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I'm seriously considering getting my ribs tattooed, but I have to admit I am more than a little worried about the pain. I have never used anything to help with the pain before, and although I feel somewhat 'ashamed' of even considering it now, I'm afraid using them may be the only way I ever attempt my ribs. Anyway, I was just wondering what some of the options might be, based on others experience with them.

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Most recent session, I took a couple of Nurofen (Ibuprofen) prior to starting (on the advice of the artist, after I really struggled during the previous sitting).

Made it much more bearable. Not necessarily less painful, but my reaction seemed better... suss as that sounds. I know I'm going to continue doing that.

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cosign sleep and eat a pbj like 30 minutes before appt. bring some starbursts or other sugary snack while being tattooed. I recently got ribs/stomach done and while raw it was ok. I did not get good sleep and then traveled 6 hrs for 12:00 appt. I am a believer in sleep and food making all the difference

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painkillers just fuck up your endorphins kicking in and makes it all worse

My experience as well! If your tat-zappin' wizard is kind, he/she might break out the bactine after the black. Totally understand being nervous, feel the same way about the prospect of starting my back. Which is why I may have to invest in some Maxilene cream.

Just start it the excitement will always win out!

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Totally understand being nervous, feel the same way about the prospect of starting my back. Which is why I may have to invest in some Maxilene cream!

I used some Maxilene to help me get through the long sessions on my front. I will probably use it again when I start my backpiece some day if my tattooer is cool with it, but I don't think I'll consider it for any other spots.

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I've never taken any pain killers before getting tattooed, but I agree with everyone in terms of getting a good nights sleep. Started my back after 30 hours of not sleeping and although it wasn't unbearable, it wasn't a fun experience. Plus the pain is what makes it worth having the tattoos. The pain is temporary but the awesome tattoo on your ribs will last forever.

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cosign sleep and eat a pbj like 30 minutes before appt. bring some starbursts or other sugary snack while being tattooed. I recently got ribs/stomach done and while raw it was ok. I did not get good sleep and then traveled 6 hrs for 12:00 appt. I am a believer in sleep and food making all the difference

I just got hella hungry reading this.

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I have used Dr. Numb on my wife a couple of times at tattoo conventions. Usually I try to keep from using it, but I was starting a new tattoo that i estimated to take me around 5 hours, after having already tattooed her for 8 hours the day before. Anyways point being that those types of products help out for a couple of hours if used correctly. But once you start feeling the tattoo again it seems almost worse, but it does help for a little while. It is also expensive.

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I have used some kind of numbing creme before, but when it hits the spots where the creme didn't take it's really, really intense. However, my husband recently brought some home and it's sitting in our medicine cabinet, we're planning on using it to finish my stomach/lower ribs. (I sat extra super crappy when we did the outline.) I think the creme's to make him feel better.

I had my Jondix arm finished yesterday, he worked on it with a few leisurely breaks from 1:00 pm to 6:30 pm. I should've taken ibuprofen before I got there like I usually do, but forgot and didn't take it til we had been going at least an hour. I ate a big salad and some tofu for protein about halfway through which always helps me. And right before the last 45 minutes, right around the point where I want to tell the tattooer that it's done/that I can't sit any longer, I ate some dark chocolate, got me the rest of the way through. I have taken vicadin or something like it in the past, just made me say dumb shit and feel sick later on.

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While I never touched on any crazy areas yet (stomach, armpit, ditch, back of the knees) I still haven't had enough pain that I couldn't take it. Personally I like the endorphin release (maybe that's why tattoos are so damn addictive). I will never use numbing creme or drugs. The thing that bothers me more is the pain from holding an uncomfortable position for 3 hours...

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Painkillers make it worse, but that's no reason not to use drugs.

Here's my recipe:

before the tattoo starts, I pop a muscle relaxer. You're going to be getting your ribs worked on and that's going to hurt. A lot. Evolution isn't a dummy, and we've evolved to protect our vital organs. The ribs protect your lungs. Your lungs are important. Therefor, your body has a nice network of nerve endings all around the area to alert you that you're getting into dangerous territory. Which means that you're going to be hating life.

