In Getting Started: Navigating Life With Essential Tremor, we discussed just that – living a normal life with shaking. However, in this article we’ll delve even deeper.
- 1 Why Is It Called Essential Tremor?
- 2 What Causes Essential Tremors?
- 3 What Exactly Are Muscle & Body Tremors
- 4 How To Properly Diagnose Essential Tremor
- 5 How To Control Essential Tremor: Treatment Options
- 6 Do Essential Tremors Worsen?
- 7 Do Essential Tremors Go Away At All?
Why Is It Called Essential Tremor?
Essential tremors are a result of a disorder of the nervous system that can cause all kinds of involuntary shaking in individuals. It can actually impact virtually any part of the body. However, the trembling typically starts and occurs most often within your hands. While this is a very annoying and persistent condition, it is not generally a dangerous one. However, essential tremors can get worse over time and can become significantly severe in some people which can reduce overall quality of life in many individuals. While this problem can occur in anyone no matter the age, it is generally more common in people that are under 40 years of age.
What Causes Essential Tremors?
A tremor is typically caused by various problems in parts of the brain that can control muscles throughout the body or in various areas such as your hands. The different kinds of neurological disorders and/or conditions that can produce these kinds of tremors include suffering from a stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries, and more. A tremor may occur at literally any age but it is going to be much more common to occur in either middle age or older people. Likewise, it can either be temporary or it may even occur very often. This kind of issue effects both genders equally.
There are different categories and classifications of tremors. A tremor is typically going to be classified by it’s actual appearance and cause. Some of the most well known forms of tremors include the following; Essential Tremor, Parkinsonian Tremor, Dystonic Tremor, Cerebellar Tremor, Psychogenic Tremor, Physiologic Tremor, and Orthostatic Tremor. The tremors that can impact your muscles are Dystonic tremors, Oethostatic tremors, and physiologic tremors.
Essential tremors are literally the most common form of tremor. Everyone at some time has a tremor present. However, the movements are typically going to be so small that they are never going to be seen. Essential tremors can impact and affect both genders equally. However, they are generally more common in people older than 65 years of age.
The actual cause of these tremors is unknown. A lot of research suggests that these tremors are caused by a part of the brain that controls muscle movements not working correctly.
However, if various people in your family suffer from essential tremors, it is typically going to be refereed to as a familiar tremor. This kind of essential tremor is effectively passed down through families. This being the case, suggests that genetics has a key role in determining the actual cause of the tremor in these individuals.
Essential tremors are essentially a byproduct of a nervous system (neurological) disorder that results in involuntary and repeated shaking. This kind of tremor can affect pretty much any part of your body but it is most often going to be noticed in your hands. This is especially when you are doing simple tasks that require your hands including drinking water from a glass or writing on a piece of paper. While this is not a dangerous or life threatening condition, it is something that can get worse and worse over time and end up resulting in a reduction of quality of life in some people. Suffering from other conditions is not going to result in essential tremors. However, a lot of the times it is confused with Parkinson’s disease due to some of the tremor symptoms being similar.
Essential tremors can actually run in the family. Because of this, it is typically one of the most common forms of tremors to suffer from. While medication can work to effectively reduce the shaking that you experience, it is not likely going to get rid of it completely. In serious cases, brain surgery might be an option.
Around 50% of the cases are typically a result of a genetic mutation. However, a specific gene has yet to be identified. It is not exactly clear what causes tremors in those that do not have a known genetic mutation.
If you are someone that is suffering from tremors, you are going to want to discuss it with your doctor in order to figure out what is going on and whether or not it is something more serious.
The tremor is generally going to be much more likely to be noticeable in the hands. The eyelids, head, arms, and other muscle groups can be affected as well. However, these kinds of tremors rarely occur in the feet or legs. A person with an essential tremor is likely going to have trouble holding small objects or balancing things with their hands.
The shaking is typically going to involve some sort of small and yet repaid movement that occurs for more than 5 seconds at a time. Such as, nodding your head, problems with typing, writing, or drawing, and using tools.
If you find yourself suffering from essential tremors, you are going to want to discuss your symptoms with your doctor in order to figure out what you should do about it.
