Patients should expect a physician or medical professional to gather medical history such as vaccinations, lifestyle behaviors and concerns about ailments during a free physical exam, explains WebMD. Physicians also check vital signs that include respiration rate, temperature, blood pressure and heart rate during a physical exam.
Physicians check the physical appearance of a patient during a physical exam, including observing how the patient walks and talks in addition to observing skin health, mental ability and mobility, according to WebMD. Medical professionals also check the head and neck to determine any problems associated with the sinuses, eyes, nose, ears and lymph nodes.
A physical exam is designed to check the overall health of a patient, including examining the abdomen to detect tenderness or the presence of abdominal fluid and abnormal bowel sounds, explains WebMD. The neurological portion of a physical exam includes evaluating muscle strength, balance, reflexes and nerve functions.
Males can expect a testicular exam, where a physician checks for changes in size, lumps or tenderness on each testicle, and a prostate exam, where a medical professional inspects the prostate for size and suspicious formations, according to WebMD. Females can expect a breast exam to determine any abnormal changes in size or the presence of lumps as well as a pelvic exam.