Benign Essential Tremor
(Essential Tremor; Familial Tremor)
- Postural tremor—shaking in certain positions only, such as with arms outstretched
- Kinetic or action tremor—shaking that gets worse during activities, such as eating or shaving
|The Nervous System|
|Benign essential tremor occur when faulty nerve cells (or circuits) in the brain send abnormal signals to muscles.|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Tremor that occurs when standing or moving the limbs, but not usually at rest
- Uncontrollable, rhythmic, up-and-down movement
- Shaking in hands, arms, head, voice, trunk, legs, or feet on both sides
- Shaking only in certain positions or during activity
- Trouble with fine motor skills, such as drawing, sewing, or playing an instrument
- Shaking that gets worse from caffeine, stress, fatigue, or heat
- Hearing loss (Some cases are associated with hearing loss.)
- Problems with social, functional, or job-related abilities (More severe cases interfere with these abilities.)
- Staying well-rested
- Avoiding caffeine
- Avoiding stimulants often found in over-the-counter medications, like cold remedies
- Avoiding temperature extremes
- Beta-blocker, such as propranolol (a blood pressure medication)
- Anti-seizure medications, such as primidone (eg, Mysoline), gabapentin (eg, Neurontin), topiramate (eg, Topamax), zonisamide (Zonegran)
- Sedatives (benzodiazepines)
- Olanzapine (antipsychotic drug)
- Botulinum injections (used in rare situations)
- Deep brain stimulation (DBS)—sends painless electrical pulses to the brain, interrupting faulty signals.
- Thalamotomy—destroys a tiny part of the brain generating the tremors (less commonly performed than DBS)
International Essential Tremor Foundation http://essentialtremor.org/
WE MOVE http://www.wemove.org/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Parkinson Society Canada http://www.parkinson.ca/
Essential tremor. International Radiosurgery Support Association website. Available at: http://www.irsa.org/essential%5Ftremor.html . Accessed November 12, 2012.
Jankovic J, Shannon KM. Movement disorders. In: Bradley WG, ed. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier; 2008.
Lorenz D, Deuschl G. Update on pathogenesis and treatment of essential tremor. Current Opinions in Neurology . 2007;20:447-452.
Sadeghi R, Ondo WG. Pharmacological management of essential tremor. Drugs. 2010:70(17):2215-28.
Smaga S. Tremor. Am Fam Physician . 2003 Oct 15;68(8):1545-1552. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/1015/p1545.html.
What is essential tremor? Who gets ET? International Essential Tremor Foundation website. Available at: http://essentialtremor.org/About-ET . Accessed November 12, 2012.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 11/2012 -
- Update Date: 11/12/2012 -