Spine Tattoos: Four Things You Should Know And Ideas To Inspire You

Flower Spine Tattoo @pissaro_tattoo

A beautifully done spine tattoo can cause awe in even the staunchest anti-tattoo person out there. There is just something about the flow and simplicity of a well-done spine tattoo that catches the eye and makes you consider getting inked. 

Spine tattoos are designs that run down a person’s back – this can vary from ink running from the neck to sacrum, or can only cover a portion of the spine. They are not the same as back tattoos, as spine tattoos only occupy the length of the backbone. This positioning is tricky, as the bones here are rather pronounced in many people, so pain is a factor to consider. 

1. The Pain Factor

The backbone of the body that quite literally keeps humans together is covered with only a thin layer of skin, so getting a spine tattoo can prove to be rather painful (this, of course, depends greatly on your pain tolerance). There is very little muscle or fat in this area of the body to absorb the shock of a needle repeatedly entering and exiting your skin.

Tree Spine Tattoo @ilwolhongdam

Not only that, but the spine is an extremely sensitive area – it’s like a highway of nerves and information centers. In fact, when getting a tattoo on your spine, you may just feel sensations in other parts of your body.

Tattooer, Seven McDougall, told Inside Out,

“Tattoos that span over the spine may send strange sensations or buzzes down your arms or throughout your body.”

Leaves Spine Tattoo @pissaro_tattoo

Also, the amount of pain you experience can depend on the size of your tattoo. If you’re getting a design that goes all the way down your back, you may want to split your appointment into different sessions. Chat to your tattoo artist to find out what they recommend. 

2. It Can Be A Bumpy Road

Due to the fact that there is little fat and muscles on your spine for a tattoo artist to work on, the ink will go directly into the thin layer of skin covering the bones – this is not a smooth canvas.

So, not only is a spine tattoo challenging on the part of the tattooee because of the pain, it can also be a challenge for the tattooer. 

Flower Back Tattoo @yaninaviland

As such, make sure you do your homework and find an artist who has experience with spine tattoos. Tattoos are never a decision to rush or take lightly, so check out portfolios to make sure you like the styles of the artists you’re considering.

3. Future Back Tattoos

As with most tattoos, you should consider the design and the placing of your ink long and hard before you go under the tattoo gun to make sure it’s the right choice for you. 

If you are a tattoo enthusiast, and your spine tattoo will certainly not be your last foray into a tattoo studio, then you should take a little bit of extra time to think on this design.

Single Flower Spine Tattoo @yelizozcan_tattooer

One of the most eye-catching things about a spine tattoo is its subtlety and that it only runs down the length of the back. 

Getting another design on the back of your shoulder could impact the look of your spine tattoo.

The Style Up recommends a simple way to avoid this conundrum,

“If you think you might want something more on your back, go for a spine tattoo design that can be expanded if needed, either to cover your whole back or a vertical half. Alternatively, think about getting a tattoo that covers half of your spine – top or bottom – leaving the other half of your back blank, ready for a separate but complementary design.”

For more on important things to consider before getting a tattoo, click here.

4. It Can Be Challenging To Cover Up

Mistakes happen – including with ink. No matter how much you love your choice of tattoo now, there is always the risk that some years down the line, your tattoo becomes irrelevant or you simply don’t like it anymore. 

If this time does roll around, one option is to get the offending tattoo covered up with another design. This can be tricky with spine tattoos. 

Minimalist Spine Tattoo @jakeabstraction

When covering up an existing tattoo, you would usually have to pick a cover up design that’s bigger. Depending on the size of the original tattoo, this could end up being a very lengthy process on a sensitive part of your body and result in something a lot bigger than you initially wanted for your spine.

For more about removing and covering up tattoos, click here.

Abstract Spine Tattoo Axel Ejsmont Tattoo

With all the challenges spoken about, once you see a few beautiful spine tattoo designs, it’s difficult to turn away and choose another spot. 

Ideal Designs For Spine Tattoos

When it comes to choosing a design for a spine tattoo, focusing on length is important. Things depicting growth or phases (if you’re going the graphic route) can work very well in this area. 

Phases Of The Moon And Planets

The phases of the moon – from waxing to waning – is an amazing choice for a spine tattoo, as the design goes down the back perfectly.

Planets Spine Tattoo @1unicorntattoo

If you’re looking for something inspired by the heavens, another celestial choice would be the solar system. This design also runs down the length of the back well, plus, if you’re looking for a colorful tattoo, this design could work perfectly.

Related Post: Nature Tattoos: Trees, Waves, Mountains, Crescent Moon and Sun


Another colorful tattoo design that works well on the spine is flowers. Flowers growing up the length of a spine is an eye-catching way to pay tribute to nature. You don’t have to go the color route – black and white flower tattoos are also striking.

Flower Spine Tattoo @chenjie.newtattoo

Related Post: A Short Introduction to Floral Tattoos


Perhaps you have a favorite sentence in a beloved book, or a certain quote holds a lot of meaning to you. Flowing script down the length of a spine is a minimalist tattoo design option that commands attention.

Quote Spine Tattoo Inkme.Tattoo

Related Post: Ink that Speaks Volumes: Word Tattoos


Not all spine tattoos have to expand down the whole length of your spine – there are many options that can be inked in the middle of the back or between the shoulders.

The mandala is a popular tattoo choice, for its striking beauty and symbolism of the universe.

“Mandalas have many uses apart from meditation as the designs are meant to remove irritating thoughts and allow the creative mind to run free as well as relaxation”

Mandala Temporary Tattoo My Bodi Art

While the spine is a challenging choice for tattoo placement, there is no denying that the end result could definitely be well worth the challenge.

Related Post: The Meaning and Symbolism of Mandala Tattoos

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