Tremor Troubles: Investigating the Most Common Causes for Shaking Hands

The most common cause of hand tremors is essential tremor (ET). Essential tremor is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary, rhythmic shaking of the hands and sometimes other parts of the body, such as the head, voice, or legs. It is the most prevalent movement disorder, and its exact cause is not fully understood.

Key features of essential tremor include:

Familial Prevalence:

  • Essential tremor often has a genetic component and tends to run in families. It can affect multiple generations

Action Tremor:

  • The tremors associated with essential tremor are typically action tremors, meaning they are most noticeable during voluntary movements like holding objects, writing, or reaching for something.

Postural Tremor:

  • The tremor can also be present when the affected individual maintains a position against gravity, such as holding their arms outstretched.

Progressive Nature:

  • Essential tremor is typically a progressive condition, with symptoms worsening over time.

While essential tremor is the most common cause of hand tremors, there are other potential causes, including:

Parkinson's Disease:

  • Tremors are one of the hallmark symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and they often occur at rest. Unlike essential tremor, which is primarily action tremor, Parkinson’s tremors are typically characterized as resting tremors.


  •  Dystonia is a movement disorder characterized by sustained muscle contractions leading to abnormal postures. Some forms of dystonia can involve tremors.

Medication Side Effects:

  • Certain medications, including stimulants, corticosteroids, and some mood-altering drugs, can cause hand tremors as a side effect.

Alcohol Withdrawal:

  • Tremors in the hands and other body parts can occur during alcohol withdrawal, a condition known as alcohol withdrawal tremors.

Caffeine or Stimulant Use:

  • High levels of caffeine or other stimulants can lead to hand tremors in some individuals.

Other Medical Conditions:

  • Certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, multiple sclerosis, and peripheral neuropathy, can cause tremors.

Physiological Tremor:

  • Physiological tremor is a normal, fine, and subtle tremor that may become more pronounced under certain conditions, such as fatigue, anxiety, low blood sugar, or fever.
  • If you or someone you know is experiencing hand tremors, especially if they are interfering with daily activities or quality of life, it is important to seek a medical evaluation. A healthcare provider can conduct a thorough assessment to determine the cause of the tremors and recommend appropriate treatment or management options.

Dr. Sumeet Dhawan, a skilled neurologist, employs a comprehensive approach to treat tremors. Through detailed patient assessments and cutting-edge diagnostic tools, he identifies the underlying causes. Implementing personalized treatment plans, which may include medications, therapy, or advanced interventions, Dr. Dhawan strives to alleviate tremors and enhance patients’ overall quality of life

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