Most nerves are covered and protected by other tissues like muscles and tendons, but the part of the ulnar nerve that is by the elbow isn't covered by anything but skin and fat. So when we hit our elbow, we hit that vulnerable nerve against the bone... and that's where the pain comes in.
Why It's Called A "Funny Bone"
There are two reasons behind the name:
1. Since the nerve runs along the humerus bone, some think it's more of a "humorous" anatomical pun than anything else.
2. Another explanation is that the name came from the odd or "funny" feeling you experience when you hit it.
Even now that you know why your funny bone hurts after being hit, it doesn't seem to make it any funnier. Regardless, we hope you learned a bit more about this anatomical pun and why your funny bone hurts.