Common Tools You See a Doctor Use and Their Purposes

Common Tools You See a Doctor Use and Their Purposes

When you attend your appointment with your primary care physician, you may see them use a variety of tools and instruments as they gain clarity on your health. Each tool they use is vital to supporting their job demands and offering optimized health care. Here, we discuss a few common tools you see a doctor use and offer insight into their purposes so you understand them at your next appointment.

Reflex Hammers

A reflex hammer helps medical professionals apply an appropriate amount of force on a tendon to receive a reflex response. When they’re examining the central and peripheral nervous systems, the response provides insight into neurological health.

There are many different kinds of reflex hammers, and each serves a purpose intended for a designated part of the body. You may see your doctor use a range of hammers to achieve a response from one or multiple body parts.

Tongue Depressors

A tongue depressor is one of the most common tools a doctor may use, and its purpose is for mouth and throat exams. If you visit your provider with complaints of a respiratory or flu-like illness, they may examine your throat to check for infections or swelling.

The tongue depressor is a small, flat wooden stick that allows an unobstructed view of the back of the mouth. They may also shine a light into your mouth for optimal examination.


Like the tongue depressor, you’ll see a stethoscope around your provider’s neck or in their pocket at almost every visit. These are essential for practicing ethical medicine and help doctors listen for internal sounds from heartbeats, intestinal movements, and more. Nurses, doctors, and surgeons learn about and use these significant pieces of medical support in their daily practice.

Blood Pressure Cuffs

The blood pressure monitor and cuff are an item in almost every medical center or hospital exam room. These are similar to the stethoscope in use and offer a quick blood pressure examination.

Blood pressure is a vital sign that signals to providers a patient’s current condition and can indicate other health markers if the blood pressure is too low or too high. These are vital tools for monitoring and measuring patient care needs at any time.

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