Tremor - Overview
Tremor - hand; Hand tremor; Tremor - arms; Kinetic tremor; Intention tremor; Postural tremor
Definition of Tremor:
A tremor is a type of shaking movement. A tremor is most often noticed in your hands and arms, but it may affect any body part (even your head or voice).
There are three main types of tremors:
- Resting (or static) tremors: These tremors are present when your muscles are resting. The tremor may go away or become less noticeable when you move muscles that are involved.
- Intention (or kinetic): These tremors occur at the end of a purposeful (intended) movement, such as writing, pressing a button, or reaching for an object. The tremor will often disappear while the affected body part is at rest.
- Postural or action tremors occur when you are holding your arm or leg in one position for a period of time against gravity. This may happen when you are writing, holding a cup, holding your arms out, or when you stand up straight.
See also: Essential tremor
Tremors can happen at any age but tend to be more common in older people. Everyone has some tremor when they move their hands. Stress, fatigue, anger, fear, caffeine, and cigarettes may temporarily make this type of tremor worse.
However, a tremor that does not go away over time may be a sign of an underlying medical problem and should be evaluated. You may learn that your tremor is perfectly normal, but eliminating medical reasons for the shaking is important.
Essential tremor is the most common tremor. It is rarely seen when the hands are not being used. It becomes most apparent when you are trying to do something, such as reaching for an object or writing. It is not caused by an underlying disease. This type of tremor may also run in families.
Tremor may be caused by:
- Reviewed last on: 3/31/2011
- Kevin Sheth, MD, Department of Neurology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Fahn S. Hypokinesia and hyperkinesia. In: Goetz CG. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2007:chap 34.
Deuschl G, Raethjen J, Hellriegel H, Elble R. Treatment of patients with essential tremor. Lancet Neurol. 2011 Feb;10(2):148-61.
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