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The purpose of the history (Table 6-1) is to:

  1. Develop a working relationship and establish lines of communication with the patient.

  2. Elicit reports of potentially dangerous symptoms, or red flags, that require an immediate medical referral (Table 6-2).1

  3. Determine the chief complaint, its mechanism of injury, its severity, and its impact on the patient's function.

  4. Ascertain the specific location and nature of the symptoms.

  5. Determine the irritability of the symptoms.

  6. Establish a baseline of measurements.

  7. Elicit information on the history and past history of the current condition.

  8. Gather information about the patient's past general medical and surgical history, which can afford the clinician some insight as to the impact the information may have on the patient's tolerance or response to the planned intervention.

  9. Determine the goals and expectations of the patient from the physical therapy intervention, and the functional demands of a specific vocational or avocational activity to which the patient is planning to return.

Table 6-1. Contents of the History

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