Overview of Dry Needling & Functional Dry Needling® Courses


Functional Dry Needling

Dry Needling is a general term for a therapeutic treatment procedure that involves multiple advances of a filament needle into the muscle in the area of the body which produces pain and typically contains a trigger point. There is no injectable solution and typically the needle that is used is very thin. Most patients will not even feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it advances into the muscle, the discomfort can vary from patient to patient. Usually a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort upon insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or contains active trigger points, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp, often referred to as a 'twitch response".

The twitch response also has a biochemical characteristic to it which likely affects the reaction of the muscle, symptoms and response of the tissue. Along with the health of the tissue, the expertise of the practitioner can also attribute to the variation of discomfort and outcome. The patient may only feel the cramping sensation locally or they may feel a referral of pain or similar symptoms for which they are seeking treatment. A reproduction of their pain can be a helpful diagnostic indicator of the cause of the symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation, as it results in deactivating the trigger point, reducing pain and restoring normal length and function of the involved muscle. Typically, positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, overall health of the patient, and experience level of the practitioner.

Dry needling is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects. This technique is unequaled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.


The training courses KinetaCore provides in Dry Needling are titled Functional Dry Needling®, a trademarked term emphasizing the importance of evaluation and treatment by looking for the cause of the symptoms as well as the treatment of the symptoms, and by further enhancing the outcomes with corrective exercise and specific follow-up care. Functional Dry Needling course instruction will cover evaluation and application of dry needling along with topics such as common diagnosis and manual therapy assessment, safety precautions, clean needling techniques, review of the emerging literature, legal status, and billing and marketing. An anatomy review will also be covered -- it is expected that course participants have strong anatomy knowledge and palpation skills.

This course is designed for physical therapists but may be appropriate for specialized MDs, PAs, DCs, and DOs. Currently KinetaCore does not train CMTs, ATCs, RNs or Acupuncturists due to the variation in educational requirements and lack of support in scope of practice in each state.

KinetaCore's Position Statement on Physical Therapists Performing Dry Needling

Functional Dry Needling & Physical Therapists' Scope of Practice

Dry needling is considered to be a manual therapy technique and/or procedure, which utilizes a mechanical device, the filament needle. Professional continuing education is required which includes demonstration of competency in dry needling through practical testing for practice and instruction of the technique. KinetaCore agrees with the Federation of State Boards that dry needling is within the scope of practice of adequately trained physical therapists/physiotherapists. KinetaCore does not influence those trained to attempt to control the scope of practice of other medical professionals in order to limit their ability to learn this technique or practice within their own scope of practice. Physical therapists who intend to petition their state, provincial or federal board for acknowledgement of dry needling as within their scope of practice should be proficient in the technique and knowledgeable about its application to clinical practice. The technique will continue to evolve alongside advances in clinical practice and evidence based practice of the doctoring profession of physical therapy.

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