1. Begin Gradually On One Side Of The Body.
These tremors typically begin gradually on one side of the body and they can get worse and spread.
2. Gets Worse With Movement.
When you are suffering from these kinds of tremors, it is likely that it is going to get worse with movement.
3. Usually Occurs In The Hands First.
These kinds of tremors are going to typically occur in the hands first and they will either impact one hand or both.
4. May Be Aggravated By Emotional Stress, Caffeine, Temperature Extremes, or Fatigue.
If you are someone that suffers from these kinds of tremors, it is likely going to get aggravated or worsened if you are also experiencing any of the above. Try to avoid caffeine in order to avoid having very bad tremors.
What Exactly Are Muscle & Body Tremors
A tremor is an unintentional and rhythmic muscle movement that involves oscillations of one (or more) parts of the body. It is actually the most frequent involuntary movements that can affect pretty much every part of the body including the head, arms, face, hands, legs, and trunk. Typically, these tremors occur in the hands. In various people, this kind of tremor is actually a direct result of a neurological disorder and/or it can appear as a simple side effect of various drugs. However, the most common form is typically found in healthy people and it is not life threatening at all. While it can be embarrassing to some and make it difficult to perform various tasks, it is more so harmless.
1. Dystonic Tremors.
This kind of tremor will ultimately occur in those of various ages that suffer from dystonia which is a movement disorder that essentially sustains involuntary muscle contractions which can cause various twisting and repetitive motions and even painful postures or positions such as writer’s cramp. This kind of tremor has the ability to impact and affect any muscle in the body and is typically seen when the actual patient moves a particular way and/or is in a particular monition that aggravates it.
2. Orthostatic Tremor.
This kind of tremor is characterized by rhythmic muscle contractions that essentially occur within the legs typically after you begin standing after a long period of time sitting. This kind of tremor typically makes you feel unsteady rather than really feeling like an actual tremor which can make it very hard to see occurring.
3. Physiologic Tremor.
This particular tremor can occur in pretty much everyone whom is normal. This tremor is not going to be easily visible to the naked eye and it can be strengthened by various emotions including fear and anxiety. This tremor can occur in literally every single voluntary muscle group and it can ultimately be pointed out by either extending your arm and placing a piece of paper directly on your hands and seeing if your hands move it.
How To Properly Diagnose Essential Tremor
Essential tremor is a nervous system disorder that effectively results in involuntary movement and shaking. It can literally impact any part of your body but it is more likely to affect your hands. While it is not a dangerous condition at all, it can worsen over a period of time and really become a problem in your daily life due to making performing daily tasks difficult.
If you are having symptoms of essential tremor, you are going to want to seek out the professional care of a neurologist. During your evaluation, the doctor is likely going to ask you many different questions about your health, family history, medications, and any kind of surgeries that you have had in the past. You will want to inform your doctor of any kind of factors that can make your tremor worse or activate it.
Diagnosing essential tremor essentially involves reviewing your overall family and personal medical history along with looking at your overall symptoms that are present. There are actually no definitive medical tests that can diagnose your essential tremor, therefore, diagnosing it is simply a matter of ruling out different conditions that could be resulting in your symptoms.
For this reason, it is very likely that you doctor will perform several medical tests including checking your reflexes, muscle strength/tone, feeling sensations, posture, and more. Also, your doctor will likely take and look at some lab tests that can accurately test for thyroid disease, metabolic problems, chemical levels, and more.
To actually evaluate your tremor and the severity of it, your doctor is likely going to have you perform simple tasks involving your hand(s). These tests can include drinking from a water glass, holding out your hand straight, writing, and more.
The good news is that essential tremor is typically not going to be harmful or life threatening. Therefore, the symptoms that result from it are not something to worry too much about as long as you know it is essential tremor that is causing it and not something more serious.
If you are suffering from any kind of symptoms of an essential tremor, you will want to get checked by a doctor in order to rule out any other serious conditions or problems that could be causing the symptoms. You want to make sure that it is not something more serious that you should be concerned about.
How To Control Essential Tremor: Treatment Options
It’s not in every case that treatment is necessary to control essential tremors. For example, individuals with mild symptoms usually cope with the situation without help. But when it starts to interfere with daily routines there are different treatment options available.
