Patient Recovery Story: Getting Back to the Box

crossfit injury recovery new orleans

When Kristin Mann first started CrossFit nearly five years ago, she did so at CrossFit Roux in New Orleans. The advantages of CrossFit were massive. Being diabetic, Kristin was able to keep her health in check by working out consistently and it wasn’t long before the exercise regimen became one of her favorite hobbies and a huge part of her life. “I found something that I was pretty good at. I was enjoying it and also seeing growth,” she described. Over the next few years, Kristin began going to CrossFit about 4-5 times per week. “I love the atmosphere and the people. It’s a very supportive environment.”

Cut to May, 2017: One Saturday morning, Kristin woke up in a lot of pain. Her arm was completely numb and she had lost full range of motion in her head and neck. “At first I thought I was having a heart attack,” she explains. “My arm wasn’t moving and my head was sort of stuck. If I moved it out of a certain position, it hurt a lot. It was weird to think that I didn’t have control over a part of my body. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t move my arm.” After a few unnerving minutes, Kristin’s fiance asked if she needed to go to the emergency room. “I don’t know, let me text Jonathan,” she replied.

Kristin was referring to Jonathan Burke, physical therapist and Clinic Director at Therapydia NOLA. Kristin had seen Jonathan a couple of times over the years for little things here and there and she knew him well as a trainer at CrossFit Roux. Despite it being a holiday weekend and although he was away attending a seminar, Jonathan quickly replied, asking Kristin to send him a few videos demonstrating her mobility. Thankfully, he was able to give her enough advice and instruction to get her through the weekend.

“I sent Jonathan a video, he sent me one back. He gave me some basic movements so I could stretch my arm out a little bit. He ended up coming in to work at 5AM the following Monday morning so he could help me.”

It turned out that Kristin had a herniated disc in her cervical spine. One of the scarier elements of the injury was that it wasn’t as if she had been mid-workout and felt something tweak, leading to the numbness and pain. The day prior to waking up with pain, she had gone about her business as usual: she did her workout, went out to dinner, saw friends and then went to bed. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Recovery Process

The beginning of her recovery was tough. Kristin spent the first month basically confined to her couch. Once the pain began to subside, she was able to start moving again and with Jonathan’s help, she worked her way up from slow movements to walking to eventually coming back to the gym. Her physical therapy treatment consisted of a lot of exercises, trigger point dry needling and manual therapy. “Eventually I was able to go back to CrossFit but I was modifying everything a whole lot.” As a CrossFit trainer, Jonathan was able to help her out to make sure she didn’t aggravate any of the progress that she had been making during her recovery.

“Jonathan was very persistent that I needed patience and that it would take time and that I would recover.” Kristin was able to put a lot of faith in his word and believed that through doing her exercises, she would get there. “But there were also times that I struggled with it and thought: how long could this take?”

Kristin was incredibly surprised just how difficult it was to come back. With CrossFit being such a huge part of her life, she found that she wasn’t able to lift or perform the exercises that she was used to do doing for so long. That wasn’t going to work for her. With Jonathan’s help and her own resolve, Kristin powered through her recovery even when it was really difficult. For her health and her own personal well-being, Kristin admitted that there were things that she wouldn’t be able to do but she was determined to figure out the things that she could.

Progress Report: Where is she now?

Almost a year later, Kristin has mostly recovered. Not only has she gotten back the full movement of her arm but she’s also been able to gain a little perspective on life and CrossFit:

“Prior to my injury, I wasn’t competing with myself, I was competing with other people. The injury allowed me to take a step back and say, okay, why am I doing this? I’m doing it because I want fitness. It helped me re-prioritize why I was doing CrossFit.”

Kristin is back in action doing CrossFit and finally lifting heavier weights. She just recently started lifting over her head again and still sees Jonathan about once a month to monitor her recovery and to check-in. “I’m so psyched that I’m better.” Kristin is currently planning a week-long bike ride this summer from Germany to Austria. “I told Jonathan: you need to get me in tiptop shape.”

As she continues to progress in her recovery, Kristin maintains an extremely healthy outlook: “At the end of the day, I know that there are things that are way worse that could happen and the fact that I have been able to recover so much, I’m just so grateful for that.”

Have a story you’d like for us to share? Email us at!

Do you know the difference between soreness and pain?

