Although any design can be placed on the lower back, there are some designs that are specifically created for the lower back. Some of the most popular designs incorporate flowing lines that follow the curves of the back. Common designs include flowers, tribal designs, dragons, angels, suns and hearts.
As popular as lower back tattoos are, it's disappointing to note that tattoos on the lower back have become a subject of controversy and speculation.
Lower back tattoos became popular in part because they are a powerful symbol of female sexuality. There was just something about the placement that was very intriguing both to the women who were getting them, and the men who admired them. The designs that were used swept over the curves of a woman's back, creating a surprisingly sensual appeal on an area of the body that was previously considered unimportant.
Unfortunately, there was a period of time when this new symbol of female empowerment created a huge backlash for the women who had them. Instead of merely being admired for the strength they were intended to convey, they were rumored to be a symbol of loose morals and sexual impropriety. Lower back tattoos began to be called "tramp stamps." Because of this malicious label, women who wore them suddenly found their reputations being called into question merely because of where they chose to have their body art. This was especially difficult to understand, because women who had tattoos on other areas of their body didn't experience the same type of vicious accusations.
Like female-created symbols of power throughout history, women have been able to take back lower back tattoos as symbols of strength and femininity. This was due in large part to tattoos becoming acceptable in mainstream society. Tattoos no longer need to be hidden from view except in the most corporate and conservative of environments.
Lower back tattoos are also a topic of medical controversy. There is a concern among some physicians that the ink in lower back tattoos can cause problems during epidural anesthesia, which is a common procedure to help women with pain control while giving birth.
A search of several well-known medical websites reveals that this is generally an urban legend. It should be noted that there is a theoretical possibility that if the epidural needle passes through tattoo ink that there could be some neurological complications; however, there are no reported cases of this happening. Anesthesiologists can easily avoid this theoretical possibility simply by inserting the epidural needle through an area of skin that doesn't contain tattoo ink, or making a small incision in the skin before introducing the needle.
Lower back tattoos are certainly a surprising source of controversy, from medical studies to social backlash. Regardless of that, the lower back is, and will continue to be a powerful and sensual location for body art.