Rita Tikofsky has been living with pain. She has arthritis that gets especially bad in her shoulder.
"If I'm extending it and using it for anything such as reaching for a high shelf or opening one of the heavy doors," Tikofsky said.
But the new use of an old technology is giving Tikofsky some relief.
Doctors at this New York hospital are using ultrasound to take a look at the joints and pinpoint inflammation with better accuracy.
"Traditionally we use our fingers to feel the joint and see if there is inflammation or swelling," said Dr. Dimitrios Pappas of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia.
Doctors then let the ultrasound guide them as they inject medication or drain fluid.
The ultrasound is inexpensive and can be done immediately at a patient's bedside, eliminating the need for an X-ray or an MRI.
"We can do it having a patient moving. We can see the joint in motion," Pappas said.
After getting cortisone shots, Tikofsky says she already feels better.
"I can do things that may seem small, but are important to me. Such as being able to wash my hair without pain," she said.
And she's thankful there's less guessing when it comes to her pain relief.
There are other benefits to ultrasound. It's cheaper than an MRI and patients are not exposed to radiation from X-rays.
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