Essential tremor is a type of uncontrollable shake or tremble of part of the body. It is a common movement disorder that for most people is a minor nuisance, but it does get gradually worse with time. At its most severe, essential tremor is disabling and makes it very difficult to perform daily activities.
Essential tremor usually affects the arms and hands, although it can also affect other body parts, including head, face, jaw, tongue and feet.
Sometimes, the voice can also sound shaky.
Everyone has a very minor tremor when carrying out daily activities. For example, your hands will shake slightly when you hold them out in front of you. This is normal.
Sometimes, the everyday level of tremor can become more noticeable, particularly in older people. Noticeable tremor is also normal and it is often caused by a raised level of adrenaline in the body, which can happen when a person is stressed, anxious or angry.
So, when does a tremor become a disorder? Essential tremor is more severe than normal tremor. It can be made worse by the same things that cause normal tremor, such as stress and anxiety.
Essential tremor gradually gets worse over the years. Eventually, the tremor may become so severe that carrying out normal, everyday activities can become difficult. For example, activities such as writing, drinking a glass of water or tying shoelaces may become particularly challenging.
It is important that you visit your licensed health practitioner if you experience frequent or severe tremors. They will carry out a physical examination to check for tremor when you move.
They will also ask about your medical history and that of your immediate family to find out whether essential tremor runs in your family. There is no specific test to diagnose essential tremor. The condition is usually diagnosed after clinical assessment.
Essential tremor affects men and women equally. It can affect people of any age, although it becomes more common with advancing age. Around 4 out of 100 adults over 40 years of age have the condition. Essential tremor can run in families. At least half of people with the condition have a family member who also has it. It can also occur when a person is taking certain types of medication, such as inhalers for asthma.
The only symptom of essential tremor is the characteristic shaking. About 9 out of 10 affected people experience a trembling, up-and-down movement of the hands.
Other body parts can also be affected, including the:
- voice box (larynx)
Essential tremor can begin at any age from childhood onwards. The later the condition starts, the milder it is likely to be. The tremor usually affects both sides of the body equally. It happens when you are trying to hold a position or do something with your hands, such as write. The tremor is not usually present in a body part if it’s completely at rest.
The following factors can make the tremor more severe:
- strenuous activity
- caffeine (found in tea, coffee and cola)
- some prescribed medicines
Some people have a mild tremor, although most will find that their tremor gets gradually more severe over the years.
Research suggests that essential tremor may be caused by a change (mutation) in one of your genes. Genes are inherited units of information (DNA) that determine how your body grows and functions.
It is thought that the gene mutation affects the areas of the brain known as the cerebellum and the inferior olive, altering the signals that are sent along the nerves to the muscles.
Inherited and non-inherited essential tremor:
At least half of essential tremor cases are inherited. This means that a faulty gene is responsible for the condition and is passed on to you from your parents. Conditions that are passed on in this way are known as autosomal dominant disorders.
If one of your parents has a faulty gene for essential tremor, you have up to a 50% chance of developing the disorder yourself. However, how old a person is when they first develop the condition and its severity can vary greatly between different family members.
Unfortunately, there is no simple test to determine whether your essential tremor is caused by one particular faulty gene. There may not always be a family history of essential tremor as not everyone with the mutated gene will develop symptoms. Similarly, some people may develop the mutation without inheriting it from either parent.
Your tremor may be triggered or made worse by one or more of the following actions:
- making controlled or small, detailed movements, such as drinking a glass of water or writing
- putting on make-up
- Being tired, anxious, hot or cold is also likely to make your symptoms worse.
Other causes tremor:
There are a number of other conditions or factors that can cause a tremor. These include:
- overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- Parkinson’s disease, a long-term condition that affects the way the brain co-ordinates body movements
- multiple sclerosis, a condition of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) that affects the senses and the body’s actions
- dystonia, a range of movement disorders that cause involuntary muscle spasms
- stroke, which very rarely may result in tremor with few other symptoms
- peripheral neuropathy, where the peripheral nervous system is damaged
- withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking alcohol, which may affect people who were dependant on alcohol and have stopped or reduced their alcohol intake
- amphetamines and other stimulants
- medications, such as some antidepressants and some medicines that are taken for asthma
- too much caffeine, in tea, coffee and some fizzy drinks
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
. Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
- Reiki healing is very powerful in releasing stress and emotional baggage. Find a practitioner here.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has had remarkable results in dissolving stress. Find a local practitioner here or go to www.thetappingsolution.com or www.tftrx.com
- Try Hypnotherapy to relax the mind. Find a practitioner here.
Tremor and Tai Chi: www.tremor.org.uk/tai-chi.html
Tremor and yoga: www.tremor.org.uk/yoga.html
Tremor and hydroptherapy: www.tremor.org.uk/hydrotherapy.html
Traditional Chinese Medicine – Ancient Healing www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/traditional_chinese_ancient_healing.php
The best way to cleansing and purification of the body www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/54_the_best_way_to_cleansing_and_purification_of_the_body_110512.php
Mother Nature’s Natural Germ Fighters naturalhealthdossier.com/2012/03/mother-natures-natural-germ-fighters
Immune health NC_Newsletter_07-11.pdf
Squeaky Clean (Colonic Irrigation) www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/squeaky_clean.php
Heal Your Body and Raise Your Consciousness – Qigong NC_Newsletter_12-08.pdf
Health Care that Won’t Cost You a Single Penny – EFT NC_Newsletter_12-06.pdf
Become Master of Your Mind – taking charge of your reaction to stress NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Jump for Joy – Rebounding is a great stress busting workout NC_Newsletter_12-10.pdf
Hypnotherapy for stress management – why it is so effective www.naturalcures.com/healthblog/hypnotherapy_for_stress.php
Chinese medicine for tremors: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAFTGWGYmOM
Healing the body meditation www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFh-Km4AXeE&feature=related
EFT for treating disease www.garythink.com/eft/physicial.html
Gluten and the link with tremors: www.naturalnews.com/035224_gluten_nervous_system_brain_damage.html
Further Information (links and books)
Essential Tremor: The Facts, Mark Plumb and Peter Bain
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food … A-To-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies) by Phyllis Balch
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Mindi Green
Detox and revitalize by Susana L. Belen
The Secret Language of Your Body by Inna Segal
The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Nature’s Medicines by Michael Castleman and Prevention Magazine
Whole food supplement, Pure Synergy
www.thesynergycompany.com (800) 723-0277
E3 Live, Green Superfoods
Omega-3s, Cod Liver oil
www.drrons.com (877) 472-8701
St. John’s Wort
Sunlight Therapy, Solar Healing
EMF Chaos Elimination, Q-Link
www.toolsforwellness.com (800) 456-9887
Callahan Technique, Thought Field Therapy
www.tftrx.com (760) 564-1008
Dianetics, Dianetics Technology
www.dianetics.com (800) 367-8788
Neuro Emotional Technique
www.netmindbody.com (800) 888-4638
Bowen, Find Practitioner
Rebounder, Evolution Health
www.evolutionhealth.com (888) 896-7790