SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION: I've uprooted my life in Chicago, IL to move to Charleston, SC. Nearly everything about my life has changed, and in time, I'll update my website to reflect those changes! Thank you for your patience.

After 15 years of clinical practice, I have taken a position researching the effects of vagal nerve stimulation in people who struggle with health challenges associated with hypermobility and hypermobile EDS (hEDS.) If you read further, you'll see that it is an area of personal and professional interest.

I didn't always know I had hEDS. I grew up with chronic musculoskeletal aches and pains that motivated me to become an orthopedic manual physical therapist so that I could help others with recurrent injuries and chronic pain. I had pelvic symptoms by the age of 15 that motivated me to become a pelvic health specialist. And when I recognized that my own nervous system was not functioning properly, I developed expertise in the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which helped me to secure a diagnosis of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and begin to manage my own symptoms. I learned that POTS is highly comorbid with hypermobility/hEDS, and became passionate about serving the EDS/POTS community. It was then that I realized it was all connected-- pain, pelvic issues and ANS dysfunction are just part of the constellation of symptoms that can arise when your connective tissue is hypermobile.

I've mentored colleagues in orthopedic and pelvic PT as well as the specialty practice of managing hypermobility, hEDS, POTS and long-COVID POTS. What I tell my mentees is that learning how to manage hypermobility-related issues will make you a better clinician for all your other patients, because connective tissue affects every system of the body. So even as I specialized further in hypermobility-related issues, I found myself improving as a clinician in a variety of areas and was better able to serve a variety of clients.

Along the way, I've incorporated tools from a variety of disciplines and been influenced by various teachers. My approach is always individualized and person-centered. It is trauma-informed and highly influenced by Polyvagal Theory and the work of Steven Porges. It is evidence-informed and particularly influenced by current pain neuroscience and the work of Lorimer Moseley and David Butler. I am able to incorporate tools from yoga therapy, pilates, and various forms of fitness training and mindfulness meditation that I have trained in, but I don't insist on any one approach. I'm most interested in what will work best for my client. Their unique needs, preferences and goals will guide my approach, and I will change my approach based on their feedback.

But it all starts with feeling heard and seen. Knowing that this person helping you has your back. Feeling safe with them, especially in the moments when your health concerns leave you feeling vulnerable.

It is a gift an an honor to provide that safe space for my clients. I enjoy working with individuals to create a strong therapeutic alliance and work toward their health and wellness goals. I enjoy working with professionals to hone their skills and provide current evidence-informed, person-centered, biopsychosocial care. I'm passionate about contributing to the evidence base so that we have better treatments to offer people in need.

If you believe you might benefit from my services, I hope you will consider contacting me at [email protected].

 

Wishing you all the best,

Dr. Catherine Lewan

Testimonials

Catherine is an energetic, bright, and passionate facilitator. She makes class fun and enjoyable!

“This was a great course, I think all therapists should attend. It is time for more focused attention to incontinence (and associated fall risk) in SNF/LTC and outpatient populations. I am so grateful I was able to attend and will be able to work this into our current rehab programs. “

Excellent speaker with a nice balance of lecture, lab, and shared case scenarios.

-Julie D

Dr. Catherine Lewan is very knowledgeable about EDS/POTS, and is always furthering her education on the subject. This makes her a wonderful physical therapist and an excellent problem solver for patients like myself. She teaches me so much about being hypermobile, no other physician has been able to help me like she has. I am better able to manage my symptoms now. I am so thankful for Dr. Catherine.

EDS/POTS

Very clear, inspirational and motivational. Passionate about her subject. Great teacher and course!

-Beth B

Catherine has literally changed my life. I was very limited physically, dealing with chronic pain in multiple parts of my body– I felt stuck, lost, weak, and powerless. Catherine introduced me to pain science, which has opened the door for me to a completely new world– one in which I’m strong and capable, where I understand what is happening in my body and the amazing ways in which our bodies can change and adapt.

Catherine always listens to everything I have to say and works as a “detective” trying to find clues that will help inform my treatment and what my body needs. She has empowered me by giving me multiple sources of information to understand chronic pain and tools to self-manage my symptoms and be independent. She encourages me to work towards specific goals-which keeps me super motivated- and I love how she is very dedicated to making sure I achieve them.

Catherine is extremely smart, committed, and compassionate.  I feel so very grateful I found her, and wish every person dealing with chronic pain had access to her gentle, wise, and empowering approach! 

“Thank you so much for your incredible patience, kindness, and expertise. I know that I am in good hands.”

If you are looking for a solid, intense workout lead by a positive, passionate, and totally well-informed instructor, you need to attend Catherine Lewan’s classes. As a dedicated yoga student of Catherine’s for over 5 years, I can attest she has positively changed my life. She shows you the way to think about your body in a different perspective and provides the instructions on how to make it better. She has variety in each class, gives excellent queues, hands-on adjustments (at your discretion), and insightful thoughts to help you with truly understanding the practice of yoga. Best of all, she loves life and it shows.

-Carolyn S

I have been a client of Dr. Cat’s over the past 10 years and can highly recommend her for sports injuries, pain associated with traveling weekly for work and just getting a bit older.
Dr. Cat has not only provided me with quick pain relief without medication but has also taught me how to prevent those injuries from reoccurring. She provides exercises to do at home between PT sessions that help me heal and also provide great relief.    Her knowledge of the body along with her ability to clearly explain what has caused my pain is peerless.
If you have any kind of injury or discomfort I would absolutely recommend Dr. Cat.  You will not be disappointed!
Eugene, 50-year-old traveling executive and weekend warrior

Catherine is very engaging, passionate about getting her message across, and has a good sense of humor. Her course was fun and useful.

-MR

“Dr. Catherine – the breathing techniques have literally ALREADY assisted with my bathroom habits. I am committed to continuing on this treatment path.

Thank you so much for your incredible patience, kindness, and expertise. I know that I am in good hands. “

Catherine has a very effective style, and is open to questions. She is very knowledgable, with good visuals, hands-on instruction, and example exercises. Great course! Thank you!

-Chris V