Musings and Snoozes

Inky love and pain relief

on January 15, 2016


I am one of those strange people who quite enjoys the pain of tattoos. Admittedly today’s little session to add extra swirls to my shoulder was so quick it was almost over in a blink of an eye, but it’s still a ritual (for want of a better word) that I enjoy.

Having done a bit of research on the links between chronic pain (lupus, fibromyalgia, MS etc) and the tattoo process, I have at least learnt that I am very much not alone in how I feel. The two types of pain are extremely different, and one can relieve, albeit temporarily, the other.

I remember when I went and got my wrist tattoo a few years ago – it was my first tattoo since being diagnosed and I was absolutely terrified that I wouldn’t be able to cope, or that the trauma on my body (and I use the term trauma medically here) would be too much and I’d go into a flare up. But quite the opposite. The pain itself at the time was so sharp and so different to my usual aches and pains that it almost felt pleasant. Couple that with the sheer amount of adrenaline and endorphins that run through your body, and I remember for the first time feeling oddly pain free. The healing process was remarkably smooth and I spent weeks waiting for the horrible come down and the dreaded flare up to come. But it didn’t.

When I got my shoulders and side done, it was much the same. More pain (I freely admit to not particularly enjoying the pain down my side and under my boob *shudder*), but the relaxation I generally feel in the chair and consequently my headspace, is pretty pleasant. I had more healing issues with these ones (you don’t realise quite how much you move your shoulders around until someone’s jabbed needles and ink in them for 2 hours), but again, the dreaded flare up and side effects never appeared.

And so to today. I’m currently under a slight ban from two things – one is going into New Look, and two is spending all my non existent money on tattoos. The former is hard enough, the latter is torture. And so I like to think that for the first time in my life, I’ve sort of compromised. My shoulder and wrist tattoos will join up one day, creating winding vines and flowers all around my arm, but in the meantime I’m just adding little bits here and there. For months now the very top part of my tattoo has been frustrating me as it doesn’t come quite as far over my shoulder as I’d have liked, and so in half an hour and for a very reasonably small amount of money, the lovely Emzie has added just enough new ink to my body to keep me going for another few months.

So here I am, a bit sleepy after the adrenaline comedown, but relatively pain free and thoroughly pleased with my newly acquired swirly shizz. Pain might not be for everybody, but for someone who spends 95% of her life in pain, trust me when I tell you that this strange little inky phenomenon is one of the best remedies I currently have 🙂


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