The test can be applied in any case of spontaneous pain provided the patient has a full perception of it and is able to measure its variations over time.
The best results of NCT are in acute pain due to trauma (for example bruising, sprains, fractures, etc., visceral disorders or postoperative pain). After the needle has been applied for 5-10 seconds one must wait for the effect, which usually manifests in the following minute. If the reduction of pain is rated by the patient to be at least 25-30%, one can wait for a further 2-3 minutes to verify if the effect is going to pass rapidly or remain stable in time. There is of course great anticipation on the part of the patient and this initial variation of pain can be considered a placebo effect. Other neighboring points can therefore be tested, with the aim of obtaining an analgesic effect beyond the threshold of the placebo effect (commonly rated as being about 35-40% of the total). For example, the lady in Figure 8.1 suffered with acute pain of her sixth upper right tooth which was rated about 7 on a verbal numeric scale (VNS). She had undergone devitalization of the tooth the day before and at the time of auricular diagnosis had not taken any painkillers. Two different points were located with PPT on the central area of the lobe, which does not correspond either to the French or to the Chinese representation of the jaw (LO3 He) (see the representation of the teeth described in Ch. 5). The points were very close to each other, the distance between them no greater than 1 mm (Fig. 8.1). They were consecutively tested; the pain was rated as 5 in severity 1 minute after needle contact of the lower point, but 3 minutes later had again reached 6-7; however, NCT on the upper point lowered the pain steadily to 3 and this level remained stable for
the next 5 minutes. A temporary sterile disposable steel implant was placed in this point and the patient had no relapse of pain.
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