There’s so much information available on treatment options for muscle, bone and joint conditions.

Some information will support the use of particular treatments, while other information will tell you the treatment doesn’t work. And most of the information sounds legitimate and persuasive.

So how do you know what to do or who to believe? One thing you can do is search the Cochrane Library for reliable and evidence-based information.

The Cochrane Library is a collection of medical and health databases provided by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international, independent organisation. It was established to make sure that everyone has access to current, accurate information about the effectiveness of healthcare treatments.

Through the Cochrane Library you can access Cochrane Reviews. Cochrane Reviews tell you how effective healthcare interventions are in improving your health or helping you with a particular health problem. These interventions include, but aren’t limited to, medications, vaccinations, exercises and treatments such as physiotherapy. Cochrane Reviews are updated regularly, ensuring that healthcare decisions can be based on the most up-to-date and reliable evidence. Each review starts with a question, for example: ‘How effective and safe are topically applied NSAIDs for chronic musculoskeletal pain in adults?’ Reviewers then collect, evaluate and summarise the available evidence on this topic.

Plain language information at your fingertips: Reviews can be many pages long, and quite complex. To help you access this information, each review has a plain language summary. You can usually find this at the top of the page, after the abstract.

Musculoskeletal Australia (or MSK) is the consumer organisation working with, and advocating on behalf of, people with arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, gout and over 150 other musculoskeletal conditions.

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