Small Fiber Neuropathy

Neuropathy that is the damage of nerves.

If your partner has Small Fiber Neuropathy, they may experience pain or other sensations in ways or to degrees that you might not expect. This condition can take an emotional toll on a person over time, so if they have reached out to you and are talking about being tied, be sensitive and make sure they know that you understand and that you will work together to find what will work for them.

Sensations of an SFN flare-up can include burning, freezing, tingling, numbness or loss of sensation, often accompanied by aching or stabbing pains, pins and needles sensation, electric shock, or cramping in the feet and calves.

These sensations can be triggered by particular positions, remaining in particular positions for some length of time, or by textures on the skin.

This article was written in collaboration with one of our members that has SFN.  If you have experience with this condition and have suggestions for improving this post, please drop me a line!

  • Talk with your partner about their normal pain levels. Order them to inform you if they experience anything outside the normal range.
  • Ask them what they do to deal with flare-ups and have the appropriate materials on hand.
  • Ask the what positions they can maintain comfortably and use only those for the first few sessions.
  • If they say they are normally comfortable laying flat, face-up, then do your first ties in that position.
  • If they tell you they are normally comfortable in a cross-legged position, try an Agura.
  • If they cannot stay sitting with their feet on the floor for more than a few minutes without risking a flareup, don’t tie them to a kitchen chair.
  • You can carefully branch out and experiment as you get to know one another better, but take it one step at a time.
  • Use techniques that will allow you to quickly release your partner if they experience an flare up. The Slipped Somerville Bowline is a great example of such a technique.
  • If they as sensitive to textures, consider using a soft Nylon or MFP as these tend to have few small fibers that may trigger a flareup. You can also reduce chances of a flareup by having them wear snug-fitting clothing of a material that they are comforable having against their skin. Tights, socks, leggings, close-fitting shirts, etc., can all be helpful.

Talk to your partner about what positions work for them.  SFN can sometime impact what they are comfortable doing.  Some positions can kick off a flare-up.  Here are some to consider:

Laying down:

  • Pretty much anything that doesn’t tie your partner into a bent position
  • A series of Double Columns might be a great place to start

Arms in front:

Arms in back:

Arms at sides:

Sitting cross-legged:

Hands and Knees:

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