A doctor performing a patient’s physical examination looks for any possible signs or symptoms of a medical condition. Often certain employers or schools will require a physical to determine if a person is healthy enough to participate in the activities required of them.

Hillcroft Physician provider performing a physical exam


At Hillcroft Physicians clinic, we perform physicals for employment, immigration, schools, athletics, and summer camps. Regular physicals are essential for good health. Physicals measure important vital signs like a patient’s temperature, blood pressure, body mass index, and heart rate. Physicals evaluate your body using observation and non-invasive instruments to look into your eyes, ears, nose, and throat.

Our doctors spend time listening to our patient’s concerns, and we provide counseling for any particular complaints or risk factors. That is why it is so important for patients to come prepared with their medical history and any complaints or concerns about their health. Our doctors also learn about each patient’s lifestyle behaviors that could contribute to illness down the road. Doctors will also check on a patient’s vaccination status and update personal and family medical history.

Hillcroft Physician provider performing a physical exam

Health Tips & Info

What are some things checked by a doctor in a physical?
Doctors gather a large amount of information about you and your health by looking at and talking to you. How is your clarity and memory? Can you easily move? How does your skin look?

Lung Exam: Using a stethoscope, a doctor listens for abnormal sounds as you breathe. Wheezes, crackles, or other noises can indicate the presence of heart or lung disease.

Abdominal Exam: Some doctors tap a patient’s abdomen to detect liver size and the presence of abdominal fluid. Doctors will also listen for bowel sounds with a stethoscope, touch the stomach to determine tenderness.

Neurological Exam: Doctors will use various general non-invasive tests to evaluate nerves, muscle strength, reflexes, and balance.

Extremities Exam: Doctors will check the pulse rate in arms and legs to look for physical and sensory changes while examining joints for abnormalities.

Head and Neck Exam: Yes, doctors still ask patients to open up and say “ah” because it shows off their throat and tonsils. The health of your teeth and gums also provides information about your overall health. Ears, nose, sinuses, eyes, lymph nodes, thyroid, and carotid arteries may also be examined.

Heart Exam: Using a stethoscope, a doctor will listen to your heart to see if they can detect an irregular heartbeat, a heart murmur, or other clues to heart disease.

Blood pressure Exam: Less than 120 over less than 80 is normal blood pressure. Doctors define high blood pressure (hypertension) as 130 over 80 or higher.

Heart Rate Exam: Values between 60 and 100 are considered normal.

Respiration Rate Exam: From 12 to 16 breaths per minute is normal for a healthy adult. Breathing more than 20 times per minute can suggest heart or lung problems.

How can I best prepare for a physical?
Here are seven tips that will help you prepare for a thorough annual physical.

  • It is good to bring a list of medications you are currently taking.
  • Write down your family’s medical history to share with the doctor.
  • Bring the results of your latest medical tests.
  • Bring a current list of your immunizations.
  • Be assured your physical exam and results are confidential.
  • Write down any current or recent physical ailments you have been experiencing.
  • Bring a pen and paper to make notes.
What should I not do before a physical?
Here are some things to avoid before your physical to get the best assessment of your health and risk factors.

  • Don’t arrive without getting a good night’s sleep. Try to get eight hours the night before your exam, so your blood pressure is as low as possible.
  • Try and avoid salty or fatty foods in the 24 hours before a physical.
  • Avoid exercise the day of a physical so doctors can get the most accurate resting blood pressure reading possible.
  • Don’t drink coffee or any caffeinated products.
  • Don’t be dehydrated; drink plenty of water before your examination.