OCT 16, 2018 8:13 PM PDT

The Science Behind Whacking Your 'Funny Bone'

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

If you’ve ever smacked your elbow in just the right way, then you might’ve felt a sensation comparable to pins and needles moving up your arm and to your fingertips. This is commonly referred to as “whacking your funny bone.” But is it really that funny?

As it turns out, you’re not whacking a bone at all; in fact, the “funny bone” isn’t even real. When you smack your elbow in this way, you’re actually feeling a sensation from compressing your ulnar nerve.  

The ulnar nerve is the largest unprotected nerve in the body, and it sits just near your elbow. In this location, it’s an easy target for accidental smacks and whacks. It also extends down your arm and to your fingertips, which is why you feel this sensation all throughout your arm and hand.

In most cases, whacking your ulnar nerve won’t hurt you; it just causes a few moments of discomfort.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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