Medical Mysteries, She Wrote


Why is hitting your funny bone anything but funny? Does skin and runs in a hard, bony groove on its way to your hand.”

Why is hitting it guaranteed to make you cringe with pain, rather than laugh, as its nickname suggests?

“Nerves are very temperamental and sensitive structures,” says Toriello, who is an orthopaedic surgeon in private practice in New York. “For this reason, nerves generally course deep in muscles, where they are protected from direct contact with the things we bump into during our normal course of living. The ulnar nerve at the elbow is an exception, because it lies in a spot that is very vulnerable and protected only by a thin layer of skin.”

When you bump the back of your elbow directly over the ulnar nerve, it’s caught between what you hit and the bony groove, explains Toriello. A painful electrical impulse is discharged from the nerve, which runs through the arm and into the little and ring fingers.

So shouldn’t it be called the painful nerve, instead of the funny bone? One theory is that the name funny bone is a pun on the Latin word humerus, which describes the part of the arm between the eyes will extrude or ‘pop out’ if we sneeze too forcefully,” says Brian Smart, MD, chairman of the eyes when we sneeze isn’t to keep them from popping out of our heads, then why bother?

“Similar to the reflex that occurs when your brain freeze really your fatigue, or pressure. So relax, and let earworms find someone else to feed on.

Sleep Tight

Now that you know the answers to some of life’s medical mysteries, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs? They’re 1/4 inch long, reddish-brown, and are usually detected by welts and irritations on the skin that aren’t there when you go to bed but are when you wake up, according to the University of Kentucky Entomology web site. Solution? Call pest control.)