Home Tattoo Neck Tattoo Pain Level: 5 Major Facts & Affected Areas

Neck Tattoo Pain Level: 5 Major Facts & Affected Areas

Neck Tattoo Pain Level: 5 Major Facts & Affected Areas
Our recommended Product - Dr. Numb® 5% Lidocaine Cream - 30g

A tattoo on the neck can cause muscle tension and lead to neck pain during the process. The tattoo artist's posture can also cause stress and strain on the neck muscles, causing discomfort.

According to The Trend Spotter, neck tattoo pain rates 9 out of 10. Saved Tattoo rates neck tattoo pain 7 out of 10 for men, while for women, it's 6 out of 10.

Dr. Numb® numbing cream can provide temporary relief from neck pain, making the tattooing process more comfortable.

With proper preparation and aftercare, you can reduce the pain and enjoy your new body art. This comprehensive guide will cover the factors that influence neck tattoo pain, the most painful tattoo spots, and tips for minimizing major neck pain during the tattoo process.

Neck Tattoo Pain Level: Factors to Consider

Numb the Neck Pain: Dr. Numb® Delivers
Get comfortable for your neck tattoo with Dr. Numb® numbing cream.

While some individuals have a high pain threshold and can handle it quickly, others may find it unbearable. Several factors can affect neck tattoo pain. We will explore these factors in more detail to help you understand what to expect during your neck tattoo experience.

Tattoo Size and Design

The size and design of your neck tattoo will significantly impact the level of pain you experience. Larger tattoos typically require more time and effort to complete, which can increase your pain.

Tattoos with intricate designs with lots of details or shading can be more painful. For example, a simple star outline on your neck will be less painful than a detailed portrait of your favorite actor.

The Location of The Tattoo on The Neck

The location of your neck tattoo can also impact the pain level you experience. The neck is one of the body's most sensitive areas, and tattoos in specific locations can be more painful than others.

Specifically, tattoos on the front neck, near the Adam's apple, can be particularly painful. On the other hand, tattoos on the sides or back of the neck may be less painful.

Neck Tattoos? Go Numb!
Make your next tattoo a breeze with Dr. Numb® pain relief cream.

Tattooee's Gender and Age

Gender and age can also influence the level of pain experienced during a neck tattoo. Women tend to have a lower pain threshold than men, meaning they may experience more pain.

Our skin becomes thinner and less elastic as we age, making tattoos more painful. Younger individuals may have a higher pain threshold due to their skin being more elastic” with “more flexible.

Expertise in Tattoo Artists

Your tattoo artist's skill and experience can also impact your pain level. A skilled artist can work quickly and efficiently, minimizing the time you spend in pain.

Experienced artists will know how to best position clients to make sure their necks aren't strained and can be more comfortable during the process.

Tattoo Tolerance

The pain tolerance of the individual getting the tattoo is the most significant factor that can impact the level of pain experienced. Some people are simply better at handling pain than others. If you have low pain tolerance, consider getting a small tattoo or taking pain medication before and during tattooing.

Neck Tattoo Pain and Suffering on Different Areas

5 Facts & Affected Areas of Neck Tattoo Pain

The neck is a sensitive spot with many nerves and blood vessels that can be incredibly painful when pierced with a needle. In this blog post, we'll dive into the different areas of neck tattoo pain, the levels of pain, and what you can do to minimize it.

Sides of The Neck (Medium to High)

The sides of the neck are a popular spot for tattoos, but it's one of the most painful areas to get inked. The reason is that the skin is thin and close to the jugular vein and carotid artery.

When tattooed, the needle causes a tingling sensation that can often turn into sharp pain. The level of pain can be described as follows:

  • Intense discomfort that feels like a razor is scraping the skin.
  • A burning sensation that radiates down to the shoulders and upper back.
  • A swollen and tender sensation that lingers even after the tattoo session has ended.

Front of The Neck (High)

The front of the neck, also known as the throat area, is where the Adam's apple and vocal cords are located. This area can be one of the most challenging regarding tattoo pain. Describe the level of pain as follows:

  • A sharp and stinging sensation that's comparable to a bee sting.
  • A feeling of being choked can cause you to panic.
  • Soreness lasts for a few days, making it a challenge to speak, swallow, or breathe.

Back of The Neck (Low to Medium)

The back of the neck, or nape, is another popular tattoo area. It's also one of the most sensitive areas, thanks to the cervical vertebrae. Pain levels can be described as follows:

  • A deep and achy sensation that feels like a dull pain.
  • A throbbing pain that may last for hours after the tattoo session.
  • Numbness and tingling sensation that can last for a few days.

