Essential tremor is often confused with Parkinson’s disease, but it is a different and more common condition. About 5% of the population will develop essential tremor at some point in their lives. The most common sign is tremor when the person attempts an action, such as picking up a glass. At rest, the shaking is reduced. Often it becomes apparent at a fairly young age and in most cases, it does not impair function. Nonetheless, it can be distressing to people and can be a nuisance. It tends to run in families, but the cause is poorly understood.
Tremor is a very broad category--it is any unintentional, rhythmic muscle movement involving to-and-fro movements (oscillations) of one or more parts of the body. It can include small areas of the body such as the vocal cords. There are many causes--in fact, anyone will shake when subjected to extreme anxiety or fear, and an athlete’s muscles will tremble after a vigorous workout. These examples are not diseases but rather a normal physiological response to stress.
A wide range of metabolic disorders including thyroid disease and low blood sugar can produce tremor. Many prescription medications can cause tremor as a side effect, and if bothersome should be discussed with the prescribing doctor. Overuse or withdrawal of substances ranging from caffeine to alcohol or recreational drugs can cause tremor.
Tremor of neurological origin is generally not curable, although the symptoms may be controlled to an extent. Medications may be used to calm the tremors and allow the person to live a more normal life. Lifestyle modification, including special tools for writing or eating, will promote smooth control of movements. Botox® can be beneficial to some people. For severe, debilitating tremor, deep brain stimulation can sometimes reduce the symptoms.
We accept most major medical insurance plans. Here is a short-list of just some of the most popular plans we accept. Please contact our office and ask for Jody if you do not see your insurance provider listed.