Explained - The Common Types of Tremors

By Dr. Manoj Khanal in Neurosciences

Dec 06 , 2017 | 3 min read

A tremor is different from a muscle twitch or any muscle spasms. It is actually an unintended and overpowering movement of one limb or one part of the body- typically the legs, hands, face, voice, abdomen or arms. They might not be serious but in some cases, they can be an indication of a serious health disorder. This neurological disorder can affect both women and men.

Common Causes of Tremors

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Stress
  • Too much caffeine intake
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Essential Tremor (Unknown )

What are its Symptoms?

  • Difficulty drawing or writing
  • Shaking of hands, torso, legs, head or arms
  • Shaky voice and nodding head
  • Problem carrying out tasks like holding a spoon or controlling the action of the limbs

If any of these symptoms appear repeatedly, it’s advisable to consult a specialist

Types of Tremors

Tremors are divided into two main categories –

  1. Resting Tremor – usually affecting the fingers or the hands, resting tremors occur when a person is resting and goes away once they begin to move around.
  2. Action Tremor – tremors that occur with any voluntary movement of a muscle. Furthermore, action tremors have several sub-classifications, many of which overlap.
    • Kinetic tremor– Caused by any voluntary movement like blinking of eyes and movement of the wrists
    • Postural tremor- Occurs when maintaining a position against gravity
    • Isometric tremor– Occurs during a voluntary muscle contraction such as holding a dumbbell or a heavy book
    • Task-specific tremor– This type occurs only when performing specific tasks like speaking or writing
    • Intention tremor– Occurs when the limb is guided to move towards a specific body part and becomes worse when it gets closer to the target

Categories of Tremor

  • Essential Tremor- Also known as familial tremor, Essential tremor is a common movement disorder which is usually mild and may not progress. The tremor usually starts from one side of the body and slowly progresses to the other. Recent studies have connected Essential tremor with mild degeneration in the cerebellum.
  • Dystonic Tremor- Occurring irregularly, Dystonic tremor can be relieved by resting. This tremor usually occurs in people suffering from dystonia. This tremor can occur at any age.
  • Parkinsonian Tremor- Often stated as the first sign of Parkinson’s disease, Parkinsonian Tremor is a resting tremor and is common in people above the age of 60. It occurs when parts of the brain that control the movements are damaged.
  • Psychogenic Tremor- Also known as functional tremor, psychogenic tremor has no particular characteristic and can appear in any form of tremor. Psychogenic tremor usually starts abruptly and may affect all parts of the body in the long run.
  • Physiologic Tremor- A physiologic tremor is caused by a reaction to alcohol withdrawal, certain drugs, or medical conditions, such as an overactive thyroid gland or hypoglycaemia. It usually goes away after the cause of the tremor is eliminated.
  • Cerebellar Tremor- Controlling movement and balance of the body, the cerebellum is part of the hindbrain. A cerebellar tremor is usually caused when a tumour or any disease like multiple sclerosis damages the cerebellum. Furthermore, Cerebellar tremor can also be caused by alcoholism or overuse of any medication.
  • Orthostatic Tremor- An orthostatic tremor usually occurs in the legs. This is a swift, recurring muscle contraction that arises instantly after someone stands. There are no medical signs or symptoms of Orthostatic Tremor. The unsteadiness stops when the person sits, legs are lifted, or when they start taking steps.

Are there any treatment Options available?

  • Medication
  • Botox Injections
  • Brain Stimulation Surgery
  • Physical Therapy

We at Max Healthcare are proud to be labelled as the best neuro hospital in Delhi. We have an excellent panel of doctors with years of expertise in the neurology department. If you experience any of the signs and symptoms indicating any kind of tremors, immediately consult a specialist at any of our closest centres for immediate diagnosis and treatment of the condition. Remember, tremor is not life-threatening. However, it can over the time making it difficult to carry out daily tasks.