The attached article describes the difference between soreness and pain. People often don’t seek help until they are experiencing pain that limits them from participating in their fitness regimen of choice. We can help you stay injury free on your path to becoming the best version of yourself.

Our bodies move in the path of least resistance, meaning if you have limited range of motion in one area of your body, another area will pick up the slack. This is often referred to as a compensatory movement pattern. Over time with increased training loads and volume this can lead to injury. By having a movement assessment performed prior to starting a fitness program we can help you restore movement patterns and decrease your injury risk while improving your performance.

Call us today to schedule your movement assessment and let us guide you to optimal performance. 504.324.8345

My Road To Recovery After A Weightlifting Injury

As told by Jason Bourgeois, former patient of Therapydia NOLA physical therapy and wellness clinic. 

Last March, I tore my left quadriceps tendon (see injury below). I’d had an old injury that caused some scar tissue build-up and calcification. While doing some routine training, that scar tissue finally had enough and ruptured.

The Injury:


After getting the news from the doctor in the Ochsner ER, I figured my weightlifting days were over. After surgery, I connected with Jonathan Burke, a physical therapist at Therapydia NOLA. I wanted to work with him because of his background in CrossFit. It was important to me that my PT understand what I was trying to work back to.

Seated Bike in April:


Airdyne in May:


Putting In The Work

We first worked on gently restoring passive range-of-motion (ROM) on my affected side. When we reached the first set of ROM goals, we then focused on the kinetic chain – ankle, hip and lumbar spine – and restored strength to each of these areas.  During each treatment session, I worked one-on-one with Jonathan. Therapydia’s individualized approach to physical therapy really sets them apart from other PT clinics.

After several months of hard work, I was able to squat for the first time at the end of May. I worked with Jonathan to restore my range of motion and movement patterns during that time. We set the goal of getting back to 80% of my previous lifts in one year.

First Squat (May):


Squat 135lbs (June):


Nine months to the day from my injury, I exceeded my goal by a significant margin and completed a Snatch 286 lbs in December:


I honestly did not believe I would get back to that kind of weight in such a short time, if ever. Working with Jonathan helped me immeasurably. He understood what I was going through, what I wanted to accomplish and helped me get there. He pushed me when I needed it and restrained me when I wanted to go too quickly. I cannot recommend Jonathan Burke, DPT and Therapydia NOLA highly enough.

Sciatic Pain, Are You Suffering? Louisiana Residents Now Have Direct Access to Physical Therapy!


Top 10 Most Burning Questions for Sciatica

Therapydia NOLA

1. Q. How long is this going to take to go away?
A. It depends…it depends on YOU.

In general, it takes 4 to 8 weeks to go through the first 2 phases of healing (no pain, all movement and strength back to normal.

It may take another 1 to 4 months to get back to all activities you want to do…depending on how active you are. This is the third phase of healing.

Here are some variables that determine how fast someone can heal;
√ Overall health. Healthy people heal faster. Young people heal faster.
√ Other health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, tobacco use, alcohol abuse and body weight all influence healing rates and make the time to heal longer.
√ Diet. People who consume more nutrients in their calories (Dr. Joel Fuhrman calls this “Nutrarian”) heal faster than those who primarily eat processed foods.
√ Rest levels. Our bodies need sleep and rest to rebuild. A lack of sleep slows healing time.
√ Stress levels. People who have high levels of stress heal more slowly.
√ Sedentary lifestyle. People who sit all day for work or to watch TV heal more slowly.
√ People who follow advice and instruction from top level healthcare professionals heal more quickly than those who do not follow through with care.
√ People who are highly aware of their daily postures and habits heal more quickly, because they can adjust habits such as sleep or sitting positions more quickly.

2. Q: How long before I see improvements?
A: Most people we see in the clinic feel better in 2 to 3 visits or within 1 to 2 weeks. If you go longer than 2 weeks without feeling better or moving better, you may be wrong about the cause of your sciatica.
Because we offer one on one care with our patients, your therapist can and will reassess you progress before and during you visit to assure you are getting the care you need to meet your goals.

3. Q: Can I be completely healed or will this come back again:
A: Most people we see who complete the 3 Phases of Healing (meaning they no longer have pain, motion and strength are back to normal and they’re back to doing all the activites they want to do without pain) have a minimal chance the pain will return. The stronger the person is, the less likely the sciatica symptoms will come back.

