Tattoo Pain: Why does it hurt so good?
Your brain is 100% unique to you and only you. The way you feel and perceive pain can be vastly different from one person to the next. When we feel pain during a tattoo, sensory receptors in our skin send a message via nerve fibres to the spinal cord and brain stem and then onto the good old brain where the sensation of pain is registered, the information is processed and the pain is perceived. The response from there is what is unique to us.
So, if it hurts, why do we do what we do? Why are we so willing to put money into countless hours of what could easily be described as torture? A long time ago tattooing was more of a cultural ritual in which the pain was precisely the point! You earned your stripes, patterns, and designs. This holds true in many cultures.
Here in the US the popularity of tattoos has exploded. On average 1 in 5 persons have tattoos. 70% of those have more than one, 20% have more than 5. 32% of people with tattoos claim that it’s an addiction. (historyoftattoos.net)
On the other hand its easy to argue that tattoos are not addictive at all but really just a perception of what truly draws them to tattoos. Many simply enjoy the collection of art accumulating on their body. Much like a collector of art or classic cars, nothing beats the excitement of getting something new.
When we receive a tattoo, yes it hurts but the pleasure and enjoyment we get from having that piece of art on us forever makes the pain worth it. Whatever the reason behind the tattoo: a memorial of a loved one, a design from a favorite artist, something that helps us find our identity, or even something absurd that makes us laugh when we look at it. We go back for more and more because we appreciate the way it makes us feel.