Most Painful Male Tattoo Chart

It’s likely most painful to get a tattoo on a part of your body with many nerve endings, close to bones without much fat, or where your skin is very thin. Pain in these areas may be high to severe.

  • Ankles and shins: Ankle and shin tattoos are quite painful as the bones are close to the skin. The pain level is similar to getting a tattoo on your rib cage.
  • Groin: The groin area is rich in nerve endings that may get irritated by tattoo needles, causing significant to severe pain.
  • Rib Cage: The rib cage is a common spot for tattoos, known for its high pain level due to thin skin and minimal fat compared to other areas. Each breath causes movement in your rib cage and the skin above, heightening the sensation when getting a tattoo in this area.
  • Elbows or kneecaps: The elbows and kneecaps are regions where your bones are close to the surface of your skin. When tattooing over these bony areas, the vibrations can result in significant to intense pain.
  • Behind the knees: This is another body part where you may experience severe pain when tattooing. The area behind your knees has loose, stretchy skin with many nerve endings, which makes it very sensitive to tattoo needles.
  • Hips: Getting hip tattoos can be painful as the hip bones are close to the skin's surface. This is more pronounced in individuals with lower body fat and a thinner build.
  • Neck and spine: Neck and spine tattoos are among the most painful because they are very sensitive areas.
  • Armpit: The armpit is one of the most painful spots for a tattoo, if not the most. The pain is intense, leading most tattoo artists to discourage armpit tattoos.
  • Lips: The skin around your lips is loose, with many nerve endings. Getting a lips tattoo can be quite painful, leading to bleeding, swelling, and bruising.
  • Inner bicep: The muscle in your inner bicep can lessen tattoo pain, but the soft, loose skin in this area makes it quite painful. Tattooing the inner bicep is high on the pain scale, yet it's not typically excruciating.

The Least Painful Best Place For A Tattoo On A Woman

tattoo for ladies neck

Tattooing is less painful in areas with more fat, tight skin, few nerve endings, and distance from bones. Pain levels in these spots are typically low to moderate.

Here are a few of the least painful spots:

  • Upper and lower back: Tattoos on the upper or lower back typically cause moderate pain due to the thick skin and fewer nerve endings. The farther from the spine and hip bones, the less pain you'll experience.
  • Upper outer thigh: This body part, well-padded with fat and few nerve endings, makes it one of the least painful spots for a tattoo on the upper outer thigh. Pain levels are typically low to low-moderate for most individuals.
  • Outer shoulders: Shoulder skin is thick with few nerves, so getting a tattoo there is typically less painful, ranging from low to moderate.
  • Forearm: The forearms boast ample muscle and thick skin with fewer nerve endings. Tattoos on this area typically result in mild to moderate discomfort.
  • Calves: Calf tattoos are usually not too painful because of the amount of fat and muscle in the area and fewer nerve endings. Expect low to low-moderate pain levels.
  • Outer bicep: Outer biceps are less sensitive and ideal for low-pain tattoos. Outer bicep tattoos typically cause mild discomfort.

Neck Tattoo Pain Level: What to Expect

tattoo pain diagram

Regarding neck tattoos, the pain factor is a topic of great interest. Whether you’re considering a delicate design on the nape of your neck or a bolder statement closer to your collarbone, understanding the potential discomfort is essential. Let’s break it down:

Neck Tattoo Pain Scale (1-10)

  • Rating: Neck tattoos typically range from 7 to 9 on the pain scale.
  • Description: Neck tattoos ‌fall in the moderate-to-high pain range. The exact level varies from person to person, but here’s a rough estimate:
  • 1-3: Initial discomfort, similar to a mild sunburn.
  • 4-6: Increasing intensity, like a persistent pinch or scratch.
  • 7-10: Significant pain, especially near the spine or throat.

Location Matters

The pain sensation during a tattoo varies based on the body area receiving the ink. Factors such as proximity to bones, nerve endings, and skin sensitivity affect the intensity of the sensation.

Lower Neck (Collarbone Area):

  • Pain Level: Bottom neck tattoos usually fall 6 to 8 on the pain scale.
  • Description: Tattoos on the lower neck, close to the collarbone, can be painful. The skin here is thin, and the proximity to bones amplifies the sensation. Expect discomfort, especially during shading and intricate details.

