Dry Needling Course level 3 'Headaches and TMD' - organized by Uplands Physio Clinic - see the dates here       

You will receive specific course level info beforehand to review, such as videos (7 hours), articles (2 hours); anatomy and referred pain patterns (1 hour).

Day 1 ‘Headache’: starts at 8.30 a.m. and finishes at 6.00 p.m.

  • Headache overview - International Headache Society 
  • Primary and secondary headaches amenable to physical therapy
  • History of the ‘headache patient’ and red flags
  • Referred pain patterns and potential neck influence
  • Manual diagnostic examination of the ‘headache patient’ 
  • Relevance of interpreting the history and examination findings
  • Headache therapies: pharmacology, physical therapy and dry needling


  • Review and practical dry needling of neck-shoulder muscles
  • Dry needling of the sternocleidomastoid and suboccipital muscles

Day 2 ‘TMD’: starts at 9.00 a.m. and finishes at 6.00 p.m.

  • Definition of temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD)
  • Diagnosis of TMD, axis I and II, and prevalence
  • Sensitisation and biomechanical hypotheses
  • Assessment of the ‘TMD patient’ and red flags
  • Relevance of interpreting the history and examination findings
  • TMD therapies: physical therapy, dry needling and others


  • Practical assessment of the ‘TMD patient’
  • Dry needling of the masseter, temporalis and pterygoid muscles
  • Review of the course; theoretical and practical exam

Program outline:

After registration, a short overview of headaches will be presented, following the guidelines of the International Headache Society. For primary headaches, the scientific literature indicates tension-type headache, and to a lesser extent, migraine may have an underlying neuromusculoskeletal contribution. Secondary headaches with a neuromusculoskeletal etiology and that are therefore potentially amenable to interventions within the physical therapy scope of practice include cervicogenic headache, occipital neuralgia, and headache associated with temporomandibular disorder (TMD). The history, physical and manual diagnostic examination, and therapy options for each of these five headaches will be presented.

One of the main objectives of the examination will be to identify whether the presenting headache complaint can in fact be classified as one of these five headache types. Potentially most relevant to history-taking and the diagnostic process is the identification of red flag indicators. The relevance of interpreting the history and examination findings, with special attention to myofascial factors and red flags, will be pointed out. The afternoon of day 1 will be practical with a dry needling review of the neck muscles, including the sternocleidomastoid and suboccipital muscles. 

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) is a condition that physical therapists are likely to encounter in everyday clinical practice. An evaluation will be presented with a definition and diagnosis of TMD, sensitisation and biomechanical hypotheses. TMD includes a constellation of symptoms, of which pain is the most common. Other symptoms include joint sounds, TMJ catching, limited jaw opening and deviation on opening. A brief screening history regarding pain and activities that make the pain worse can help determine if a patient has a potential TMD problem. A clinical examination that incorporates an assessment of pain and joint sounds is recommended and practiced. The examination also includes palpation of the muscles of mastication and the TMJ, and the combined findings are used to determine the diagnoses. 

A multidisciplinary approach often includes physical therapy and self-management treatment strategies. These are beneficial for most patients, with very few patients requiring non-reversible treatment. These treatment options will be reviewed, with special attention for myofascial and cervical spine therapies. The afternoon of day 2 is filled with practical sessions such as the assessment of TMD, clinical reasoning and several therapies, including dry needling of the masseter, temporalis and pterygoid muscles. The course concludes with a review and a theoretical and practical exam.

After this course the participant will understand and be able to explain*:

  • Main characteristics of migraine, tension type, cervicogenic and TMD headaches. 
  • The history of the ‘headache patient’ and red flags.
  • Headaches associated with myofascial factors, referred pain patterns and potential neck influence.
  • The manual diagnostic examination of the ‘headache patient’.
  • The relevance of interpreting headache history, exam findings, and red flags.
  • Headache therapies: pharmacology, physical therapy and needling.
  • A practical review of dry needling of the neck muscles.
  • Dry needling of the sternocleidomastoid and suboccipital muscles.
  • The definition of TMD, the diagnosis of TMD, and prevalence.
  • The TMD sensitisation and biomechanical hypotheses.
  • Manual diagnostic examination of the ‘TMD patient’.
  • Relevance of interpreting TMD history, examination findings, and red flags.
  • TMD therapies: pharmacology, physical therapy, and needling.
  • Manual diagnostic examination of the ‘TMD patient’.
  • Dry needling of the masseter, temporalis, and pterygoid muscles.

   * Articles will be emailed beforehand.

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