What Causes Tremors? Can You Do Something?

Tremors can occur at rest or when your body is moving. Both men and women can suffer from tremors, and they can be triggered by physical or emotional stress.

Generally, tremors develop during middle or old age. A tremor is the rhythmic movement of a body part outside of the control of the sufferer. It can occur in any limb or even in the trunk of the body, though most common tremors occur in the fingers and hands. Tremors can be caused by a variety of conditions such as Parkinson's Disease or during the extreme weakness that can impact those who suffer from ALS or multiple sclerosis. Some medications can lead to tremors after long term exposure. Tremors can also come on if your blood sugar is low or if you have an overactive thyroid. Should the tremors develop suddenly, schedule an appointment with your doctor to confirm that you are not suffering an underlying cause. As we age, many people develop tremors when physically tired or emotionally upset. While tremors aren't generally dangerous, they can be embarrassing and may make it hard for you to feed, bathe or dress yourself. Depending on when the tremors impact you most severely, there are adjustments you can make to your activities to lessen the disruption.

Types Of Tremor

There are multiple forms of tremor. Below is a list of tremors that an occur in the hands, a part of the body commonly affected by tremor.

  • Resting tremors occur when the body part should be relaxed and still, such as when standing with your hands at your side or sitting with them in your lap.
  • Action tremors occur when the body part is under load, such as when trying to handle a cup or utensil.
  • Postural tremors occur when you're trying to hold the body part still against gravity, such as standing with your hands outstretched.
  • Kinetic tremors appear when trying to perform a focused movement, such as touching a finger to your face.
  • Task-Specific tremors may show up when trying to perform a fine motor skill, such as typing or needlework.
  • Isometric tremors appear when the muscle is held in contraction, such as when gripping a shopping bag or coffee cup.

What Can You Do?

If you notice tremors coming on late in the day when you're tired, try to schedule points of rest during the day to let your muscles relax. You may need to stretch out fully to get enough muscular rest to avoid muscular exhaustion.

If you struggle with an essential tremor such as a kinetic tremor, you may find that it actually increases as you attempt to stay it. While stimulants such as caffeine can increase kinetic tremor, you may find that alcohol ingestion can reduce it. In moderation, this may be a simple treatment for your essential tremor.

There are many tools to help those who suffer from tremors. For example, using a weighted pen can help you control hand tremors and maintain your formerly legible handwriting. If eating and drinking are a challenge, there are multiple adapters for tableware that will either stay steady as you move the utensil to your mouth or, again, add weight to the utensil to help you maintain muscular control.

Questions And Answers

This information may help you determine what sort of tremor you suffer, but making an appointment with your doctor is critical to determine the source. You may be one simple dietary change or medication change away from being free of your tremors.

Q: How do I know what sort of tremor I have?

A: A simple test for determining the type of tremor is to have you draw a spiral. If your focus in the process causes your handwriting to be even more shaky, you may be suffering an essential tremor.

Q: Can I do anything to reduce my own tremor?

A: If you notice that your tremor is not evident in the morning or only shows up at suppertime, try to and work some muscular rest into the middle of your day. Additionally, consider working with a physical therapist or personal trainer to build up the musculature in the portion of your body that is prone to tremor.

Q: Doesn't everyone get the shakes as they age?

A: It's true that tremora are most prevalent in the aging population, but there are some who never develop it. While that may be simply genetic, maintaining physical strength will reduce your risk of tremor from muscular exhaustion.

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