Essential tremor is a common movement disorder. It makes your body shake without meaning to, often in your hands, head, and voice. This can make everyday tasks hard and affect your life quality. To figure out if you have it, a doctor will ask about your past and do a checkup. They’ll make sure it’s not a different health issue.

There are many ways to treat essential tremor. You could try different medicines, talk to a therapist, use special devices, or even have surgery. Each option aims to help you better control your tremors and live a more normal life.

Understanding Essential Tremor

Essential tremor is a common issue that makes your body shake involuntarily. This shaking usually happens in your hands, arms, head, and voice. The exact cause of this is not fully known. But, it seems to be linked to the part of your brain that controls how you move. This issue can often be found in families and is more common as people get older, especially over 60 years old. It affects about 5% of people in this age group.

Essential Tremor Symptoms and Causes

Essential tremor symptoms makes you shake, mainly in your hands and arms but also in your head, voice, and other body parts. This shaking gets worse when you move, are stressed, or hold certain positions. Scientists think it’s caused by both your genes and things in the environment that mess up how your brain controls movement.

Differentiating from Other Movement Disorders

It’s crucial to tell the difference between essential tremor and other shakes like those in Parkinson’s disease. The causes and treatments are quite different. Essential tremor is the most common kind of shaking, affecting 7-10 million people in the U.S. every year. Unlike Parkinson’s, it usually doesn’t come with other signs like moving slowly, feeling stiff, or having trouble keeping your balance.

Prevalence and Familial Tendencies

Essential tremor becomes more common as you get older, especially past 60 years. It’s also something that can be passed down in families. If a parent has it, you might have a 50% chance of getting it too. This suggests that genes play a big role, even though we don’t know all the specific genes yet.

Medications for Essential Tremor

Medications are key in treating essential tremor first. Beta blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal), may reduce tremors. Yet, they aren’t right for everyone, especially those with certain heart or breathing issues. Treatment usually includes using more than one medicine to handle the essential tremor symptoms and boost function overall.

Beta Blockers

Doctors often give essential tremor patients beta blockers like propranolol (Inderal). These meds help lessen tremors in the hands, head, and voice by blocking adrenaline’s effects. However, they might not work for individuals with special heart or lung problems.

Anti-Seizure Medications

Medicines usually used to treat seizures, such as primidone (Mysoline), gabapentin (Neurontin), and topiramate (Topamax) are also effective for essential tremor. They stabilize the brain’s electrical activity, easing tremors. These meds might be used alone or with other treatments.

Tranquilizers and Muscle Relaxants

Tranquilizers like clonazepam (Klonopin) might help with essential tremor, mainly when stress or anxiety makes tremors worse. Including muscle relaxants in the treatment can lower muscle tension and better coordination. Yet, they may lead to side effects like tiredness, sleepiness, and risking dependence.

By closely working with their healthcare team, people with essential tremor can discover the best medicines or mix of treatments. This can help reduce symptoms and uplift their life quality.

essential tremor medication

Therapy and Assistive Devices

Medications help, but therapy and aids are also key for those with essential tremor. Specialists like physical and occupational therapists are vital for improving life quality. They assist in regaining control over muscle movements.

Physical and Occupational Therapy

These therapists teach exercises that boost muscle control and strength. They help lessen tremors’ impact on daily life, keeping you independent as the illness gets worse.

Adaptive Equipment and Aids

Occupational therapists might suggest special tools to lessen tremor effects. These can be items like heavier forks, wrist weights, and wider pens. This gear improves your ability to do daily tasks. The Readi-Steadi® Anti-Tremor Orthotic Glove System is quite effective. It’s even covered by insurances like Medicare and the VA.

Tools such as the Steadi-Two device and the Liftware Steady stabilizing handle help a lot. They greatly reduce hand shake, making life easier for essential tremor patients.

The S’up Spoon and magnetic button adapters are brilliant for daily living needs. These aids make eating and dressing alone possible. They are true game-changers for people with tremors. And don’t forget products like Hickies and MagnaReady shirts. They make getting dressed easy for those with movement challenges.

With the right mix of medicine, therapy, and assistive devices, essential tremor’s effects can be well-managed. This comprehensive approach helps keep sufferers independent and boosts their life quality.

essential tremor assistive devices

Treatment for essential tremor

If you have a severe essential tremor that’s not helped by medicine or therapy, surgery might be an option. Deep brain stimulation is a procedure where an electrode is placed in a specific brain area. This electrode is linked to a device in your chest that acts like a pacemaker. It works to stop signals that cause the tremors of essential tremor effectively.

Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

For those with severe essential tremor not improved by medicine, there’s deep brain stimulation. This surgery plants an electrode in the brain. It helps stop the signals that cause the tremors.

Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy

Focused ultrasound thalamotomy is a new, noninvasive treatment. It uses sound waves to damage the brain area responsible for essential tremor. This can reduce or stop the tremors. Yet, it might lead to changes in brain function that last.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Both deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound thalamotomy lower tremors. But they also have risks like infection, problems with talking or balance, and lasting changes in brain function.

deep brain stimulation essential tremor


Essential tremor affects many people and can get worse over time. It can make simple tasks hard to do. But, there are ways to help, even though there’s no current cure. Treatments include medicine, therapy, and devices. There are also surgeries like deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound thalamotomy.

You don’t have to manage essential tremor by yourself. Working with your doctors is key. Together, you can find what works best for you and your life. The goal is to reduce symptoms while keeping you as independent and happy as possible.

Your essential tremor journey is yours alone. Remember to stay positive and keep trying. Stay involved in your healthcare. Working with your doctors, you can find solutions that fit you. Always be hopeful and stay informed.


What are the symptoms of essential tremor?

Essential tremor makes you shake involuntarily in your hands, arms, head, and voice.

What causes essential tremor?

Scientists don’t know the exact reason. They think it’s linked to problems in the part of your brain that moves your body.

How common is essential tremor?

It’s the most common type of tremor, affecting 7-10 million people in the U.S. It often comes from your family and shows up more as you get older, hitting about 5% of folks over 60.

How is essential tremor treated?

Doctors use medicines, therapy, gadgets, and surgeries to help. For example, deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound thalamotomy can be done for improvement.

What medications are used to treat essential tremor?

Doctors often give beta blockers, anti-seizure drugs, or tranquilizers to lessen tremors. But, they might cause some unwanted effects too.

How can therapy and assistive devices help with essential tremor?

Therapists and specialists can show you exercises and tips for better muscle control. They might suggest tools like heavier utensils and wider pens to make shaking less of an issue during daily tasks.

What are the surgical options for severe essential tremor?

For a more drastic remedy, there’s deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound thalamotomy. These surgeries can greatly reduce tremors, though they do have risks.

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