Have you ever noticed a tremor or shake to your hands when holding an object or reaching for an item?
When this happens, the mind tends to immediately go to the worst-case scenario: signs of a serious neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s disease. While this can be one cause of shaky hands, in most cases, it is actually the result of an external factor.
Because shaking hands can be a concern for many aging adults, we will take a close look at what causes shaky hands and possible treatments to slow down or stop the hand tremors.
What Causes Hands to Shake?
A bad case of unsteady hands can leave you wondering, “Why do my hands shake?” There are various internal and external factors to consider. You may find that your hands are unstable in specific situations or at certain times of the day. These episodes of trembling hands are not caused by a neurological condition but perhaps by a response.
Certain prescribed medications that are intended to block dopamine production can cause shaky hands. These types of medication are typically used to control mood swings.
2. B12 Deficiency
Our nervous system and brain function depends on adequate amounts of vitamin B12. A deficiency can result in shaky hands. This can be remedied with the consumption of fish, poultry, lean meat, milk, and eggs.
We all face some form of stress in our lives on a daily basis. Whether it is stress from our finances, job, or family, it can hugely affect our physical, emotional, and mental health. A physiologic tremor can result from these issues as our mood fluctuates during depression, anger, hunger, and even when we lack sleep.
4. Low Blood Sugar
You may experience shaky hands when your blood sugar dips below normal levels, resulting in hypoglycemia. Tremors occur from your body’s stress response.
If you have an overactive thyroid gland, you may develop tremors in hands as your body responds. You may also have a rapid heartbeat and sleeping issues.
6. Nerve Damage
The tremors may be directly linked to an injury or damage to a nerve within the central nervous system. This is known as peripheral neuropathy.
If these situations or events do not apply to your shaking hands, it may be related to an underlying nervous condition. We have the most common one outlined below.
7. Essential Tremor
This is the most common shaky hands causes when it comes to the nervous system. The tremor may start in the hands and spread to other body parts such as the arms, head, and even result in a shaky voice. This type of jerk tremor movement occurs while your hands are shaking. Origins of essential tremors include a gene mutation, environmental toxins, and aging as it is often seen in those over the age of 40.
Essential tremors are not a serious concern, but the condition can get progressively worse over time. Simple daily tasks such as writing, handling objects, and even eating can become difficult. Triggers for such tremors include caffeine, fatigue, and stress. Treatment may include medications to slow down the tremors or surgery. A surgical procedure would have an electronic device attached to the brain to control the tremors.
8. Parkinson’s Disease
A small hand tremor or shake can be an early indicator of Parkinson’s disease. The condition affects more than 10 million people; however, shaky hands may not be an issue for every patient. Any tremor usually is unilateral and can spread to other side as time goes on. It is present when the body is at rest or relaxed. This resting tremor will cease upon movement and may intensity with internal excitement or stress. Shaky hands symptoms are often accompanied by slow movement with shuffling and a possible stooped posture.
9. Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis disease causes hands to shake as it directly affects the central nervous system. The immune system destroys the nerves’ protective sheath, interrupting brain communication. Essential tremors are present as well as other forms of tremors. You may also notice slurred speech.
10. Alcohol Withdrawal
Those suffering with an addiction to alcohol may experience hand tremors as one of the symptoms of withdrawal. This can happen whether the person is a long-time drinker or drinks alcohol excessively on certain occasions.
Treatment for Shaky Hands
Most tremors cannot be stopped or cured on their own as they are usually a symptom of the underlying disease or disorder. Depending on the intensity of the shaking hands, there may be treatment to slow down episodes. Medical treatments may be recommended by your physician if the tremors are interfering with daily tasks.
Some of the medications that may be prescribed include beta blockers, anti-seizure, tranquilizers, and even Botox injections.
The tremors may be controlled with the help of exercises through physical or occupational therapy. These professionals can help teach you to strengthen and control muscles as well as introduce devices to assist with everyday activities.
One of the common surgical procedures used for severe hand tremor cases is referred to as deep brain stimulation. A device implanted into the brain is connected to a neurostimulator implanted in the chest. This can help to block stimulus causing tremors.
Depending on the severity, intensity, and your wishes, there are lifestyle changes and physical home remedies that may help slow or stop tremors.
- Substitute fragile household items like glasses and utensils for heavier varieties, which will be easier to grip.
- Wear weights on wrists to control extremely shaky hands.
- Use devices intended to grasp and hold objects better.
- Avoid triggers such as caffeine beverages and food such as chocolate.
- Limit or avoid alcohol use.
- Relieve stress and anxiety by avoiding stressful situations or performing relaxation techniques.
- Limit prolong use of hands and wrists.
- Get involved with local support groups to gain the mental and emotional support needed when living with a life-changing condition.
Shaky hands can suddenly occur while holding a heavy object or after a prolonged period of not eating. These tremors can happen more often with various diseases or disorders, and as a result of an external trigger. The shaking of hands may be accompanied by other symptoms depending on the cause and can progressively worsen over time. Most tremors cannot be completely stopped without medical intervention; however, there are lifestyle changes and home remedies that may help reduce the intensity and frequency of shaky hands.
“Shaking Hands: What Are My Treatment Options?” Healthline; http://www.healthline.com/health/treating-shaking-hands#causes1, last accessed June 13, 2017.