ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Slipped disc treatment. Coloured X-ray of the lumbar (lower) spine of a patient being treated, with chemonucleolysis, for a slipped disc. A needle can be seen between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae (orange blocks). The needle has been inserted into the intervertebral disc, which is slipped, or prolapsed. A prolapsed disc occurs when the inner soft, gelatinous material bulges through the fibrous outer coating. This puts pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, causing great pain. The needle contains the enzyme chymopapain, derived from the papaya, it dissolves the soft material, relieving the pressure on the nerves and reducing the short-term symptoms.
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