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Program Overview

In addition to a review of the scientific basis of dry needling and myofascial trigger points, the practical sessions focus on dry needling and manual techniques for the neck and shoulder muscles, including the upper trapezius, levator scapulae, post-cervical muscles (semispinalis, splenii, oblique capitis inferior, multifidi and rotatores, sternocleidomastoid, and medial scalene muscles. Students will review the anatomy, function, and dry needling techniques for each muscle.



Eligibility Requirements

The course is designed for physical therapists, dentists, physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and chiropractors. All participants are expected to participate in the hands-on portions of the courses. Entry-level physical therapy students are not eligible for the dry needling courses, but dental residents and physical therapy residents are welcome to attend.

Course Objectives

By the end of the training weekend, participants will be able to

  • discuss three basic principles of applied pain sciences as they relate to treating patients with musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.
  • demonstrate proper identification of 12 muscles of the body by surface anatomy and function.
  • demonstrate proper identification of the three key features of a trigger point.
  • name at least four anatomical structures to avoid when needling the sternocleidomastoid muscle.
  • compare and contrast three basic principles of dry needling and trigger point injections
  • demonstrate two different dry needling methods for the psoas major muscle.


Note: Actual times may vary with each program at the discretion of the instructor.

Refreshments, including coffee, tea, water, and snacks, are provided throughout the day; meals are on your own.

Day 1 7:30–8:00 Registration
8:00–9:30 Lecture: Introduction to dry needling, muscle pain & the rules of needling, incl. OSHA Blood Borne Pathogen Standard
9:30–10:30 Practicum – basics of dry needling
10:30–10:45 Questions & Answers
10:45–12:30 Practicum – biceps brachii and triceps brachii muscles
12:30–1:30 Lunch break
1:30–2:00 Lecture: Myofascial pain
2:00–3:00 Practicum – upper trapezius muscle
3:00–3:15 Questions & Answers
3:15 – 4:15 Practicum – levator scapulae muscle
4:15–5:00 Introduction posterior neck muscles
Day 2 8:00–9:00 Practicum – posterior neck muscles
9:00-10:00 Practicum – oblique capitis inferior muscle
10:00-10:15 Questions & Answers
10:15-10:45 Lecture – headaches
12:30–1:30 Lunch break
1:30–3:00 Practicum – sternocleidomastoid muscle
3:00–3:15 Questions & Answers
3:15–4:15 Practicum – anterior and medial scalene muscle
4:15–5:00 How to manage your patient in your practice?


The course program consists of three 2-day courses, which must be attended in order.

ODN-I:  The Neck
ODN-2:  The Head and Face
ODN-3:  Clinical Integration and Certification Examinations