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First case of 'WhatsAppitis' diagnosed

After a woman woke up one morning complained of sore wrists, a Spanish doctor diagnosed it as ‘WhatAppitis’,
an ailment caused by marathon WhatsApp messaging sessions

A doctor in Granada, Spain  is advising fellow physicians to be “mindful” of the injuries that can result from using instant messaging services, after she diagnosed a 34-year-old pregnant woman with “WhatsAppitis”.



The case, described by the doctor in The Lancet, said the patient felt sudden pain in both her wrists after waking up in the morning.

Dr Inés Fernandez-Guerrero, of Granada’s General University Hospital, wrote that the patient “had no history of trauma and had not engaged in any excessive physical activity in previous days”. Hence, she ruled out carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve damage.

But, after talking to the patient, the cause became clear.

The patient had been working on Christmas Eve. The next day, she responded to the many WhatsApp messages that had been sent to her. She had held her mobile phone for at least 6 hours, during which she “made continuous movements with both thumbs to send messages,” said the doctor.

After examining the patient, the doctor wrote: “The diagnosis for the bilateral wrist pain is WhatsAppitis.” 

“Initially reported in children, such cases are now seen in adults,” warned Guerrero, adding “Tenosynovitis caused by texting with mobile phones could well be an emerging disease. Physicians need to be mindful of these new disorders.”

Prescription for treatment

The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal, wrote about the diagnosis, explaining that the treatment consisted of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. But, treatment also included — wait for it — “complete abstinence from using the phone to send messages.” The 27 weeks pregnant woman, however, only took acetaminophen and also, she did not completely abstain from smartphone messaging.

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