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What is Tremor?

Tremor is an uncontrollable and involuntary shaking or trembling in a body part, typically in the hands, but it can also occur in the arms, head, voice, trunk, or legs. The tremor can range in severity and be a sign of many medical conditions. The tremor may occur simultaneously with breaks between them or continuously. A common type of tremor with no known cause is called Essential Tremor.

The symptoms of tremor vary depending on the type and cause of the disorder. Some common symptoms include:

  • Uncontrolled shaking or trembling of one or more body parts
  • Difficulty holding objects or performing tasks that require fine motor skills
  • Balance problems or difficulty walking
  • Speech difficulty or changes in voice quality
  • Anxiety or embarrassment due to the tremor

There are many possible causes and risk factors for tremor. Some of them are:

  • Lifestyle factors such as stress, fatigue, caffeine intake, alcohol withdrawal, smoking, or certain medications
  • Medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain injury, thyroid disorders, liver disease, or mercury poisoning
  • Medications such as asthma inhalers, antiepileptics or antidepressants
  • Genetic factors such as a family history of tremor or inherited disorders such as Klinefelter’s or Huntington’s disease
  • Aging as tremor tends to become more common and severe with older age

To diagnose tremor, a movement disorders neurologist will usually perform a physical examination and ask about your medical history and symptoms. They may also order some tests such as blood tests, urine tests, brain imaging (such as MRI or CT scan), electromyography (EMG), nerve conduction studies (NCS), or genetic testing.

Treatment Options for Tremor

The treatment options for tremor depend on the type and cause of the disorder. Some possible treatments include:

  • Medications such as beta blockers, some anticonvulsants and antidepressants, tranquilizers, botox injections, levodopa, dopamine agonists, anticholinergics, and others that can reduce the severity or frequency of the tremors.
  • Surgery such as deep brain stimulation (DBS), thalamotomy, pallidotomy, gamma knife radiosurgery, and others that can ablate or stimulate certain areas of the brain that control movement.
  • MRI Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) can be used to treat essential tremor and tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease.
  • Physical therapy such as exercises, stretching, massage, splints, weights, and others that can improve muscle strength, control, and coordination.
  • Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnosis, relaxation techniques, herbal remedies, and others can help reduce stress, anxiety, and pain associated with tremors.

Book an appointment

Don’t suffer in silence! Schedule an appointment at Melbourne Neurocare and take control of your condition. Our expert team of neurologists is on hand to assist with the diagnosis, management, and long-term treatment of various tremor and movement disorder cases.