Hand Tremors – Not Always Parkinson’s Disease

Try holding a piece of paper with your hand extended out in front of your body for a short time and you’ll likely see a slight tremble of the hand. This is totally normal and goes largely unnoticed. It’s caused by the motions of your body processes — your heart beating and your chest moving as you breathe — which have a kind of ripple effect on muscles all over your body.

However, with age, tremors of the hands and other areas of the body can become more noticeable, and can even begin to affect normal actions such as handwriting, holding a cup, eating with utensils or even speaking.

This may be annoying or embarrassing — or lead to fear that you may have a disease such as Parkinson’s. For some, tremors worsen, making it increasingly difficult to perform day-to-day tasks.

Tremors can take many forms and have many causes. Most tremors can’t be cured, but treatment strategies can help most who have tremors regain a measure of control and confidence, thus making it easier to enjoy life and
maintain independence.

Different tremors

Tremor is indeed one sign of Parkinson’s disease, but most tremors occur for other reasons. The diagnosis relating to the various types of tremor can be difficult without a thorough medical exam.

The typical characteristics of tremor types include:

  • Essential tremor
  • Parkinsonian tremor
  • Physiologic tremor
  • Tremor related to brain injury or disease
  • Dystonic tremor
  • Orthostatic tremor