The 19th edition of Safer Internet Day is celebrated on Tuesday, 8 February 2022. With the theme, “Together for a better internet”, this global Safer Internet Day (SID) campaign at raising awareness on emerging online issues and current concerns. The day encourages everyone to join together to make the internet a safer and better place for all, especially for children and young people.

Internet Usage and Health Concerns

A study discussed in Science News for Students has reported that spending too much time on the internet could lead to health problems. The study has found that heavy Internet use can put teens at serious risk of high blood pressure. Overuse of internet,whether on computer, smartphone or any other devices can cause many health issues. As a professional medical billing and coding company assisting physicians with their claim submission requirements, we understand that persistent high blood pressure can trigger serious health problems, from kidney disease and memory loss to eye damage and heart disease or stroke. Here is a look at some major health concerns associated with heavy internet use.

  • Posture-related injuries

Using computer for a long time or sitting in a bad posture can lead to conditions such as back and neck pain, headache, shoulder and arm pain and more. Sitting steadily for a long time can lead to physical fatigue (tiredness). Overuse injuries related to computers or smartphone devices mainly occur in the elbow, wrist or hand. Symptoms of these overuse injuries include pain, swelling, stiffness of the joints, weakness and numbness. Unsupported neck posture can result in text neck or tech neck. This condition also affects the upper back and shoulder and may even cause a herniated disc. Overuse of phones may result in cervical radiculopathy.

  • R51 Headache
    • R51.0 Headache with orthostatic component, not elsewhere classified
    • R51.9 Headache, unspecified
  • M43.6 Torticollis
  • M54.2 Cervicalgia (Neck Pain)
  • M25.51 Pain in shoulder
    • M25.511 Pain in right shoulder
    • M25.512 Pain in left shoulder
    • M25.519 Pain in unspecified shoulder
  • M50.2 Other cervical disc displacement
  • M54.12 Radiculopathy, cervical region
  • M50.1 Cervical disc disorder with radiculopathy

Check out our infographic on ICD-10 codes to report symptoms of text neck

Eyestrain from overuse

Prolonged use of digital devices such as computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone can lead to eye fatigue and computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. Common symptoms associated with this condition are – eyestrain, headache, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms can be caused by poor lighting, in appropriate viewing distances, poor seating posture, etc. The American Optometric Association recommends following the 20-20-20 rule, which is taking a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away every 20 minutes, to alleviate digital eyestrain.

  • H49: Paralytic strabismus
  • H50: Other Strabismus
  • H51: Other disorders of binocular movement
  • H53: Visual disturbances
  • H54: Blindness and low vision

Gaming addiction

Addiction to computer games can result in serious physical and mental health hazards such as – auditory hallucinations, enuresis, encopresis, wrist pain, skin disorders, neck pain, elbow pain, vision problems, tenosynovitis, hand-arm vibration syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, peripheral neuropathy, and obesity.

  • R44.0 Auditory hallucinations
  • R44.1 Visual hallucinations
  • R44.2 Other hallucinations
  • R44.3 Hallucinations, unspecified
  • F98.0 Enuresis not due to a substance or known physiological condition
  • F98.1 Encopresis not due to a substance or known physiological condition
  • M25.53 Pain in wrist
    • M25.531 Pain in right wrist
    • M25.532 Pain in left wrist
    • M25.539 Pain in unspecified wrist
  • M25.51 Pain in shoulder
    • M25.511 Pain in right shoulder
    • M25.512 Pain in left shoulder
    • M25.519 Pain in unspecified shoulder
  • M25.52 Pain in elbow
    • M25.521 Pain in right elbow
    • M25.522 Pain in left elbow
    • M25.529 Pain in unspecified elbow
  • M65.9 Synovitis and tenosynovitis, unspecified
  • M70.92 Unspecified soft tissue disorder related to use, overuse and pressure of upper arm
  • G90.0 Idiopathic peripheral autonomic neuropathy
  • E66 Overweight and obesity
    • E66.0 Obesity due to excess calories
    • E66.01 Morbid (severe) obesity due to excess calories
    • E66.09 Other obesity due to excess calories

Mental health issues

Excessive internet use may result in mental health hazards such as depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, failure to eat for long periods, Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), poor family relationships etc.

  • F32.A Depression, unspecified
  • F41.9 Anxiety disorder, unspecified
  • Z72.820 Sleep deprivation
  • F42 Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • F60.5 Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

The above listed conditions need appropriate treatment procedures have to be accurately documented on the medical claims using the right ICD-10 diagnosis codes and the CPT codes. Practices providing treatment for such health hazards can rely on medical billing outsourcing companies for their medical billing and claim processing requirements.