Misconception in Pain Management

There exist among a significant portion of the medical community views that infants and young children do not experience pain in the same way or to the same degree as adults. (Kline, Turnbull, Labruna, Haufler, DeVivio, & Ciminera, 2010).This view dates back many years (Howard, 2003) and is based on a number of misconceptions including a belief that the nervous systems of children are different and they do   not experience pain to the same degree as an adult,   (Mahay, 2009; “Control of Pain in Children (Paediatric Pain Management),” 2006)   and that even if pain is experienced it will be transient and the patient will not remember it (Shepard, 2008; McClain, & Kain, 2005). This is contradicted by recent studies that have identified that neonates may have a greater sensitivity to pain than adults and experience numerous ongoing problems and trauma from pain that is not adequately controlled.  
Other issues and outdated opinions also impact on the provision of appropriate pain management, with some options for pain relief such as the use of narcotics being considered to be inappropriate for children, based on discredited beliefs that children are more prone to addiction or respiratory depression (Walco, Burns, & Cassidy, 2003; Mahay, 2009) and views that pain will prevent a patient worsening an injury, or that pain relief will make diagnosis more difficult.
Frequently the provision of pain relief is dismissed as taking to much time, or is simply not considered because staff views the procedure as routine, and routinely fail to provide pain relief.
The situation is exacerbated by the inability of infants and young children to advocate on their own behalf, or even to indicate the presence or level of pain they are experiencing (Mahay; “Control of Pain in Children (Paediatric Pain Management),” 2006; Howard, 2003).

Recent studies have indicated that pain experienced by infants and young children has an effect on the development of the nervous system and the immune...