My Physical Exam Philosophy
The purpose of the physical exam is to strengthen or narrow down the differential diagnosis developed based on a thorough history, or to evaluate the significance of or change in the severity or progress of a known diagnosis. Your history and physical exam should also guide your decisions on imaging, and not the other way around.
The physical exam is also your connection to the patient through physical touch, which is so important in the development of the patient's trust in you. Throughout the years, I have heard numerous patients tell me of less than optimal experiences with other providers, and the story frequently ends with, "...and they never laid a hand on me."
In this section, I will break down the physical exam by body part and present it in the manner and "style" that I have developed and believe works best and most efficiently for me. The special tests that I describe may differ or be modified from original descriptions.
Content (click to navigate):