Tremors | Essential Tremors

Tremors are uncontrollable shaking movements. They usually occur in the hands but can happen in other areas of your body. Tremors also are called essential tremors. An essential tremor is a neurological problem.

What are essential tremors?

An essential tremor causes shaking or trembling. It is not something that you can control. Essential tremors are not a serious condition. However, they can be bothersome and can get worse over time. Essential tremors are most common in older adults.

Talk to your provider if you are experiencing tremors. Your doctor will want to rule out other medical conditions.

Other medical conditions that cause tremors

Essential tremors can be confused with other medical conditions that cause tremors as symptoms.

Tremors can be caused by medical conditions that include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dystonia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Alcohol abuse or withdrawal
  • Taking certain medications

Essential tremor symptoms

  • May be on one side or both sides of the body
  • Get worse over time
  • Hand or both hands are affected first
  • Stress or feeling tired make tremors worse

Diagnosing essential tremors

If you are having tremors, take note of what you are doing when they happen.

  • Are you standing still or moving?

  • Is there anything that makes them better or worse?

  • When did you start having them?

  • Do they get better or worse if you’ve had alcohol?

Talk to your health-care provider. Your answers will help your provider determine the type of tremors you have in order to come up with a treatment plan.

Your provider may order blood tests or brain scans to check for other medical problems that could be causing them.

Essential tremor treatment

  • Medication

  • Physical or occupational therapy

  • Surgery