Nape of the Neck:

  • Pain Level: Nape tattoos ‌range from 4 to 6 on the pain scale.
  • Description: The nape area (the back of your neck) is less sensitive than the front. While it’s still a sensitive spot, the pain is manageable. Opt for simpler designs if you’re concerned about discomfort.

Side Rib Tattoo Pain:

  • Rating: ‌rib tattoos score 8-10 on the pain scale.
  • Description: Rib tattoos are notorious for their pain level. If you compare neck tattoos to rib tattoos, the ribs win in the discomfort department. The ribcage has thin skin and is close to the bones, making it a challenging canvas.

Hurting Level Of Rib Tattoos

  • Rib tattoos hurt a lot. Rib tattoos can feel like a combination of burning and scratching. Deep breaths and mental preparation are essential.

Factors Influencing Pain for Females

  • Skin Thickness and Sensitivity: Women ‌have thinner skin than men, making certain areas more sensitive and prone to higher pain levels.
  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations during menstrual cycles can influence pain perception. It's often advisable to avoid scheduling a tattoo session during menstruation to minimize discomfort.
  • Pain Tolerance: Individual pain tolerance varies greatly, but some studies suggest that women may have higher pain tolerance due to biological and psychological factors.

Neck Tattoo Pain Level: Tips to Reduce The Pain

Tips for Reducing Neck Tattoo Pain

With the proper preparation and mindset, it is possible to minimize the pain and discomfort of this type of tattoo. We will share expert tips and advice on reducing neck tattoo pain, allowing you to feel more comfortable and confident while tattooing your neck.

Choose The Right Artist

One of the most critical factors affecting your experience getting a neck tattoo is the artist you choose to work with. Make sure that you choose an experienced and skilled tattoo artist who specializes in neck tattoos and has a reputation for being gentle and patient with their clients.

You can also read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or online forums to ensure your artist has a good track record of producing high-quality, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing tattoos.

Prepare Your Skin

The skin on your neck is thinner and more sensitive than other areas, so preparing your skin for tattooing is essential. This includes hydrating your skin by drinking plenty of water, using moisturizer on your neck in the days leading up to your appointment, and avoiding exposure to the sun and other environmental factors that can damage or irritate your skin.

Practice Deep Breathing and Mindfulness

You may experience increased pain and discomfort during tattooing due to a stress response in your body. To reduce this response, practicing deep breathing and mindfulness techniques is essential to help calm your nerves and relax your muscles. This can include deep breathing exercises, meditation, or even listening to calming music or white noise to distract yourself from the pain.

Use Topical Anesthetics

If you are particularly anxious about the pain of getting a neck tattoo, there are topical anesthetics that you can use to numb the area and reduce pain and discomfort. These anesthetics are available over-the-counter or by prescription from your doctor and can be applied to the skin before the tattooing process to help reduce pain and discomfort.

Tame Neck Tattoo Pain.
Experience a smoother tattoo experience with Dr. Numb® numbing cream.

Take Breaks If Needed

If you find the pain and discomfort of getting a neck tattoo too much to bear, it is important to communicate with your tattoo artist and take breaks as needed. This can include taking short breaks to stretch, drink water, or eat a snack, or even breaking up the tattooing process into multiple sessions to give your body time to recover in between.

Choose The Right Location

Selecting the right spot on your neck can minimize discomfort when getting a tattoo. You should avoid areas with thin skin, such as around Adam's apple or near the spine. Make your experience more enjoyable by choosing locations with more flesh. It is crucial to consider the tattoo placement carefully to reduce pain.

Get Enough Sleep

You should get enough sleep before your tattoo appointment. The benefits of a good night's sleep are numerous. Your tattoo experience will be less painful as a result of a reduced level of stress. An adequate amount of sleep is essential for a smooth tattoo session. Remember to get a good night's sleep before getting a tattoo!

Use Numbing Cream or Sprays

Numbing creams or sprays are available to reduce pain before getting a tattoo. These creams typically contain lidocaine, which can help numb the skin and reduce pain. It is important to note that the cream should be applied at least an hour before the tattoo session to get the full effect.

Take Painkillers Before Tattooing Session

Taking over-the-counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen before the tattoo session can also help to reduce pain. Discussing this with the tattoo artist beforehand is essential to ensure there will be no adverse reactions to other medications or the tattooing process.

Choose The Right Time of The Month

The skin's sensitivity varies from person to person and can change due to hormonal fluctuations. Choosing the right time of day to get a neck tattoo can help minimize pain. Women are more likely to experience pain during the menstrual cycle, so avoiding booking your tattoo appointment is best.

