Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Tremor
Tremor is an involuntary shaking movement that is
repeated over and over. Although it may affect any part of the body, tremor
most often affects the hands and head. Your voice may also shake. Sometimes
the feet or torso may also shake.
Essential tremor, which
sometimes runs in families, is one of the most common types of tremor. It is
shaking that is most noticeable when you are doing something like lifting a cup
or pointing at an object. The shaking does not occur when you are not moving.
Medicine can help reduce the shaking. Brain surgery can be helpful in some
Tremors can also be caused by conditions or medicines
that affect the nervous system, including
Parkinson's disease, liver failure, alcoholism,
mercury or arsenic poisoning, lithium, and certain antidepressants. Side
effects from other medicines can also cause tremors.
notice a tremor, observe it carefully and note what seems to make it better or
worse before calling your doctor. There are some differences between essential tremor and tremor caused by Parkinson's disease. If a cause is discovered, the
disease will be treated rather than the tremor.
Call your doctor if:
Some tremors can be treated with medicine or surgery.
Essential tremor that doesn't get better with medicine may be treated with surgery, such as:
Other Works Consulted
Ropper AH, et al. (2014). Tremor, myoclonus, focal dystonias, and tics. In Adams and Victor's Principles of Neurology, 10th ed., pp. 92–114. York: McGraw-Hill Education.
Zesiewicz TA, et al. (2011). Evidence-based guideline update: Treatment of essential tremor. Neurology 77(19): 1752–1755. Available online: http://www.neurology.org/content/77/19/1752.full.html.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerG. Frederick Wooten, MD - Neurology
Current as ofFebruary 19, 2016
Current as of:
February 19, 2016
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & G. Frederick Wooten, MD - Neurology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Send Us Your Feedback
North Kansas City Hospital