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What is Tremor? 


What is Tremor?

It 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, tremors can affect various body parts such as the hands, head, facial structures, vocal cords, trunk, and legs; most tremors, however, occur in the hands. 

They often accompany neurological disorders associated with aging. Although the disorder is not life-threatening, it can be responsible for functional disability and social embarrassment. 

Is there any treatment? 

There are many types of tremor and several ways in which tremors are classified. The most common classification is by behavioral context or position. 

There are five categories of tremor within this classification:- 

  • Resting 

  • Postural 

  • Kinetic 

  • Task-specific

  • Psychogenic 

Resting or static tremors occur when the muscle is at rest, for example when the hands are lying on the lap. This type of tremor is often seen in patients with Parkinson’s disease. 

Postural tremors occur when a patient attempts to maintain posture, such as holding the hands outstretched. 

Kinetic or intention (action) tremor occurs during purposeful movement, for example during finger-to-nose testing. 

Task-specific tremors appear when performing goal-oriented tasks such as handwriting, speaking, or standing. This group consists of primary writing tremor, vocal tremor, and orthostatic tremor. 

Psychogenic tremor occurs in both older and younger patients. The key feature of this tremor is that it dramatically lessens or disappears when the patient is distracted. 

What is the prognosis? 

There are some treatment options available for tremor; the appropriate treatment depends on accurate diagnosis of the cause. 

Some tremors respond to treatment of the underlying condition, for example in some cases of psychogenic tremor treating the patient’s underlying mental problem may cause the tremor to disappear. 

Also, patients with tremor due to Parkinson’s disease may be treated with Levodopa drug therapy. Symptomatic drug therapy is available for several other tremors as well. For those cases of tremor in which there is no effective drug treatment, physical measures such as teaching the patient to brace the affected limb during the tremor are sometimes useful. 

Surgical intervention such as thalamotomy or deep brain stimulation may be useful in certain cases. 

What research is being done? 

NINDS investigators are currently conducting physiological studies of patients with tremors. These studies include classifying the tremor and providing appropriate therapy. 


International Essential Tremor Foundation P.O. Box 14005 Lenexa, KS 66285-4005 Tel: 913-341-3880 888-387-3667 Fax: 913-341-1296 

Tremor Action Network P.O. Box 5013 Pleasanton, CA 94566-0513 [email protected] Tel: 510-681-6565 925-462-0111

Source:  NINDS

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