What is 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 which is used is very thin.

Most patients will not even feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it has and is advanced into the muscle, the feeling of discomfort can vary drastically from patient to patient.  Usually a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp — which is 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 outcome and/or discomfort.  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 patient’s symptoms. Patients soon learn to recognize and even welcome this sensation as it results in deactivating the trigger point, thereby 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.

What qualifications do I need to take the Dry Needling course and what previous experience is essential?

Prior knowledge or experience of Dry Needling is not required for successful completion of the Functional Dry Needling® Level 1 course. All participants are required to start with the KinetaCore Level 1 course regardless of previous Dry Needling training. KinetaCore teaches a specialized theory and application of dry needling that no other school or course teaches; therefore, all practitioners must start with the Level 1 Introductory course and progress through other KinetaCore courses thereafter.

Our courses are written for graduates of schools of Physical Therapy/Physiotherapy, Medicine, Osteopathy and Chiropractic. This course is extremely beneficial to practitioners with experience in the evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic pain disorders, as well as those clinicians who are seeking alternative, immediate and effective treatment options for the athletic population.  Professions that may participate in Functional Dry Needling training are those who have the ability, within their scope of practice, to puncture the skin and have extensive understanding of anatomy and palpation skills. The course was developed based on the anatomy and physiology education of the physical therapist, and practical and theoretical exams are based on this as well.  A passing grade for both the written and practical exams is required to receive the certification in Functional Dry Needling® training.

KinetaCore requires a minimum of six months of experience treating patients while licensed.  To see if your state requires a longer amount of time, please consult your state’s current scope of practice.

Please note, this course is not written for ATC, PTA or OT.  Acupuncturists may seek permission from KinetaCore with a professional referral.  Please email us at Education@KinetaCore.com  for details.

Are the Dry Needling courses within the PT scope of practice and are they accredited?

In the US, the KinetaCore Functional Dry Needling® courses have been widely accepted as quality education for dry needling.  The APTA has issued a white paper stance on its support of dry needling in the practice of physical therapy.  It is your responsibility to determine your licensing state’s approval of dry needling education and any requirements applicable to the education and practice of dry needling.  If you are interested in pursuing the acceptance of dry needling in your state’s physical therapy scope of practice, feel free to contact us for information.

Does this course count toward Continuing Education Units?

Our courses are approved in several states including Texas, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois. Each of our Functional Dry Needling® courses offer 27 contact hours.  If there is no pre-approval in your state, we can assist you in submitting necessary forms to get your approval.

Can I still take the course if my state does not list TDN/FDN in its PT scope of practice?

You may still take the course but it will be your responsibility to know the laws and regulations for your state. If you are interested in pursuing the process of getting dry needling accepted in your state, let the KinetaCore staff know and we will assist you in any way we can.

Am I immediately able to use Dry Needling on patients after I complete the Level 1 course successfully?

Successful completion of the Level 1 course will provide you with the skills and knowledge to begin utilizing Functional Dry Needling® immediately. However, it is up to you to determine your state or province’s requirements for dry needling education, certification, CEU credits and patient treatment. These requirements are different globally and change periodically. It is your responsibility to stay apprised of your licensing state and their updates on dry needling as they apply to your education. It is generally accepted that once you begin a course of study, you should progress through the course of study and complete your training.

Once you have successfully completed Level 2, you are deemed competent and skilled and have completed your course of study.  You are then a Functional Dry Needling® Practitioner.

Can I bill insurance for this treatment?

The quick answer for this is YES.  However, payment is dependent on your specific insurance contracts and on the state in which you practice.  This topic is covered more thoroughly in the courses regarding some of the variables you may encounter with billing.

What are some of the conditions I can treat after I complete these courses?

The focus of the Functional Dry Needling® Level 1 course is treatment for pain management and sport related injuries. Participants successfully completing the Level 1 and 2 courses will be able to treat pain and dysfunction originating from active myofascial trigger points that can lead to conditions such as: tendonopathies, movement impairments, and other orthopaedic and sport-related conditions of the following areas:

Level 1
Level 2
Hip Advanced Hip
Lumbar Spine Advanced Lumbar Spine
Thigh TMJ/Face
Cervical Spine Advanced Cervical Spine
Shoulder Thoracic Spine
Upper and Lower Extremity Advanced Upper and Lower Extremity

The most common cause of nerve irritation and neuropathic pain is underlying spinal degeneration (i.e. spondylosis of the spine), which can be a result of trauma and/or normal wear and tear. Spondylosis irritates the nerve root and leads to neuropathy which can result in muscle shortening. This process leads to pain and dysfunction in many common acute and chronic conditions that practitioners see in their everyday patient population. The introduction of a dry needle into the active trigger sites of these muscles can provide enormous relief of symptoms.

Dry Needling may also be used for acute and chronic sport-related injuries such as:

  • Muscular hematomas
  • Muscle tears
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Tennis/golfers elbow

The application of Functional Dry Needling® techniques for the above conditions will be demonstrated during these courses. In Level 2, participants will be instructed in advanced techniques which will include the use of a needle plunger. The Level 2 is considered advances based on the learning outcomes gained in Level 1 and/or for safety reasons.

