Tremor is an involuntary shaking movement that is
repeated over and over. Although it may affect any part of the body, tremor
most often affects the hands and head. Your voice may also shake. Sometimes
the feet or torso may also shake.
Essential tremor, which
sometimes runs in families, is one of the most common types of tremor. It is
shaking that is most noticeable when you are doing something like lifting a cup
or pointing at an object. The shaking does not occur when you are not moving.
Medicine can help reduce the shaking. Brain surgery can be helpful in some
Tremors can also be caused by conditions or medicines
that affect the nervous system, including
Parkinson's disease, liver failure, alcoholism,
mercury or arsenic poisoning, lithium, and certain antidepressants. Side
effects from other medicines can also cause tremors.
notice a tremor, observe it carefully and note what seems to make it better or
worse before calling your doctor. There are some differences between essential tremor and tremor caused by Parkinson's disease. If a cause is discovered, the
disease will be treated rather than the tremor.
When to Call a Doctor
Call your doctor if:
You suddenly develop a
tremor or if an existing tremor becomes
Tremor interferes with your ability to do daily activities
or keeps you from taking part in social events.
You suspect that
tremor may be a side effect of a medicine.
Some tremors can be treated with medicine or surgery.
A tremor caused by Parkinson's disease may get better if your Parkinson's disease is treated.
Essential tremor is usually treated with medicine, such as:
Primidone (for example, Mysoline).
Propranolol (for example, Inderal).
Essential tremor that doesn't get better with medicine may be treated with surgery, such as:
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.