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Essential Tremor: Symptoms and Causes

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

The human body is a unique mechanism. Our bodies can:

  • Adapt to extreme conditions.
  • Live without food.
  • Heal itself from certain diseases.

But even the most stable ones can sometimes fail. To avoid negative consequences, pay attention to your body’s signals.

One of the diseases that a person cannot cope with on their own is essential tremor. It is a neurological disorder that affects many people. While ET can be bothersome, it does not typically cause serious health issues. But it can still be disruptive and difficult to live with on a daily basis.

Let’s take a closer look at it, including its symptoms and causes of essential tremor. After reading our guide, you will be able to distinguish the disease. And also, you will be able to understand the basic principles of the occurrence of this disease. Thereby, you will be able to carry out prevention.

What Is an Essential Tremor?

An ET is a state of nervous excitement. It manifests through the inability to control one’s movement.

One way to deal with it is to get psychological help, such as working with a psychologist.

It may also be helpful to lead a healthy lifestyle. It should include regular exercise, sleep education, proper nutrition, and self-care. Learning to manage your emotions can also be helpful, such as through:

  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Meditation.
  • Deep breathing.

Hands and head shaking syndrome is a severe condition. It can affect a person’s quality of life and social integration. Thus, it is important to seek help if you or someone close to you is experiencing an essential tremor. With the proper treatment and support, one can manage this condition. And even returning to a healthy and happy lifestyle is possible.

Essential Tremor Symptoms

essential tremor symptoms

ET can cause a wide range of physical symptoms:

  • Some common signs of essential tremor include shaking hands or arms and trembling. It happens when trying to reach for an object with your hands. 
  • Also, a common symptom is trouble speaking clearly and writing. It’s due to vocal tremors and difficulty writing due to hand tremors.
  • Additionally, shaking syndrome can affect other parts of the body, such as the head and legs. This can cause involuntary head nodding or jerking motions in your legs. It can interfere with walking or standing still.

Always pay attention to the symptoms. Timely detected signs of the disease can help you get help or provide it to your loved ones on time.

Causes of Essential Tremor 

ET is a neurological disorder. It causes uncontrollable shaking, usually in the hands and arms. While the cause of ET is still unknown, there are potential triggers. Let’s take a look at what can cause essential tremor.


Essential tremor appears to run in families. Doctors suggest that genetics may often play a role. It has been estimated that up to 70% of cases are hereditary. If you have a family history of ET, talk to your doctor about your risk of developing it.

Certain medications

In some cases, essential tremors can be caused or worsened by medications. Stimulants like caffeine or nicotine can trigger or worsen tremors, and some antidepressants and cold medicines do the same. Herbs and supplements such as ephedra and ginseng have also led to tremors in some people. It’s important to talk with your doctor if you think a medication you’re taking might be causing your tremors.

Neurodegenerative diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease can cause ET. Other movement disorders, including dystonia and chorea, can lead to ET. Talking with your doctor about any symptoms you may be experiencing is important. It will help to rule out these types of diseases as possible causes for your tremors.

Stress and fatigue

Stress and fatigue are two common triggers for essential tremors disorder. It’s because they put extra strain on the body. And it exacerbates existing symptoms or even causes new ones to manifest themselves. 

To reduce stress, try engaging in activities such as yoga or meditation. It will help you relax and unwind after a busy day. Making sure you get enough restful sleep each night is also key to managing stress levels. It also prevents further episodes of trembling or shaking due to fatigue-related issues. 

As you can see, many triggers cause this disease to appear. To make effective prevention, be sure to consider the above factors. In this case, you will significantly reduce the chance of the onset of the disease.

Risk Factors of Essential Tremor

woman with essential tremor in hand

There is no known cure for ET. But understanding the risk factors helps patients develop an effective treatment plan. Let’s look at the risk factors of ET:

  • Age-Related Risk Factors. Age is a factor when it comes to ET. The disorder typically begins between 40 and 60 years of age and worsens as you get older. The risk of developing essential tremor disorder increases with age. But younger people can also experience symptoms. In rare cases, children are even diagnosed with ET.
  • Gender-Related Risks. Women appear to be at higher risk for developing ET than men. Studies suggest that more women than men are affected by this disorder. However, researchers do not know why this is the case. 
  • Genetic Risk Factors. Studies have shown that ET tends to run in families. And it can be passed down from one generation to the next through a genetic mutation. This suggests that genetics plays a role in who develops this disorder and who does not. But scientists are still researching exactly which genes may be responsible for this.  

Bottom Line 

As you can see, essential tremor disorder is a severe condition that can harm your health. It is worth noting that without proper diagnosis and analysis of symptoms, the disease can aggravate a person’s condition and lead to bad consequences. That is why it is crucial to check the symptoms and analyze them. It is also essential to consult a doctor on time for help.

The specialist will be able to make the correct diagnosis. And they will prescribe the appropriate treatment and medical procedures for you. And only in this case can you significantly improve your condition and get better.


  • Why do my hands shake when I hold something?

This symptom is potentially indicative of an essential tremor. People with essential tremor often experience tremors in their hands or arms. It happens when they attempt to perform activities such as writing or drinking from a cup.

  • What can be mistaken for an essential tremor?

Essential tremor may be confused with Parkinson’s disease. PD also causes involuntary movements. Other conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, hyperthyroidism, and sclerosis can display similar symptoms. If you suspect you have an essential tremor, speak with your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis.

  • Is essential tremor a serious condition?

Essential tremor itself is not life-threatening. But the effects of this disorder can be very disruptive to one’s daily activities. In some cases, essential tremor interferes with the ability to work or have a normal life.

  • Does anxiety cause essential tremor?

No, anxiety is not a direct cause of essential tremor. But stress and emotional upheaval may exacerbate symptoms of ET in some individuals.

  • What are the best essential tremor’s treatments?

For this, you can include: 

  1. Physical therapy. Exercise and stretching help improve muscle control. 
  2. Occupational therapy. ET patients learn techniques for doing everyday tasks.
  3. Deep brain stimulation involves implanting electrodes in the brain. It delivers electrical stimulation to specific areas. 
  4. Lifestyle changes. Reducing caffeine intake and avoiding stressful situations also help.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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