Narrator: This is Science Today. Inadequate treatment of surgical pain is fairly common because hospitals are often wary of overdoing pain medication - especially opiodes. Dr. Daniel Sessler, a professor of anesthesia at the University of California, San Francisco, says this is due to the fear of complications, such as respiratory depression, but there's also a concern about addiction.
Sessler: Addiction is very rarely a problem. Especially with acute pain. It becomes more of an issue with chronic pain, but for acute, surgical pain, there's overwhelming evidence that you can use as much opiode, as much narcotic as necessary, to treat the pain and that people will not become addicted.
Narrator: Sessler discovered sufficient pain control after surgery led to a reduction in the risk of infection. This gives physicians all the more reason to not hold back.
Sessler: People who have pain should be treated and they should be treated even if it's so-called minor pain off in a physician's office or a hospital laboratory. Even that pain deserves to be treated.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.