The following story was submitted to Cochrane Canada from a Masters Candidate at McGill University.
My mother has been dealing with chronic lumbar back pain for a long time and with the lack of information gained from a MRI and the varying advice of doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors the Cochrane Back reviews have been a mainstay for us as a source of objective information.
We first turned to The Cochrane Library to confirm a doctor's prescription of COX-2 inhibitors, which we found was supposed to provide some benefit.
Despite a rather ambivalent review on chiropractic therapy, my mother was referred to one by a friend. The chiropractor turned out to be very professional and empathetic, so she decided to trust the chiropractor's adjustments, assigned stretches and exercises which have been doing her some good.
The chiropractor also offered my mother acupuncture but after reading the Cochrane Review and seeing the lack of validation for the therapy, and because of her uneasiness with needles, she decided to forgo the treatment.
Furthermore we read the review on exercise and while it didn't really give us much direction, it did turn us onto cognitive behavioural therapy which we hadn't even considered before and which my mother is now pursuing.
Overall, my experience with Cochrane Reviews have reaffirmed my belief that they are an indispensable tool in patient advocacy and will only get better with time.