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TATTOOS and paralysis

WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Moderator Posts: 384 Moderator
100 Awesomes 100 Likes 100 Comments First Anniversary
Hello ALL!

My husband recently got his first tattoo POST spinal cord injury. He's a C4 Quadriplegic with limited feeling on his body, a ton of spasms (if not controlled) and sporadic areas where he feels more than other areas. He was nervous about how his body would handle a tattoo the first time, and it turned out fine in the end!

He had his tattoo on the inside of his forearm. His whole hand and wrist have some sensation in it, but the middle of his forearm has none. When he was getting it done he said on the areas that were paralyzed it felt super strange, and he almost preferred the feeling of the tattoo in the areas he COULD feel, contrary to what he thought. He thought that the paralyzed areas would be easier for pain since he couldn't feel, but he said it felt super weird. 

We got a lot of messages from other women who's partners are interested in getting tattooed post SCI but are nervous about it. We had a lot of questions about tattooing below the level of injury and AD occurring.

We are interested to hear YOUR thoughts about tattoos after SCI. Have you had many done after SCI? Do you want some tattoos done? Would love to hear your experiences good and bad.

Your WAGS of SCI
(Elena and Brooke)


  • LilPixieJLilPixieJ Member Posts: 1
    First Comment Photogenic
    Hi there!  I know it’s totally different because I am a paraplegic.  However, I do experience AD pretty severely, so I understand how bad it can be.  I have about 14 tattoos and most of them I had pre-injury.  I recently started working on a sleeve, and during the time that I’m getting tattooed I really pay attention to how it feels and my body’s reaction to it.   I really wonder what it would be like to have my leg tattooed.  When I contemplate it, I know for sure I’d kick the tattoo artist.  I also think that it really is not very painful.  It’s more of an irritating mild scratch sensation.  Like a lingering mosquito bite.  On some level, you almost want it to hurt more so you feel tough.  Because it is not very painful, but mostly irritating, I think  it would cause me to have an extreme AD reaction.  Consider what it feels like when your foot falls asleep, when it starts to wake up again the slightest touch feels like what I imagined acid burns feel like.   Consistent irritation is the best way to get AD in my opinion.  Like exposure to cool temperatures for too long, or holding bladder too long.   Anyway, I’m rambling.  It’s probably different for everyone.  I don’t think I’m brave enough to get a tattoo where I have limited sensation.  
  • ZcollieZcollie Moderator Posts: 239 Moderator
    100 Likes 100 Comments 25 Awesomes First Anniversary
    @WAGSofSCI Hey Brooke!

    I got all 9 of my tattoos post injury! I always wanted to get a tattoo and got my first one right after I turned 18. I am a c4 quad too and have really good sensation throughout my body. I am glad that I was able to feel the tattoo's. My body spasmed a lot and my artist had to hold me down when tattooing so my spasms wouldn't mess up the art. I also used cannabis to help relax my body. I personally did not experience any AD which I am grateful for. Here are a few pictures of the tattoo I have. 

    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
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