What causes trembling and how to treat it?

Symptom Database

Trembling, also known as shakes or tremors, is a common phenomenon that can affect various parts of the body, including the hands, legs, and muscles. It can be a temporary occurrence or a chronic condition, and its causes can range from anxiety to underlying medical conditions. In this article, we will explore the different causes of trembling and discuss various treatment options available.

Trembling Causes

Trembling can be caused by a variety of factors, both physiological and psychological. Some of the common causes include:

  • Trembling Anxiety: Anxiety and stress can trigger trembling in individuals. When the body is under stress, it releases stress hormones that can lead to muscle tension and involuntary shaking.
  • Essential Tremor: Essential tremor is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary shaking, usually in the hands. It is often hereditary and can worsen with age.
  • Medication Side Effects: Certain medications, such as those used to treat asthma or psychiatric disorders, can cause trembling as a side effect.
  • Low Blood Sugar: When blood sugar levels drop significantly, it can result in trembling, especially in individuals with diabetes.
  • Thyroid Issues: An overactive thyroid gland can lead to trembling and muscle tremors.
  • Neurological Disorders: Conditions like Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis can cause trembling as a symptom.

Trembling Treatment

The treatment for trembling depends on the underlying cause. Here are some common approaches to managing and treating trembling:

Lifestyle Changes

In some cases, making certain lifestyle changes can help reduce trembling:

  • Reducing caffeine intake: Caffeine can exacerbate trembling, so cutting back on coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages may be beneficial.
  • Managing stress: Practicing stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies can help alleviate trembling caused by anxiety.
  • Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can help improve muscle control and reduce trembling.


If the trembling is severe or significantly impacts daily life, medication may be prescribed. Some common medications used to treat trembling include:

  • Beta-blockers: These medications can help reduce the severity of trembling by blocking the effects of adrenaline.
  • Anti-anxiety medications: In cases where trembling is primarily caused by anxiety, medications such as benzodiazepines may be prescribed to help manage symptoms.
  • Anticonvulsants: Certain anticonvulsant medications can be effective in reducing essential tremors.


Various therapies can also be beneficial in managing trembling:

  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy exercises can help improve muscle control and reduce trembling.
  • Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy focuses on improving fine motor skills and can be helpful for individuals with trembling hands.
  • Deep brain stimulation: In severe cases of essential tremor, deep brain stimulation may be recommended. This procedure involves implanting electrodes in the brain to regulate abnormal electrical signals.

Alternative Approaches

In addition to conventional treatments, some individuals find relief from trembling through alternative approaches:

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine practice, involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to promote balance and alleviate symptoms.
  • Herbal remedies: Certain herbs, such as valerian root or passionflower, are believed to have calming effects and may help reduce trembling caused by anxiety.
  • Yoga and meditation: Engaging in yoga and meditation practices can help improve overall well-being and reduce trembling associated with stress.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of alternative approaches may vary from person to person, and it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new treatments.

In conclusion, trembling can have various causes, ranging from anxiety to underlying medical conditions. The treatment options for trembling depend on the underlying cause and can include lifestyle changes, medication, therapies, and alternative approaches. If you are experiencing persistent or severe trembling, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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