The Impairment Physical Exam

20 January 2012 / Impairment Physical Exam / Comments Off on The Impairment Physical Exam

The physical examination begins immediately when you greet the employee and introduce yourself. Watch how the employee exits the waiting room chair, and if they use their arms to assist standing. Is there a grimace with the initiation of motion? What is the character of the gait?


I try to find specifics in other parts of the exam other than the body part of the claim to demonstrate that indeed a full and complete exam was performed. For example, I comment on the condition of the teeth, scars on the neck, chest, torso and abdomen etc. This also makes it clear to the reader of the report that the other sections of your exam are not a default block template, but rather, an accurate and complete survey of the employee.


You will find that an employee examined with this degree of detail and care will often thank you for “the best” or “most complete” exam they have ever received. I also make a point to narrate the exam to the employee so they understand what I am seeing, and confirm it to be accurate and correct. Example: “This area appears to be tender on the uninjured side. Is this finding correct, or did I misunderstand something in the history we discussed?”

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