The Reasons People Get Neck Tattoos Despite the Pain

Despite the pain, people get neck tattoos

Despite the high level of pain that a neck tattoo can cause, some people still choose to get one for various reasons. Here are some common reasons why someone may decide to get a neck tattoo:

  • Making a Bold Statement: Neck tattoos are a striking way to showcase your style and attitude. They can convey an emotion or message or simply be a form of self-expression.
  • Career Choices: For those working in creative fields such as music, art, or fashion, a neck tattoo is a way to stand out and showcase their creativity.it's important to note that certain professions may not accept visible tattoos, especially in more conservative industries.
  • Personal Significance: A neck tattoo can also be a way to commemorate a significant event or person in one's life, serving as a permanent reminder of a meaningful moment.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Getting a Neck Tattoo

Getting a neck tattoo is a personal choice only after carefully considering the advantages and disadvantages. Here are some advantages and disadvantages:


  • Display of Boldness: As mentioned, a neck tattoo displays boldness that can set the wearer apart from others.
  • Versatility: A neck tattoo can be incorporated into a larger design or standalone piece. Depending on the occasion, it can also be easily covered or shown off.
  • Unique Location: A neck tattoo allows for more unusual and intricate designs than some other body parts.
No Pain, All Neck Art: Dr. Numb®
Maximize comfort for your next tattoo with Dr. Numb® numbing cream.


  • Pain: Neck tattoos can be incredibly painful due to the area's numerous nerve endings. The pain can also be more intense due to the thin and sensitive skin on the neck.
  • Infection & Scarring: As with any tattoo, infection or scarring can be heightened in the neck due to its proximity to the throat and spine.
  • Professional Limitations: Some professions do not accept visible tattoos, which could limit career choices in the future.


Getting a neck tattoo can be a painful experience, but it's not necessarily unbearable. Researching and preparing yourself for the process is essential to caring for your body, choosing the right artist, and using relaxation techniques or numbing creams.

The pain may be worth it if you value body art and want to express yourself through a neck tattoo. Or you're more cautious and will opt for a less painful spot to get inked. Either way, it's always important to prioritize your health and comfort during the tattoo process.

Our recommended Product - Dr. Numb® 5% Lidocaine Cream - 30g
Matt Callard
I am a passionate traveler, as if traveling were my full-time job. I like to change my surroundings and environment, like changing desktop wallpaper. Nature increases the concentration in my writing, which helps brainstorming flow in my blood. I have a cat named Kitana. She is the most desperate about traveling, more than any other cat. How do I know? If I miss any tour in any week, she literally destroys my clothing with her wolverine nails.

I and my cat also participate in extreme activities like surfing, biking, hill tracking, paragliding, boating, etc. She was always there in my accidents, injuries, and stitches. She always sits on my lap when it hurts me most. The funniest part is that she has experienced all my tattoos. She sleeps on my blanket when I go through any painful experience.

My hobbies and lifestyle added many pain and injuries to my life. That is why I have a lot of experience in dealing with different levels of pain and burn. It influenced me to become a pain expert and share primary suggestions to handle any unwanted situations that hurt.


  • How Much Does a Neck Tattoo Cost?

    The cost of a neck tattoo can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as the size, complexity, and style of the tattoo, the location, and the experience of the tattoo artist. A small neck to medium-sized neck tattoo can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 or more, while a larger, more intricate design can cost several thousand dollars.

  • Do Throat Tattoos Hurt?

    Getting a throat tattoo can cause significant pain because of the area's sensitive skin and delicate tissues. It is essential to be aware of the potential discomfort before getting a tattoo in this location. The throat tattoo pain scale is usually between 7 to 10.

  • How Does Neck Tattoo Healing And Aftercare Work?

    Clean your neck tattoo 2-3 times daily for 4-5 days. Wash it every 6-8 hours to maintain cleanliness and aid in skin healing. Though tedious, it's crucial to keep the skin clean and apply ointment or lotion for protection.

  • How Does a Neck Tattoo Feel?

    A back-of-the-neck tattoo is usually painful because of the thin skin that covers our spine and cranial nerves. You can get inked on the lowest part of your neck near your shoulders, where there's a little more fat and muscle with slightly thicker skin. But, no pain, no gain, baby.

  • How Painful Is Tattoo Removal?

    Tattoo removal pain can vary based on factors like tattoo size, color, location, and individual pain tolerance. The process is often described as feeling like a rubber band snapping against the skin or tiny hot pinpricks. Immediate effects may include sunburned sensation, redness, swelling, or blisters post-treatment.

Back to blog
More Content