Level 3 - Dry Needling Spine & Upper Quadrant


Are you getting great dry needling results and aspire to extend your skills to a greater range of clients?


Aware of your technical limitations and professional responsibility to stay within your scope of practice?

This course is designed for those who have attended a Level 1 Introductory Course and a Level 2 - Advanced Spine & Lower Quadrant Course, and are wanting to treat a greater variety of conditions involving the upper quadrant. With up to 80% of presentations having a musculoskeletal involvement; be they Mums & Dads, weekend warriors, committed athletes or vocational injuries, dry needling is a ‘must have’ skill to assist them to recover.

Course Participation Requirements

  • Due to the presumed anatomy knowledge, advanced palpation skills and structure of these courses, our minimal education standard is a degree course or equivalent in an area of the medical sciences (e.g. physiotherapy, osteopathy, myotherapy, chiropractic, medicine, podiatry)
  • You are required to provide current registration with your national professional body (not an industry body)
  • You are required to have public indemnity insurance as per your professional body's minimum standard
  • For these reasons, graduates of human movements, exercise physiology, nursing, remedial & therapeutic massage are ineligible to apply and AAP Education recommends you seek a course focused on simple dry needling techniques 

    how many ribs

After completing this course you will; 

  • Understand why the latest Cochrane reviews emphasise the involvement of dry needling in the treatment of headaches, and how to apply this information
  • Confidently be able to differentiate through palpation, the anterior and posterior cervical tubercles and needle the scalenes
  • Learn techniques to enable the safe needling of muscles that arise from the rib cage
  • Complete your understanding of shoulder girdle muscle pain pattern referrals
  • Integrate cervical trigger points using a facilitated segment paradigm
  • Learn referral patterns, clinical tests, and home programs for over 30 common clinically presenting muscles

This course is not a ‘technique’ course. You will learn and apply your skills of observation, palpation, surface and 3D depth anatomy, clinical reasoning and exercise progression to appropriately manage clients successfully. Doug brings together all these skills as a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist with over 30 years as a practising clinician and researcher.


"I really enjoyed the palpation and body drawing, emphasising anatomy, palpation and tissue depth. Clinical pearls were great. Doug shared his excellent level of knowledge and anatomy as well as clinical reasoning. Great jokes also!!

Bodine Ledden, Myotherapist, Course co-ordinator Australasian College of Massage & Myotherapy

Advanced Dry Needling Course - What to Expect


Additional Bonus – Living Anatomy Wet Lab Workshop

This is truly a unique opportunity to put together surface anatomy with 3D depth anatomy. Bringing together a dry needling clinician and cadavers in the same room provides you with the opportunity like never before to put theory and clinical practice together.

Level 2 & 3 course participants can attend an exclusive 2-hour Anatomy Workshop with Course Director Dr Doug Cary for a 50% reduction to the normal investment.

Full benefits include;

  • Opportunity to examine in detail specimens selected in world-class facilities
  • Opportunity to revise and enhance your visualisation and understanding of applied neuromusculoskeletal and regional anatomy
  • Anatomy of the specimens explained in detail by Dr Doug Cary - Course Director
  • Opportunity to discuss and share your knowledge with colleagues and experienced dry needling practitioners
  • Lab coats and surgical gloves provided, closed shoes required

At the end of the day, we treat human 3D bodies and you can only get so much information from 2D books. One of the most common comments from past participants was "wouldn’t it be great to have wet lab anatomy sessions to coincide with advanced courses in dry needling," and now you have it! This is the first and only program in Australia offering this important course inclusion.

"Within my first 12 months as a new physiotherapy graduate, I completed the Level 1 Introductory, Level 2 Spine and Advanced Lower Quadrant and Level 3 Spine and Advanced Upper Quadrant needling courses with Doug. For me, the most valuable part of each course was the revision of in-depth anatomy. This included detailed body drawings, revising cross sections, and attending a wet lab at UWA. Particularly being a new graduate, it was so beneficial to cement and apply what I had learnt at Uni.

I must admit – like many others, I had always had a fear of needles. However, focusing on the theory behind needling, practising the technique and experiencing the benefits, has made me more comfortable with needles. This has allowed me to confidently recommend needling as an option to people who are scared and/or sceptical. Doug also provided a take-home DVD (now available as online videos) which is useful to refer to.

My advanced spinal needling courses consisted of a small group which was fantastic. It allowed us to assess and practice on different body types under the guidance of Doug; who is so knowledgeable and approachable. Being a small group made him easily accessible within such a relaxed environment. We casually talked over case studies, some of which were relevant to needling and other more complex cases. We bounced around ideas and were guided by Doug as to the current best practice and clinical reasoning.

The Advanced courses were held at the Bendat Community Centre in Osborne Park. The venue was easy to find with multiple FREE parking just outside the front door. How good!

I would highly recommend Doug’s needling courses. Even if you aren’t the biggest fan of needles, do it for the anatomy. It’s easy to forget how complex the body can be. And also... because Doug is ledge - thanks, Doug!"

Britt Pethick - Physiotherapist

Text Recommendations

Click here for our recommendations of books to assist your study.

Continuing Professional Development

AAP Accredited course: 12 hours National Registration CPD requirements.

Rural & Remote Professional Development Support

See Rural Workforce Support Agencies for details in your state or territory.

Other Dry Needling Courses

Level 1 Introductory Dry Needling Course

Level 2 Advanced Spine and Lower Quadrant Course

Level 4 Master Needler Course

Associated course Living Anatomy - Wet Lab Learning

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