Your body is a bit like a car. If you take care of it, regularly change the oil and keep it running and fine tuned, there is little chance it will break down. If you ignore it, it is very likely to break down and be in need of repair.

4. Q: Do I need any special equipment?
A: At Therapydia NOLA we use a minimalist approach. We do no use big fancy equipment. [Our model focuses on one on one hands on physical therapy.] We use a variety of techniques including, manual therapy, instrument assisted manual therapy, dry needing, SFMA, and if needed, we have a traction unit in our private treatment room. All patient treatment plans for both in clinic and at home exercises are tailored to each individual and monitored closely by their Doctor of Physical Therapy. Our patients are never handed off to an assistant or tech.

5. Q: Should I use heat or ice on my leg?
A: The cause of most sciatica (pain, numbness or tingling in the leg) is in the lower back. Ice or heat on the leg will not change this.

Consider that sciatica is “inflammation”. So if you’re inflamed, do you want to put heat on it and make it more inflamed? Or ice to calm the inflammation down? We have seen some people use ice on the lower back to calm down the inflammation temporarily.

6. Q: Which exercises should I do:
A: The best exercises for you depend on what the cause of your sciatica is.

We cover the 3 most common causes;
Herniated discs
Stenosis, arthritis
Pelvic or SI joint problem

Each has a series of gradually more advanced exercises. Your therapist will address this and design your exercise program.

7. Q: How often should I do the exercises: And do I need to do them forever?
A: Most people we work with in the clinic for sciatica do the exercises at least once per day, every day. Some will do them up to 3 times per day.

Doing the same exact exercises for years without changing could be a mistake. In general, to get stronger, your exercise should progress and get more difficult. With training your body adapts.

Keep in mind, there are 2 rules for training;
1. Everything works.
2. Nothing works forever.

One of the best programs you can move on to once you complete the 3 Phases of Healing for your sciatica is a consistent walking program. People who walk every day have less risk of reinjuring their back and sciatica.

8. Q: What do I need to do for complete care? Am I going to relapse?
A: The best thing to do for sciatica, if you are worried about it coming back again in the future, is to complete all 3 Phases of Healing.

Phase One is where you focus on getting rid of the pain, numbness and tingling.
Phase Two is where you focus on getting normal movement back and full strength.
Phase Three is where you go back to previous activities you want to do.

We will want to know what your previous activities were before your sciatica, once you are at phase 3 we will guide you back into those activities slowly, after a couple of months we will want to re-check your progress. However, it is very important that you also continue your home program of exercises to insure your body continues to get stronger.

Some people will have a relapse. We will then take a look at the activity and at the program to help them get back on the right track. As mentioned before, people who are stronger recover more quickly. It is usually only one to two visits before that person is on the right track again.

9. Q: How do I know the cause of my pain?
A: There are 3 common cause of pain and here are some general guidelines for each;
-People with sciatica from herniated disc usually have pain bending forward, twisting, coughing or sneezing. The sciatic pain they experience is usually sharp and runs specifically down the back of the leg, possibly into the foot. Herniated disc sufferers are usually 35 years of age or younger.
-People suffering from sciatica because of stenosis or arthritis usually answer yes to these 3 questions;
50 years of age or older?
Pain with standing or walking?
Relief with sitting?
-People suffering with sciatica from SI Joint or Pelvic problems usually have pain with sitting for long periods of time. The sciatica they experience is usually on the outside of the thigh. Symptoms may include heaviness of one leg or feeling twisted.

10. Q: Which position should I sleep in?
A: On your back is best. Next would be on your side. Last would be your stomach.
Regardless, it is best to keep your spine in a neutral position and not twisted to the left or the right, keeping it’s natural curve. Pillows or folded towels can be placed under your knees, side, or feet to help you sleep in the least painful position for you.

Ready For The Open: Workout 16.5

The last Open Workout of 2016 is… a repeat of 14.5! Are you having flashback to 2 years ago? Workout 16.5 is all about having hip mobility and proper front rack position. Remember to keep your upper back and chest nice and tall. With Thrusters, when fatigue sets in, elbows tend to drop forward causes the upper and middle back to drop forward as well. This causes strain in these areas and this type of inefficient position not only hurts performance but can lead to injury. Jonathan is a CrossFit Coach at CrossFit Roux and a common tip he gives CrossFitters is to widen hands out a bit (outside your shoulder) to get your elbow up in a better position.

