Sciatica is leg pain that ranges in severity from a feeling similar to a bad leg cramp to unbearable pain that shoots up and down your leg and makes standing or sitting nearly impossible. If you suffer from these symptoms, Drs. Leo and Courtney Meltvedt at Chiropractic Life Center in Encinitas, California, offer expert chiropractic care so sciatica doesn’t interfere with your everyday life any longer.

Call (760) 783-0105 to make an appointment today.


Sciatica Q&A

What is sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the biggest nerve in your body. It controls muscles in the back of your knee and lower leg and provides feeling to the back of your thigh, lower leg, and the sole of your foot. Sciatica is a symptom of a problem with your sciatic nerve. Sciatica often causes pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling that starts in your lower back and goes into your calf or foot on one side of your body. Other signs you may suffer from sciatica include: 

  • Weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Inability to bend your knee
  • Unable to move your foot and toes
  • The pain from sciatica often gets worse when you sit, sneeze, or cough.

Sciatica is not a stand-alone diagnosis. Instead, it’s a symptom of another underlying medical condition such as:

  • Herniated or slipped disc: most common cause of sciatica; causes pressure on a nerve root
  • Piriformis syndrome: a small muscle in your buttocks gets tight or spasms
  • Spinal stenosis: results from a narrowing of your spinal canal
  • Spondylolisthesis: your vertebra slips, which can lead to nerve roots getting squeezed
  • Degenerative disc disease: the discs between your vertebrae lose cushioning
How is sciatica diagnosed?

To accurately diagnose the cause of your sciatica, your doctor at Chiropractic Life Center reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam, which includes performing a number of exercises known to make sciatica worse to help verify that it’s the cause of your pain. Some of the more common activities check your muscle strength and reflexes, and include:

  • Walking on your toes or heels
  • Rising from a squatting position
  • Lifting your legs one at a time while lying on your back

Additionally, they use motion X-rays to determine where the spinal joints are moving and where they are restricted.. Motion X-rays enable them to clinically assess the stability of your lumbar spine and detect unusual motion between your vertebrae.

How is sciatica treated?

The methods used at Chiropractic Life Center to relieve your sciatica include:

Chiropractic Adjustments
The doctors use a variety of specific adjustive techniques and will tailor-make an adjustment for you depending on your needs and your preference.

Invertrac is a bent-knee inversion table that uses the effects of gravity on the human body to reverse tension on your spine and relieve back pain by easing pressure on your discs.

Ball exercises
Ball exercises introduce instability into basic floor exercises to help strengthen and develop your core body muscles and stabilize your spine.

Wobble seats
Wobble seats are specially-designed chairs that help with exercise motions needed for neuromuscular re-education (NMR), lumbar disc mobility, rehydration, nutrition delivery, and waste elimination.

Stabilization techniques
Stabilization techniques are strengthening exercises for the muscles that support your spine and prevent lower back pain.


For relief from the causes and symptoms of sciatica, call (760) 783-0105 to make an appointment today.