Dry Needling can also be used for spinal conditions in which the underlying pathology may have triggered a movement disorder. This can result in the presence of reduced ROM or pain due to abnormal muscle tone or spasms. Such conditions may include:

  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Cervico-genic headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Hamstring issues

Common lower extremity conditions treated with Functional Dry Needling® include:

  • Patellar Femoral Syndrome
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Hamstring Strain
  • Groin Strain
  • Shin-splints, Compartment Syndrome
  • Achilles tendonopathies

Common upper extremity conditions treated with Functional Dry Needling® include:

  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow)
  • Medial Epicondylitis (golfers elbow)
  • Impingement syndromes

Do I have to take both the Level 1 and Level 2 Dry Needling courses?

KinetaCore and the state of Colorado have the same expectation for participants to complete the Functional Dry Needling course of study once you have begun.  Once you have successfully completed Level 1, you may practice dry needling as a student within a course of study.  It is important that you are able to develop an ease and skill with the technique so that you can progress to learn the muscles taught in Level 2 which are in more advanced areas of anatomy. Therefore, once you have taken and passed Level 1, it is a requirement that practitioners compile a log of 200 treatment sessions prior to taking Level 2. The state of Colorado requires enrollment in Level 2 within 4 years of taking Level 1.

Some states require additional hours of training before practicing the technique. KinetaCore’s new Functional Therapeutics course will benefit practitioners in these states, as it can immediately follow the Level 1 course and offer them additional training in the muscle areas of Level 1, while going more in-depth in patient assessment and treatment, utilizing dry needling and case study to assess patients more fully.

Functional Therapeutics offers an additional 27 continuing education units in the state of Colorado.

What else do I get for my enrollment fee?

All course participants are provided with necessary pre-course study guides and reading material to prepare them for the rigorous educational experience they will find on the course. Each participant will receive an extensive full-color illustrated course manual describing and depicting the theory and course material covered during the 3 day workshops. All supplies needed for the course will be provided: Myotech brand needles by iDryNeedle.com and Red Coral needles, alcohol pumps, stim units, sharps containers, etc.  At our Colorado courses, participants are able to purchase additional supplies to begin practicing the dry needling technique.

We at KinetaCore take pride in offering the best course content material as well as a most efficient and comfortable course atmosphere. We order a variety of cuisine for in-house participant lunch each day of the course.  We also provide bottled water and healthy snacks to maintain stamina during a full weekend of dry needling treatments.

Will I be “certified” in Functional Dry Needling® (aka Trigger Point Dry Needling) once I complete the course?

You will receive a certificate of completion for each level once you attend the course and successfully pass the course exams.  This is not an accredited certification through a university, but you are certified through KinetaCore® upon passing the exam and completing the course. The certificate will list your name, location and dates of the course, and the amount of contact hours (27 for each FDN/TDN course, 54 for both Level 1 and Level 2).  The course does qualify for CEUs for certain states for which KinetaCore® has applied; for other states you will need to apply individually.  See the scope of practice by state for more information.

Will I be qualified to use Dry Needling with competence after this course?

The Level 1 Functional Dry Needling® course is designed to prepare the trainee to practice dry needling immediately upon returning to the clinic Monday morning.  Theoretical and practical testing will be administered during the Sunday session and participants will be expected to display an appropriate level of competency prior to receiving their course certificate.

How many courses has KinetaCore taught? How many providers are there?

As of June 2013, KinetaCore® has instructed over 150 Introductory Level 1 Courses, Level 2 Advanced Courses and Functional Therapeutics Courses.  Since 2008, we have trained over 2,500 providers across the United States and Canada.

How can I order supplies and what is the average expense to perform dry needling, or Trigger Point Dry Needling?

With your registration fee you will be provided with all of the supplies needed for the dry needling course participation.

Depending on the brand, we highly recommend using Seirin brand filament needles, which typically cost between $10 and $20 per box of 100 needles.  Each dry needling treatment session will vary in how many needles participants will use, but on average you will probably use 10-20 needles per each patient session.  This will be discussed in detail during the course, but the sizes of needles typically used are as follows:

.30 x 30mm

.30 x 40mm

.30 x 50mm

.30 x 60mm

.50 x 100mm

You will also need medical examination gloves (nitrile recommended), sharps containers — approximately $7 each, alcohol pump (with alcohol & cotton balls) — $15. (You can also use alcohol swabs if preferred), and we highly recommend a stim unit, which costs $150.

You may order your supplies through various suppliers, we will provide complete information on this during the course.

I am FDN Level 1 and 2 certified. I practice in one state and am moving to another state soon. Will my physical therapy license cover my performing Dry Needling on patients in both states?

HPSO (Healthcare Providers Service Organization —www.hpso.com)  is willing to cover the technique under their basic liability insurance policies as long as it is within your scope of practice for the state in which you are practicing.