As a classically trained dancer, Catherine accumulated many injuries, which fostered her natural curiosity about how the human body works. At age 12, her physical therapists identified hypermobility as a likely contributor to her frequent aches and pains and introduced her to Pilates to help her find physical stability. She discovered yoga in her teens, which ultimately fueled her desire to learn and grow from her experiences.
At Wake Forest University, she was awarded a scholarship and earned awards for dance performance and choreography. After graduating, she danced professionally for several small dance companies while teaching Pilates and earning a certificate in Personal Training. A low back injury ended her dance career, but she continued teaching Pilates and training clients and also added fitness certifications in spinning, yoga, pelvic floor and prenatal exercise.
Catherine enjoyed working with a variety of individuals and groups as the lead instructor and owner of Equability Yoga and Pilates in Forest Park, IL. She was particularly interested in helping her clients and students to prevent or recover from injuries and after 5 years of running a successful business, she closed her studio in order to pursue her Doctoral studies in 2007. In PT school, she learned new words for symptoms she had been experiencing, including hypermobility syndrome, orthostatic intolerance, and spondylolisthesis.
After earning her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2010, Catherine set out to further specialize in Pelvic Floor and Orthopedic Manual Therapy. She joined the staff of Andersonville Physical Therapy and created the Pelvic and Abdominal Physical Therapy Program, where she continues to mentor pelvic physical therapists in their professional development. She currently sees patients at Chicago Physical Therapists, where she enjoys hour-long sessions that allow time for listening, connection, collaboration, and hands-on therapies that support the healing process.
Catherine has put her orthopedic, neurologic, and abdominopelvic training, as well as her exercise background to good use in serving patients with hypermobility spectrum disorders including Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and Marfan’s Syndrome. As many people with connective tissue disorders also have comorbid dysautonomia, Catherine has independently studied the effects of exercise, mind-body and manual therapies on the autonomic nervous system. Catherine understands that dysautonomia, like hypermobility, is often misdiagnosed and misunderstood-- it took decades (and a doctorate, self-diagnosis, and finding the right team of specialists) for her to be properly diagnosed! Catherine’s special interest in hypermobility and dysautonomia has led to a niche following of unique patients to challenge her clinical skills.
Catherine believes wholeheartedly that injuries are great teachers-- she learns from her own and those of her patients every day. Each of her various injuries/conditions has enabled her to cultivate compassion for those who struggle with their symptoms and the process of diagnosis, treatment, relapse and remission. She is profoundly grateful for the opportunity to help people connect to their own resilience and discover their strength.
Do you relate to Catherine’s account of her frequent injuries? Check here to see if you might also be hypermobile: