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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

Upon completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the basic principles of applied pain sciences
  • Identify select muscles of the body by surface anatomy and by function
  • Identify the features of the trigger point by physical examination and apply this knowledge to individual muscles in different regions of the body
  • Understand common precipitating and perpetuating factors of trigger points.
  • Perform muscle and region-specific manual therapy treatments to inactivate myofascial trigger points and restore movement patterns and posture, integrating various treatment techniques including dry needling and manual trigger point therapy
  • Understand the basic principles of dry needling and trigger point injections


Note: Actual times may vary with each program at the discretion of the instructor. Coffee breaks are provided; meals are on your own.

Day 1 7:30–8:00 Registration
8:00–9:30 Lecture: Introduction to myofascial pain and trigger points:
an evidence-informed review
9:30–10:30 Introduction to dry needling – Rules of needling –
OSHA Blood Borne Pathogen Standard
10:30–10:45 Coffee/tea break
10:45–11:15 The role of trigger points in head and neck pain
11:15–12:30 Practicum – basics of dry needling
12:30–1:30 Lunch break
1:30–2:30 Practicum – upper trapezius muscle
2:30–3:00 Practicum – levator scapulae muscle I
3:00–3:15 Coffee/tea break
3:15–4:00 Practicum – levator scapulae muscle II
4:00–5:00 Introduction posterior neck muscles
Day 2 8:00–10:00 Practicum – posterior neck muscles
10:00–10:15 Coffee/tea break
10:15–11:30 Practicum – oblique capitis inferior muscle
11:30–12:30 Lecture – headaches
12:30–1:30 Lunch break
1:30–3:00 Practicum – sternocleidomastoid muscle
3:00–3:15 Coffee/tea break
3:15–4:15 Practicum – medial scalene muscle
4:15–5:00 Lecture – perpetuating factors


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