What causes tremors and how can I treat them?

Symptom Database

Tremors are involuntary, rhythmic movements of a part of the body. They can range from mild to severe and can affect various body parts, including the hands, arms, legs, head, or voice. Tremors can be caused by a variety of factors, and understanding the underlying causes is crucial for effective treatment. In this article, we will explore the causes of tremors and discuss potential treatment options.

Understanding Tremors

Tremors are often compared to earthquakes or seismic activity due to their similarity in nature. Just like an earthquake causes the ground to shake, tremors cause parts of the body to shake or vibrate. These ground vibrations, in the case of tremors, are a result of involuntary muscle contractions.

Causes of Tremors

Neurological Disorders

One of the primary causes of tremors is neurological disorders. Conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, multiple sclerosis, and stroke can all lead to tremors. These disorders affect the brain’s ability to control muscle movements, resulting in involuntary shaking.


Some medications can also cause tremors as a side effect. Drugs used to treat asthma, epilepsy, and certain psychiatric conditions have been known to induce tremors in some individuals. If you suspect that your medication is causing tremors, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider for alternative options.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can exacerbate tremors or even trigger them in some cases. When we are under stress, our body releases stress hormones that can affect our muscle control. This can lead to tremors, particularly in individuals who are already prone to them.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal can cause a range of symptoms, including tremors. When individuals who are dependent on alcohol suddenly stop drinking, their body goes through withdrawal, which can manifest as tremors. These tremors are often referred to as “the shakes” and can be a sign of alcohol addiction.

Treatment Options


If tremors are caused by an underlying medical condition, such as Parkinson’s disease, medication may be prescribed to manage the symptoms. Medications like beta-blockers, antiseizure drugs, and botulinum toxin injections have shown effectiveness in reducing tremors in some cases.

Lifestyle Changes

For individuals with essential tremor or tremors caused by stress, making certain lifestyle changes can help alleviate symptoms. These changes may include reducing caffeine intake, practicing stress management techniques such as meditation or yoga, and getting regular exercise.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be beneficial for individuals with tremors, especially those caused by neurological disorders. Therapists can teach exercises and techniques to improve muscle control and reduce the severity of tremors. Additionally, occupational therapy can help individuals adapt to daily activities and improve their quality of life.

Surgical Interventions

In severe cases where tremors significantly impact daily functioning, surgical interventions may be considered. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a procedure that involves implanting electrodes in specific areas of the brain to regulate abnormal electrical signals that cause tremors. This treatment option is typically reserved for individuals who have not responded well to medication or other therapies.


Tremors can be a challenging condition to live with, but understanding the underlying causes and available treatment options can provide hope and relief. Whether tremors are caused by neurological disorders, medication side effects, stress, or alcohol withdrawal, there are various approaches to managing and reducing their impact. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific situation. Remember, you are not alone, and there are resources available to support you on your journey towards managing tremors.

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