As such, you'll tense up. Probably a lot. You'll be sore from the tattooing the next day, sure... but you're also going to be sore from tensing yourself up. Because ribs hurt.

That muscle relaxer (metaxalone for the win) will make you tense up less and the next day, you'll feel better for it.

The next step is to take an anti-histamine. Tattooing is basically a large scale scratch test. If you take a nondrowsy anti-histamine, you'll swell less. The artist won't be bogged down with puffy, swollen skin.

The last step for me is a xanax. Because I hate getting tattooed and the xanax just makes me happy.

Caveats:

I'm not prescribing any medicinal treatment since I'm not a doctor. Don't use drugs unless you know their side effects.

Respect: Ask your tattooer if he/she minds you taking pills. Some do. You don't want to be the loopy customer they hate dealing with.

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My personal recipe for making getting tattooed a breeze is:

3 Ibuprofen about an hour before. Doesn't do shit for pain, but does great shit for keeping down the red, puffy swelling during the tattoo.

Drink lots of fluids the day of (water, Gatorade, etc.)

Most important of all...Eat a Snickers candy bar just before getting tattooed. Maybe it's just a mental thing, maybe not. I don't normally eat candy or sweets of any kind, but if I can have that damned Snickers before the tattoo I'll feel much better the whole time.

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I've used the numbing creams and numbing sprays. The cream works well and made it easy to handle getting my chest plate done. The spray was good for the pain but made the area impossible to heal. I've also done percorcets but I don't particularly like the hang-over I get from them. But I'm not sure I will discontinue using them. Really good points made about the pain an the need to manage it. Before a 5 hour appointment I did a meal an hour before and a couple of glucose based drinks. That did work the best. Next one is a back-piece and I'm expecting long sittings So hopefully I'll focus on that I'm getting a really cool tattoo done and power thru....

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I had my ribs done last weekend and yes it fucking hurt. It was a smaller piece (about 2 hours of work) and I made it through without tapping out. You are asking about pain killers to take during the tattoo session, for me the days after were worse than the tattoo itself, for about four days it felt like someone had run over my side with a bus, backed up, ran over my ribs again, and then decided to stick them in a blender. I'm finally getting back to normal, I will put off my other side as long as I can.

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In the video interview of Kore Flatmo, he mentions the use of a numbing agent in the place of regular vaseline. Could have been a lidocaine blend. Worth listening to his thoughts.

I just got my chest done last week. I was in from out of town and keen to get it done in one sitting. I ate a good lunch prior and snacked on a p.b. sandwich during short breaks. Kind of sucked towards the end but got it done in about 4 hours. I agree with the tensing up, breathing worked for the first portion, but I got more tense as we progressed.

I'm not sure what the ribs are like compared to the chest, probably worse?

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I don't take any drugs prior to getting tattooed, hell I don't even take ibuprofen (but maybe I should). Eat a 2 hours before getting tattooed, drink plenty for the few days before getting tattooed, and try to get a decent sleep the night of.

Like its been said some spots just suck no matter what you do, when I had my knee shaded it was easy, a different day I had it colored sucked. Back of the knee seems to be going the same way. But what was worse then getting my knee colored was having my foot go numb and not being able to move it to get some blood flowing to it.

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@dari, Jonidix arm, you say....????

@ShawnPorter, interesting about the xanax, I wonder how that'd go for me. If I have any left after my flight to Mexico I'll try it out next time. Because.. yeah, they make certain things a bit easier. Like being 30,000 ft. in the air..

I have a lot of tension in situations that I can't control; so the xanax just blissfully removes that tension and allows me to have a better time.

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Great responses everyone, thanks. Percocets were the drug I was considering, but I think I'll try Shawns muscle relaxer and anti-histamine idea. I always try and get a good nights sleep, and eat a decent meal a few hours before, but I have never tried taking a sugary snack/drink with me, always just a bottle of water. I wonder if the anti-histamine might help me with the healing as well. I tend to have problems healing my work lately, especially line work.

Now, I just have to work up the courage to do it. I have two appointments scheduled to color the Koi on my arm, but am considering doing the rib piece instead.

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