Medicine: New Help for Slipped Discs

Papaya injections alleviate lower-spine pain

Keith Elliott of Rumson, N.J., was desperate for help. Two of the spongy discs separating the vertebrae in his lower back had herniated, pressing on spinal nerves and causing excruciating pain. The 40-year-old business executive could either choose surgery to remove the "slipped" discs or go to Canada for a simpler, much ballyhooed but controversial therapy. The treatment: injection of chymopapain, a substance derived from the tropical papaya fruit.

Following the example of thousands of Americans, Elliott went north. Beginning in January, however, such pilgrimages will no longer be...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!