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Diseases » Tremor » Introduction


Tremor: Introduction

Tremors are an abnormal condition in which a person experiences involuntary muscle movements that can occur in a specific body area, commonly the hands and arms, or affect the entire body. The term tremors most accurately refers to small, rhythmic shaking movements that occur in a to-and-fro pattern. However, the expression tremors is also commonly used to refer to sudden jerking or muscle spasms of the body or extremities, such as occurs with restless legs syndrome.

Tremors are a symptom of a variety of mild conditions to serious diseases and disorders. Tremors can result from extreme emotions, drug or alcohol use, medication side effects, and certain mental health disorders, metabolic conditions, neurological conditions, genetic disorders and other abnormal processes.

Depending on the cause, the sensation of tremors can be short-term and disappear quickly, such as when tremors occur due to an anxiety attack or stress. Tremors can also can be chronic and come and go over a longer period of time, such as when they are due to focal seizures.

Tremors can be the result of a variety of other conditions, diseases or disorders that damage or cause injury to the nervous system, such as Parkinson's disease. An essential tremor is a tremor in which there is no known cause. For more details about causes, see causes of tremors.

There are a variety of types of tremors. These include hand tremor, arm tremor, and intention tremor.

There are many symptoms that can accompany tremors, depending on the disease, disorder or condition that is at the root of them. For example, people with Parkinson's disease report feeling shaky and may exhibit depression and irritability. They also experience rigidity of the arms, legs and trunk and eventually develop bradykinesia, a slowness of movement that includes sudden freezing of muscle movement. They also have problems with impaired balance and coordination.

People who have tremors due to a severe form of alcohol withdrawal called delirium tremens have other types of symptoms, such as hallucinations, confusion, diarrhea, agitation, paranoia, fever and hypertension.

Diagnosing tremors and their root cause begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination, including a neurological examination. A neurological exam evaluates the nervous system and such functions as reflexes, sensation, movement, balance, coordination, vision and hearing.

Diagnostic testing varies, depending on the suspected underlying cause of tremors. Tests may include blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC), a chemistry panel, urinanalysis, and blood glucose testing, which can diagnose hypoglycemia, one potential cause of tremors. A blood alcohol test and liver function tests may be done if tremors are suspected to be due to alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal. Blood thyroid tests can reveal if a person has hyperthyroidism, another potential cause of tremors.

A diagnosis of tremors and their cause can easily be delayed or missed because they can be mild and not occur continuously. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of tremors.

Treatment of tremors generally involves diagnosing and treating the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is causing them. Some conditions can be easily and successfully treated and cured, while others may require more intensive treatment and may not have an optimal prognosis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of tremors. ...more »

Tremor: Tremor is a rhythmic, involuntary muscular contraction characterized by oscillations (to-and-fro movements) of a part of the body. The most ... more about Tremor.

Tremor: Involuntary trembling most commonly of the hands. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Tremor is available below.

Tremor: Treatments

Treatment plans for tremors are individualized based on the underlying cause, the presence of coexisting diseases, the age and medical history of the patient, and other factors. Treatment generally involves a multifaceted plan that addresses the cause, minimizes the tremors or episodes of tremors, and increases the ability of a person to function effectively and lead ...more treatments »

Tremor: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of tremors and its cause may be delayed or missed because the tremors may not be severe or bothersome enough for a person to seek medical care. In some conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, tremors progress gradually, potentially delaying a diagnosis. In some people with tremors, such as those with focal seizures or alcohol withdrawal, shame or embarrassment may result in a ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Tremor

Treatments for Tremor

  • Treatment of underlying cause of tremor
  • Symptomatic drug therapy
  • Thalamotomy (surgery)
  • Braces
  • Magnesium - possibly used for related magnesium deficiency
  • more treatments...»

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Tremor:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Tremor?

Tremor: Related Patient Stories

Tremor: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Tremor.

Types of Tremor

  • Resting tremor - when tremor occurs in resting positions
  • Postural tremor - when tremor results from attempts to maintain postures.
  • more types...»

Tremor: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Tremor:

Causes of Tremor

More information about causes of Tremor:

Disease Topics Related To Tremor

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Tremor:

Tremor: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Tremor

Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness because he suffered from sudden inability to speak. This was initially misdiagnosed as a more »

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that more »

Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms of severe brain injury are hard to miss, it is less clear for more »

MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go overlooked. This is particularly true of mild traumatic brain injury more »

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only more »

Brain pressure condition often misdiagnosed as dementia: A condition that results from an excessive pressure of CSF within the brain is often misdiagnosed. It may be misdiagnosed as more »

Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had suffered a concussive injury in battle often were misdiagnosed on their return. A variety more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of more »

Tremor: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Tremor

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Tremor:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Tremor, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Tremor: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Tremor: Animations

Prognosis for Tremor

Prognosis for Tremor: Tremor is not fatal, but prognosis more commonly depends on the underlying disorder causing tremor.

Research about Tremor

Visit our research pages for current research about Tremor treatments.

Clinical Trials for Tremor

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Tremor include:

Statistics for Tremor

Tremor: Broader Related Topics

Tremor Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Tremor, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Tremor

Tremor is a rhythmic, involuntary muscular contraction characterized by oscillations (to-and-fro movements) of a part of the body. The most common of all involuntary movements, tremor can affect various body parts such as the hands, head, facial structures, vocal cords, trunk, and legs; most tremors, however, occur in the hands. Tremor often accompanies neurological disorders associated with aging. Although the disorder is not life-threatening, it can be responsible for functional disability and social embarrassment. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Tremor Information Page: NINDS)

Definitions of Tremor:

Tremor is the shaking movement of the whole body or just a certain part of it, often caused by problems of the neurons responsible for muscle action. (from Wikipedia) - (Source - Diseases Database)

An involuntary vibration (as if from illness or fear) - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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