A physical examination is a comprehensive routine test performed to check your health. The test is carried out by a primary care provider (PCP) who might be a doctor, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner. Since it’s the general evaluation of your well-being, you don’t need to be unwell to request for the exam. Apart from the evaluation procedure, you may ask questions or discuss any concerns with the PCP. During the physical examination, a series of tests are performed primarily depending on your medical history, age, and other factors.

In this entire duration, your healthcare provider is more likely to collect all possible cues and clues. Some of them are based on the information you provide while others are collected based on physical examination findings. The detailed diagnosis is performed using x-ray machines, echocardiograms, scanners, etc.

Screening of Medical Issues

Even if you have minor symptoms of a certain medical condition, it will be diagnosed in the physical examination thus preventing any upcoming health problems. These routine checkups play an integral role in identifying any problems before they become vulnerable to health. For instance, high blood pressure combined with a family history has more probability of developing hypertension. Identifying any concerns before they affect your well-being is the best way to take care of yourself. Further, they assist you with a better lifestyle including the right diet and workout routine.

Vaccination and Illness

Vaccines are not only developed for children. Rather, occasional booster shots for enhanced immunization is important for adults as well. Primarily depending on your lifestyle, and age, the doctor may recommend a vaccine against whooping cough or flu. By developing a relationship with your primary healthcare provider, they help you with faster treatment if you suffer from any illness. You can connect with them at any time and schedule your appointment immediately.

Let’s take a look at some of the common tests carried under physical examination as soon as you enter the walk-in clinic in Chicago.

Auscultation Examination

It’s an important physical examination technique commonly used by healthcare providers to understand the condition of your lungs, heart, and abdomen. Subsequently, they figure out if there are any problems. The technique is performed using a stethoscope. If there are some unusual findings, further testing is recommended. To diagnose the neck, they listen to the sound in your arteries and identify if something is blocking the sound of blood flow. Moreover, they listen to the heart sound and find out if it’s beating normally. In case of any murmurs, they may recommend further evaluation since it signifies any life-threatening or non-life-threatening issues. To test the lungs, the healthcare provider will use their stethoscope anywhere on the back or front of your chest wall. This is performed to listen to the airflow in and out of the lungs. Likewise, the abdomen and other locations are evaluated.

Neurologic Examination

When undergoing the physical exam, another common checkup is the neurologic examination. This can be limited or detailed depending on the findings. Generally, it is divided into four segments including motor function assessment, cranial nerve assessment, sensory function assessment, and reflexes assessment. Motor function evaluation focuses on the individual’s muscle strength and coordination. You will be asked to touch the nose and finger of the PCP with open and closed eyes. Cranial nerve evaluation is the assessment of 12 cranial nerves arising from the brain. For instance, a tongue depressor is used to evaluate the 9th and 10th cranial nerves. For sensory functioning, the healthcare provider checks the sensation such as temperature and pain. Finally, testing reflexes help in evaluating the central nervous system. The sharpness of response is measured.

What about Children?

If you are confused about whether toddlers and young children require a physical exam, the answer is they do! It commonly involves:

        Healthcare provider ask you questions regarding the child’s growth and development

        Evaluate their head circumference

        Listen to their heartbeat

        Tap on knees to measure the reflex

        Check the gross motor development where they may be asked to walk or jump

        Check the fine motor development where they may be asked to pick up certain items or perform the related task

        Take a look in their ears, eyes, and mouth

        Thoroughly examining the feet and the growth of genitals

How to prepare yourself for the physical examination?

In case you are unaware of any full physical exam near your home, you can always connect with the health insurance to provide you a list of healthcare providers in your area. On the other hand, if you have made an appointment, it’s time to get ready for the examination. If you are well-prepared for your physical examination, it will significantly help in the entire procedure. Here is some important information you should collect beforehand.

        List down any medication or supplements you take

        In case you are experiencing any pain, write it down 

        Findings from the recent most or relevant tests 

        Any surgical or medical history along with the information of healthcare providers 

        Other relevant questions you want to ask 

Once you have collected all the information, it’s time to prepare your mind for the examination. We recommend you dress up in comfortable clothing and avoid wearing any jewelry that may affect the procedure. For instance, certain tests cannot be performed if you are wearing something metallic.

Final Thoughts

The benefits of taking the physical examination are endless! It is important to be aware of your health and make improvements as recommended. Once all the tests are performed, your PCP will follow up via email or phone call. Get a copy of your test results and follow the instructions accordingly in case of any concerns. If you want to know anything else about the physical examination, feel free to write to us in the commend section below. Health should be your foremost priority – stay safe, stay healthy!