In common with rocksalt-type alkali halide phases and also semiconductors such as GeTe and SnTe, SnSe forms all-surface two atom-thick low dimensional crystals when encapsulated within single walled nanotubes (SWNTs) with diameters below ∼1.4 nm. Whereas previous density functional theory (DFT) studies indicate that optimised low-dimensional trigonal HgTe changes from a semi-metal to a semi-conductor, low-dimensional SnSe crystals typically undergo band-gap expansion. In slightly wider diameter SWNTs (∼1.4-1.6 nm), we observe that three atom thick low dimensional SnSe crystals undergo a previously unobserved form of a shear inversion phase change resulting in two discrete strain states in a section of curved nanotube. Under low-voltage (i.e. 80-100 kV) imaging conditions in a transmission electron microscope, encapsulated SnSe crystals undergo longitudinal and rotational oscillations, possibly as a result of the increase in the inelastic scattering cross-section of the sample at those voltages.