Tremors are involuntary, rhythmic movements that can happen alone or because of an underlying illness. Tremors occur when muscles start contracting and relaxing very quickly, many times. Sometimes they can be triggered by an illness affecting the nervous system, causing muscles to spasm.
A tremor can take many forms. Your head could be nodding. Your voice could be shaky. Your hands, arms or eyelids might dance uncontrollably. They might get worse when you’re under stress, or if you move that muscle. Some may target one side of the body as opposed to the other. They could be sporadic, temporary, or reoccurring after a certain period of time.
A “rest tremor” happens when a body part is at rest. When you move it, the tremors become less noticeable. An”intention tremor” happens when you move a body part. A”postural tremor” happens when you hold a body part in one position for a long time. Another type happens during a specific task, like using a pencil. Another group of tremors is caused by medications, anxiety, stress or fatigue.”Essential tremors” happen mostly in older adults and focus on the hands, head and voice. They last about two seconds and occur regularly during specific movements. The worse the tremor, the worse the hearing impairment.
There are many hidden causes. Popular drugs can trigger many types of tremor. The list of offenders is long, but you should check out the fine print of any prescription to see if it could be causing tremors. Several health problems can cause tremors. They include Parkinson’s disease, Wilson’s disease (too much copper in the body), epilepsy, hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone circulating), and mercury poisoning. Stress is a big hidden cause, sending nervous shocks to muscles. If not the cause, it will make any tremor worse. Stimulants such as caffeine make them considerably worse. If people are weaning themselves off smoking or drinking, they often experience shakiness, commonly in the hand. It is temporary.
Medications are the first line of treatment against tremors — but they should only be used if the tremor is making life difficult. There are ways to reduce tremor activity. Avoid coffee, soda pop and other sources of caffeine. Try relaxation techniques to dampen stress in your life, such as focused breathing and meditation. If it’s drug-related, speak to your doctor about what can be done. Some believe the alternative therapy called “biofeedback” is useful. With a therapist, you can slowly learn how to control bodily functions that most believe are out of your control.