What are tremor problems?

Tremor symptoms are involuntary muscle movements that can occur in a specific body area. The most commonly affected and most noticeable areas include the hands, arms, and head, as well as a quavering voice if the tremor affects the voice box (larynx). Tremor symptoms include hand shaking, head shaking, and trembling and shaking while performing a task, such as gripping a fork or pencil. Tremor can also occur while you are at rest.

The term “tremor” most accurately refers to a small, rhythmic shaking movement that occurs in a back-and-forth pattern. However, tremor is also commonly used to refer to sudden jerking or muscle spasms of the body or extremities, such as the symptoms described for restless leg syndrome. Tremors can occur at any age but most commonly occur in middle-aged and older men and women.

Types of tremors

Tremors can be classified as rest or action tremors.

  • Rest tremors are movements that occur while your body is at rest, such as shaking of the arms or hands while they are supported on your lap. The extent of the tremor increases during mental stress. Rest tremor symptoms are characteristic of Parkinson’s disease.

  • Action tremors are movements that occur when the affected body part is performing a voluntary action, such as extending your arms or signing your name. Action tremors can be further classified into postural, isometric, and kinetic tremors based on the specific movements or tasks that trigger the tremor. Action tremor symptoms are characteristic of a variety of diseases, disorders and conditions including essential tremor, drug withdrawal, stroke, brain tumor, and multiple sclerosis. Tremors are also a side effect of a variety of medications.

Short-term tremors that disappear quickly can be due to an anxiety attack or stress; whereas, chronic tremors that come and go over a longer period of time can be due to essential tremor.

Any type of tremor symptoms, even if they are temporary, need to be evaluated by a medical professional. Tremor symptoms can be due to serious, ongoing diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and brain tumors. In particular, a tremor on only one side of the body can indicate brain damage from a tumor, stroke, or multiple sclerosis. Seek prompt medical care if you, or someone you are with, have symptoms of tremor.    


What other symptoms might occur with tremor symptoms?

Tremor symptoms may occur with other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Additional symptoms can be characteristic of a variety of different conditions including essential tremor, multiple sclerosis, stroke, hyperthyroidism, or Parkinson’s disease.

Symptoms that may occur along with tremor symptoms

Other possible symptoms that may occur... Read more about tremor symptomssymptoms


What causes tremor symptoms?

The types of tremors and tremor symptoms differ and depend on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

  • Essential tremor is the most common of the more than 20 types of tremor. The exact cause of essential tremor is not known, but a genetic component is involved in many cases. This means that essential tremor can be inherited from your parents. The up... Read more about tremor symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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