Even though it’s typically recommended to find a less evasive way to treat an essential tremor, doctors might prescribe medication. For example, beta blockers can be very effective for some individuals, although they come with side effects related to fatigue and heart problems. A doctor might also prescribe anti-seizure medication, but this is only when beta blockers aren’t effective.
In more severe cases tranquilizers become an option. However, it’s only prescribed when essential tremors are elevated by anxiety or tension. The reason why tranquilizers are a last resort is that they can be very dangerous if not used responsibly.
One of the more unlikely treatments is Botox injections, but they are only effective for certain tremors. Some individuals experience relief for up to three months after receiving Botox injections.
With physical therapy it’s not so much about removing the effects of essential tremors. Instead, the focus is placed on controlling it better. This can either be done through exercises that increase muscle strength, or by using adaptive devices, for example wrist weights. This treatment might not seem like the best at face value, but it doesn’t come with any side-effects or dangers.
When essential tremors reach a point where therapy doesn’t work effectively and medication has failed, surgery is another option. This is considered a last resort because the surgery is done on the part of the brain that causes the tremors.
In simple terms, the tremors are interrupted by a device that resembles a pace-maker, which is placed in the chest. It’s connected to the brain trough a long wire that transmits electrical pulses. These electrical pulses don’t hurt, but the side-effects of surgery have to be taken into consideration. They include problems with motor functions, balance and speech. When this happens adjustments are usually made to the device, although the side effects can go away given some time.
Some Final Thoughts On Treatments
Ultimately there isn’t a single answer for everyone. Depending on the severity of the situation and the condition of the individual involved, it might take some testing to find the right approach. Before making any final decisions, speak to a doctor or professional in the field.
Learn more about Natural Treatment options:
- 10 Reasonable & Natural Remedies To Stop Shaking
- Top 5 Oils & 3 Herbs To Stop Your Shaking
- 2 Lifestyle Changes You Might Not Have Considered With Shaking
Do Essential Tremors Worsen?
This neurological disorder can be uncomfortable and life-altering for those who deal with it. The symptoms can be aggressive, and it can be deterring to those who are hoping to lead healthy lives.
It can start to have an impact on what a patient can and can’t do during the day.
However, the one question most patients will have is going to involve the worsening of this condition. Can it get to a point where you are going to notice a progression in the disorder?
Will the troubling get worse?
Here is a look at what the studies say.
Aging Worsens Matters
This is a given with anything, and as you age, it is going to get to a point where the trembling starts to cause more distress.
Aging does not have to be a given with regards to a patient’s symptoms.
Medication can make it easier even if one ages. However, if it is left untreated, aging is not going to help one bit.
If you are always stressed, you are going to start to notice the tremors increase. It is going to start to become a common occurrence in your life eventually.
You have to reduce the stress as much as you can because it does not sync well with this disorder at all.
If you are always stressed, you will notice the tremors rise in number too.
Look to use multiple relaxation techniques (i.e. yoga) and start making changes to your life as soon as you can. It will make you feel better in the long-run.
If you don’t do this, the stress might become the biggest troublemaker for you.
Caffeine And Alcohol
Substances such as caffeine and alcohol are not going to assist matters. You lose control over your bodily functions because there is a direct impact on your chemical makeup inside.
You want to make sure these are not being consumed as they are going to have short-term repercussions on your trembling.
It will be noticeable right away and is not going to be pleasant.
This is certainly the case with alcohol.
So, essential tremors can get worse due to these factors and making sure you are learning to relax and pinpoint how to take care of yourself is vital. You should not assume sticking to the status quo is going to be enough. You have to continually take your medications and use those relaxation techniques to get better.
Do Essential Tremors Go Away At All?
Tremors can be made worse with enhanced stress, increased caffeine intake and/or a lack of sleep. Focus on trying to minimize the impact these factors can play on your essential tremors.
There is no actual cure for tremors themselves. However, there are ways in which you can minimize the impact that tremors can have on your life. Medicine may help to relieve the symptoms that you are likely to experience with tremors such as Propranolol and Primidone. While they are never going to go away, they may not be noticeable or prominent all of the time. Be sure to discuss your tremors with your doctor to find the right solution for you.