Spanish doctor treats patient for “WhatsAppititis”

A doctor in southern Spain has added a useful new word to the medical lexicon – WhatsAppititis.

The doctor treated a 34-year-old pregnant woman for repetitive strain injury caused by over use of instant messaging services, and warned fellow practitioners to be “mindful” of the problems they can cause.

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According to the doctor, Inés Fernandez-Guerrero of Granada’s General University hospital, the symptoms the patient experienced were sudden pain in both wrists after waking up in the morning.

Writing in medical journal The Lancet, she said the patient “had no history of trauma and had not engaged in any excessive physical activity in previous days”. She also ruled out carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve damage, according to the Guardian.

Doctor Fernandez-Guerrero said her patient had been working on Christmas Eve, and that the following day she had replied to her WhatsApp messages, spending six hours with her phone in her hands, during which time she “made continuous movements with both thumbs to send messages”.

The doctor’s diagnosis? WhatsAppititis.

The treatment was “complete abstinence from using the phone to send messages,” along with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Fernandez-Guerrero compared the injury to 1990s medical phenomenon “Nintendinitis”, or “Nintendo Thumb”, suffered by children and adults as a result from spending an inordinate amount of time playing computer games.

Pain from overuse of mobile phones “could well be an emerging disease”, she added.

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