Previous studies on internet use frequency were focused on mental health impact, with little known about the impact on physical health during the COVID-19 lockdown. This study examined the impact of internet use frequency on self-reported physical health during the COVID-19 lockdown in Bangladesh. A web-based cross-sectional study on 3242 individuals was conducted from 2 August-1 October 2020. The survey covered demographics, internet use frequency and self-reported physical health questions. Linear regression analyses were used to examine the impact of internet use frequency on physical health. 72.5%, 69.9%, 65.1% and 55.3% respondents reported headache, back pain, numbness of the fingers and neck pain, respectively. The analyses showed increased physical health impact among regular (coefficient β = 0.52, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.18-0.85, p = 0.003), frequent (β = 1.21, 95% CI: 0.88-1.54, p < 0.001) and intense (β = 2.24, 95% CI: 1.91-2.57, p < 0.001) internet users. Other important predictors were gender, income, occupation, regions, and working status. Frequent and extensive uses of the internet were strong predictors of physical health problems, and our findings suggest the need for increased awareness about the physical health problems that can be triggered by excessive internet usage.
Keywords: back pain; coronavirus; headache; internet; lockdown; neck pain; physical health.