Hip and back problems comes about with high rep or high load. With Burpees, your body is undergoing a quick succession of a closing and opening motion. Making sure your mid-line is stable will save your back and save you time.

To get joints lubricated prior to doing 16.5, here are a couple of exercises we recommend.
• Split-lunge: Get hip and groin open.
• Goblet squat: Practice getting to the bottom of squat
• Workout 16.1 warmup exercises are also relevant for this 16.5: T-spine over medicine ball, Thoracic spine extension, Burpee Prep

CrossFit Athlete Mat Fraser finished his Workout 16.5 in a little over 8 minutes. What’s your goal? Thanks for including us as part of your 2016 Open Workout journey!

Ready For The Open: Workout 16.3 Pre-Workout Warmup Exercises

Open Workout 16.3 has arrived. This workout consists of completing as many rounds and reps as possible in 7 minutes of:
10 power snatches
3 bar muscle-ups

Men use 75 lb.
Women use 55 lb.

Lots of pulling motion required in this Open Workout.

Watch 2 exercises you can do you prior to your workout to prevent injuries and increase your reps.

Mobilize lateral border of your scapula

  • Tools needed: Ball (lacrosse or tennis) and wall
  • Reps: 15-20

Stretch anterior shoulder

  • Tools needed: PVC pipe
  • Reps: 15-20

Crossfit Open Workout 16.2 Injury Prevention Tips

In this Hangout, we will review how to properly warmup for 16.2 and the proper movements to complete 16.2 injury-free. This workout is cardio-focused – your heart rate will be elevated after Toes-to-Bar and Double-Unders, but it is important to conserve energy for your Squat Cleans.

Toes-to-Bar: Strength and Flexibility

– Midline stability is key to doing this exercise

– Note: Pulling your hamstring is the biggest injury to watch out for in this exercise. Supermans, planks and other exercises to that help lengthen your hamstring will him avoid this injury.

Double-Unders: Technique

– Keep elbows close in and  shoulders relaxed

Squat Cleans: Strength

– Jonathan demonstrates exercises to activate your hips prior to starting your rep

More details on 16.2 Workout here:

CrossFit Open 16.1 Workout Tips

The Open is upon us – are you ready for 16.1? Hear from our PTs around how to do Open 16.1 with proper form and without injury. This video includes demonstrations on hip, shoulder and upper back mobilization and activation exercises. These exercises are also good for your workout cool downs.

      Exercises include:

    • Thoracic spine extension over a medicine ball
    • Couch stretch
    • Thoracic spine extension
    • Burpee prep
    • Shoulder activation
    • Split-squat lunge position

Each of these exercises will prepare you for the 16.1 Workout; complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 20 minutes of:

  • 25-ft. overhead walking lunge
  • 8 burpees
  • 25-ft. overhead walking lunge
  • 8 chest-to-bar pull-ups

We’re Here To Support Your 2016 CrossFit Open

Watch the Google Hangout to hear our discussion on The CrossFit Games Open is and how we’ll help you with each of the upcoming five workouts.

The CrossFit Open is a five-week program during which one secret workout is released each week to challenge people to determine what their weaknesses are such as strength and motor control. CrossFit is all about functional movement at a high intensity and high intensity varies between individuals.

Over the next five weeks, we will analyze CrossFit Open workouts as they come out to help athletes prevent injuries. We will modify the movements based on potential pain areas to help you reach your Open goals.

The 2016 Open begins February 25 and ends on March 28. Check in next week to watch our analysis of the Open Workout 16.1. If you have questions in the meantime, please feel free to reach out to and

Weighing In On Wednesday: Not Everyone Likes to Exercise

If you do not like to exercise, or even the thought of doing so, you are not alone. There are as many excuses as there are stars in the sky to get out of doing it. But our overall physical health depends on a combination of both exercise and nutrition. So if you haven’t exercised in a while or you have been thinking you should begin an exercise routine, just take the first step! The first step is always the hardest, you cannot run before you walk. Here is an article that gives simple steps to beginning a work out routine that you will stick with, EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE TO EXERCISE!