What is essential tremor?

Essential tremor affects millions of Americans, causing involuntary shaking (known as tremors) in any number of areas of the body—and even the voice. Despite being the most commonly diagnosed movement disorder, the cause behind essential tremor is unknown. Although it can start at any age, people over 40 are at greatest risk for developing essential tremor.

Although tremors can have a big impact on daily life—and typically get worse over time—they are not dangerous and are not usually a symptom of a more serious condition.

Essential tremor or another condition?

Tremors can be associated with a variety of other conditions and even as a side effect of some prescription medications. Symptoms of essential tremor often differ from other conditions like Parkinson’s disease in certain ways.

  • Where: Essential tremor most often only impacts the hands, voice or head and not the legs or other parts of the body.
  • When: Tremors in the hand (most common) generally only occur when using hands and not when they are at rest.

Essential tremor treatment options

Most people are able to live normal lives with essential tremors, although they may find everyday activities like eating, dressing or writing difficult. If essential tremor is interfering with your quality of life or causing embarrassment, the neuroscience specialists on our staff offer a variety of treatment options.

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  • Medication

    For symptom control and any behavioral health issues that people with essential tremors sometimes get, like depression or anxiety

  • Botox

    Injections that can help control tremors

  • Deep brain stimulation

    A minimally invasive procedure to implant an electrode in the brain to manage signals causing tremors

  • Lifestyle plan

    Changes in diet or exercise that can help manage essential tremor

  • Surgical options

    A referral to a neurosurgeon to review surgical options

  • Therapy

    Physical, speech and occupational therapy that can help with daily living

Plummer Movement Disorders Center

The Plummer Movement Disorder Center in Temple takes a team approach in treating movement disorders. To schedule a consultation with our movement disorders specialist, see your primary care physician or neurologist for a referral.

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