Tremor

Brain & Spine Specialists

Neurologists & Neurosurgeons located in Panama City, FL

Essential tremor is a disorder that causes shaking similar to Parkinson’s disease, but tremors are also common symptoms of many health conditions. The providers at Brain & Spine Specialists are experts when it comes to accurate diagnoses of the true cause of tremors and providing customized treatment to relieve symptoms. If you develop a tremor anywhere in your body, schedule an appointment online or call one of the two convenient locations in Panama City, Florida.

Tremors Q&A

What are tremors?

A tremor is an involuntary or uncontrollable, rhythmic muscle contraction that causes shaking in one or more parts of your body. Tremors can be symptoms of another movement disorder, or they can occur on their own.  

Tremors most often affect your hands, but they can occur in your arms, legs, head, torso, and vocal cords.

What causes tremors?

Tremors arise from a problem in the area of your brain that controls muscle movements. In many cases, the underlying cause is unknown, but some types of tremors may be inherited.

Neurological disorders that frequently cause tremors include:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Dystonia
  • Stroke

Tremors are symptoms found in many other movements, and neurological and metabolic disorders.

What is essential tremor?

Essential tremor is a primary neurological disorder that causes tremors. The tremors typically occur in your hands and arms, where the shaking worsens when you try to do simple tasks like tying your shoes.

You may also develop essential tremor that causes a sideways or up-and-down head movement. Essential tremors typically worsen when you’re fatigued or under stress.

Parkinson’s disease is often confused with essential tremor, but the underlying disease is different. Additionally, essential tremor worsens when you use your hands. By comparison, Parkinson’s hand tremors are worse when your hands are resting.

How are tremors treated?

If an underlying medical condition is diagnosed, treating the condition may eliminate your tremors. Many types of tremor do not have a cure, but controlling symptoms may be possible with treatments such as:

Medications

Beta-blockers, anti-seizure medications, anti-anxiety medications, and Parkinson’s disease medications can all help reduce tremors.

Botox®

Botox injections effectively treat most types of tremor by temporarily stopping muscle contractions. Botox is often used for head tremors that often don’t respond to medications and dystonia or muscle spasms caused by conditions such as cerebral palsy and stroke.

Surgical intervention

Deep brain stimulation, radiofrequency ablation, and thalamotomy are all surgical procedures that carefully and precisely destroy a small area of the brain that causes tremors.

Physical therapy and occupational therapy

Physical therapy reduces tremors by improving muscle control and strength, while occupational therapy helps you find ways to perform daily activities that have become difficult to accomplish due to tremors.

Lifestyle changes

Some patients find that their tremors improve when they eliminate caffeine and alcohol.

If you develop tremors in your hands or other parts of your body, call Brain & Spine Specialists or book an appointment online.