Your sleeping patterns might be the cause of a funny bone nerve tear.

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Funny Bone Nerve Tear

In the area most commonly called the funny bone, the ulnar nerve lies directly next to the bone and is susceptible to pressure. When the pressure becomes great enough on the nerve, the way the nerve works is disrupted and ultimately numbness, tingling and pain are felt in the forearm, elbow, hand and/or fingers.

Most often, those who sleep with their elbows bent, their arms above their heads or both are affected with this cubital tunnel syndrome. Over time, patterns of sleeping like this can irritate the nerve and create numbness of the ring and small finger, weakness of some muscles of the hand and forearm and pain.

You and your SMGOA physician will discuss a variety of elements such as your sleep positions, daily activities, risk factors, previous elbow injuries and when your symptoms began. In addition to the physical exam, x-rays and/or MRI and/or EMG may be ordered.

Initial treatments are to brace or splint the elbow, mostly during sleep and other injury causing activities. In addition anti-inflammatory medication can be recommended. Changing sleep positions and other exercises will also support recovery.

Surgery is used in the most extreme cases and includes moving the nerve from the front of the bump to under the skin or beneath the muscle in the area; or removing the bump, allowing the nerve to glide forward and back as the elbow bends and straightens.

Funny Bone Nerve Tear
The ulnar nerve runs behind the elbow on the inside of the arm.
Image courtesy of AAOS