A tremor is an involuntary and uncontrollable rhythmic muscle contraction in one or more parts of your body. The tremors can happen at any time. This disturbance is related to the part of the brain which is responsible for muscle movement. In some cases, tremors can lead to serious disorders. While it is not easy to treat someone with a tremor, it is possible. Sometimes, tremors will go away on their own, and other times medications and other treatment options can be used to reduce them. It is important to note that muscle twitches, muscle spasms, and tremors are unique, and should not be thought of as the same thing. A muscle twitch can be described as an uncontrolled movement in a portion of a large muscle, and it is usually visible under the skin. A muscle spasm is the uncontrolled contraction of a muscle.
What are the types of tremors?
There are two types of tremors, action and resting:
Action tremors occur when the affected body part moves while resting. This type of tremor is common when you are lying down or sitting still. Generally, It goes away once you start moving around. The hands and fingers are most often affected by resting tremors.
Action tremors are divided into subcategories:
- Intention tremors that happen during targeted movement, such as touching your nose with your finger
- Task-specific tremors which occur during certain activities, like writing
- Isometric tremors occur when a muscle is not moving, but there is a voluntary contraction in that muscle
- Postural tremors that occur when you are positioning yourself against gravity, such as stretching your arms or legs
- Kinetic tremors that happen when movement is focused on one body part, such as moving your wrist up and down
Categories of Tremors:
Tremors can be classified by type, and also by their appearance and cause:
Essential tremor is one of the most common types of movement disorders. Essential tremors generally present as intention or postural tremors. Essential tremors may slowly progress or stay the same. In cases when the essential tremor progresses, it usually starts on one side and spreads to the other side within a few years. Recent studies have shown a connection between essential tremors and mild degeneration in the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain responsible for controlling movement.
Essential tremors are sometimes related to:
- Mild walking difficulties.
- Hearing disabilities.
Dystonic tremor usually occurs irregularly. A dystonic tremor is common in people suffering from dystonia, which is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary muscle contractions. One easy way to reduce this type of tremor is to ensure that you are getting a good night’s rest. These muscle contractions can cause abnormal posture due to the repetitive twisting motions of the head and neck. These symptoms can happen to anyone at any age.
Tremors are one of the first signs of Parkinson’s disease. This type of tremor is usually a resting tremor, caused by damage to parts of the brain that control movement. It usually starts after the age of 60 and begins on one side of the body or one limb, then it progresses to the other side.
The cerebellum is a part of the hindbrain and plays a role in controlling movement and balance. A subtype of intention tremor is called a cerebellar tremor. This tremor is caused by damage or lesions to the cerebellum from:
- A stroke
- Diseases like multiple sclerosis
It can also be the result of overuse of certain medications, or chronic alcoholism.
Psychogenic tremors can be in the form of any tremor type.
Its characteristics include:
- Sudden remission or onset
- Decreased activity when distracted
- Changes in the affected body part and the direction of your tremor
This tremor is often a reaction to:
- Withdrawal of alcohol
- Certain types of drugs
- Certain medical conditions, such as electrolyte imbalance, hypoglycemia, or hyperthyroidism
An orthostatic tremor is a rapid, rhythmic muscle contraction that usually occurs in the legs immediately after standing. The word, “unsteadiness” often describes this tremor. There are no other signs for it and it generally stops when you:
- Start walking
- Are lifted
A variety of things can cause tremors including:
- Prescription medications
The most common causes of tremors are:
- Low blood sugar levels
- Muscle fatigue
Tremors caused by medical conditions include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
Medications prescribed by doctors to treat tremors may include:
- Tranquilizers, such as Xanax
- Anti-seizure medications, which are prescribed for people who cannot take beta-blockers
Physical therapy helps in strengthening the muscle and improving coordination.
This could be the only option for those with debilitating tremors. During surgery, the surgeon inserts an electrical probe into the area of the brain responsible for the tremors.
Once the probe is in place, a wire feeds from the probe into your chest, under your skin. The surgeon places a small device in your chest and attaches the wire to it. This device sends pulses to the probe to stop the brain from producing tremors.
Diagnosing a tremor early can be extremely beneficial when assessing the quality of potential treatments. There are treatments other than drugs that can have an effective role in reducing tremors. The Steadi-One glove can be your solution. This glove uses a smart fluid that stiffens and works together with a counterweight that moves in the opposite direction to your tremor. It uses cutting-edge technology to reduce your tremors. With that in mind, you can stay hopeful that there is always something out there that will help you!