Therapy Fans for Small Fiber Neuropathy

This post is a sequel to my “Power of Ice” entry I wrote just over a year ago.

I learned over the course of this year, that small, powerful handheld fans can be nearly as powerful as ice.

My theory is that the bombardment of the sensory nerves with the cool wind of a fan can help to scramble some of the bad signals. It provides a form of competitive stimuli.

It can also be calming and soothing.

I bring mine everywhere I go, to meetings, restaurants, busses, etc. It is cool and quite powerful. I often get positive comments on it, like “That is such a great idea!” from people who don’t realize I have an issue. I’ve often joked that I should become a fan salesperson, as I’ve become very passionate about my fans.

The following is the fan I use when I’m out-and-about, which I purchased around 6 months ago. It costs around $14 on Amazon. It can be viewed by clicking here.

It seems to be holding up, though in the past month the stand has become a little lose.

I also keep large Lasko Wind Curve fan by my bed.  In conjunction with this, I keep a small fan on my bed frame.

While obviously fans are no cure for SFN (how I wish they were), in my own experience I’ve found them to be helpful in providing some relief, as well as keeping a measure of control over what you are feeling, which could help to keep the corresponding anxiety in check.

Be Careful of Cuts, Even if You Haven’t Lost Nerve Sensation

A couple nights ago, I felt some pain sensations coming from the general area of my hand.  At the time I was watching TV, and just ignored the pain thinking that it was the SFN (Small Fiber Neuropathy) that I experience regularly.

A while later, I looked down, and realized I had a pretty sizeable, yet superficial cut on my thumb.  I am not sure where it came from, perhaps I had cut myself when I was washing dishes, and didn’t realize it.  After I found the cut, I put alcohol and a band aid over it.

I suppose the feeling of being cut must seem so normal to me, that I didn’t even realize when a real cut had occurred.   For some reason, I found this to be rather funny, and started laughing – perhaps due to the completely messed up nature of the situation.

I had read previously that people with SFN have to be careful about cuts, as they might not feel them occur due to loss of sensation.   However, I never once heard of having to be careful about cuts, due to confusing them with the regular pain sensations of SFN.   Yet, it makes total logical sense.  And so, I’ll do my part to adding to the discourse of SNF safety through this post.

Even if you have not lost sensation, if you have SFN it may be wise to check yourself regularly for cuts.

The Power of Ice

A few years ago I was in a dentist office, having x-rays done.  I kept gagging whenever the hygienist put the tags in my mouth.  After a few failed attempts, the hygienist told me to focus on my toes.  And so I did.  Amazingly, my gag reflex had subsided.    Such is the power of focus and attention.

When we feel some sort of pain or discomfort, it seems natural for the mind to dwell on that until a solution is found.  In the case of the x-ray, the solution was gagging until I forced the tags – the source of my discomfort –  out of my mouth.

By shifting my attention away from the focal point of pain, the hygienist had been quite effective at reducing the pain enough to allow the procedure to be done.

I noticed a similar technique can be helpful for managing the pains of Small Fiber Neuropathy, when they are on a more moderate pain-scale level.   If I feel burning pains or other painful sensations, simply putting my hand on an icepack seems to help in some measurable way.   This seems to help, regardless of wherever the pain exists in my body.   My mind’s focus shifts to the focal point of the icy cold sensation my hand feels, rather than the burning or pain that my body feels.  I have found this helps make the experience more bearable.