Experiencing tremors can be terrifying for anyone. Tremors are uncontrollable rhythmic movements in a part of a person’s body. People can experience them in any part of the body including their arms, legs, neck, head and torso. They are usually the result of a problem in the part of the brain that controls muscular movement. This lack of control can make the simplest daily tasks harder to do, or even impossible.

Tremors are not always considered a serious medical issue and can often go away on their own. However, in some cases, they can indicate a serious disorder. It’s important to see a doctor to assess the cause of the tremors and make sure it isn’t anything serious.


People often mistake muscle spasms and muscle twitches for tremors and stress out more than they need to. A muscle spasm is an involuntary contraction of a muscle. A muscle twitch is a fine pulsing movement of a small portion of a muscle. Neither spasms nor twitches result in the visible shaking people see when experiencing tremors.

A patient receives treatment for Dystonia at Broadview Spine and Health Centre


patient has movement disorder meets with doctor


In addition to the type, tremors are also categorized by their appearance and cause.

Essential Tremors

Essential tremors are the most common type of movement disorder.

Usually, essential tremors have a postural or intentional type. An essential tremor may be mild and not progress. If it does progress, it will often start on one side of the body and slowly progress over a few years to affect both sides of the body.

Recent studies have shown that essential tremors are linked to mild degeneration in the cerebellum. This is the part of the brain that controls motor movement. Essential tremors are sometimes associated with:

  • Mild walking difficulty
  • Hearing disability

Parkinsonian Tremor

This category of tremor is usually a resting tremor, and known to be the first sign of Parkinson’s disease. It is caused by damage to parts of the brain that control movement, either by trauma or degeneration. The onset of Parkinsonian tremors begins in one limb or one side of the body and progresses to the other side over time. These tremors are usually found in people over the age of 60.

Dystonic Tremor

A Dystonic tremor occurs due to the involuntary muscle contractions in people who have been diagnosed with dystonia. They happen irregularly and can be relieved by complete rest.

man with cane has multiple sclerosis


Tremors fall into two main types: resting and action.

Resting tremors occur when a person is sitting still or lying down.  When the person begins to move, they will notice the tremor goes away. They are most commonly found to affect the hands or fingers.

Action tremors occur when a person moves the affected body part. They are divided into five different subcategories:

  • Intentional: Occurs during a targeted movement such as touching the nose with a finger.
  • Postural: Occurs when holding a position against gravity like holding up an arm or a leg.
  • Task-Specific: Occurs during a specific activity such as writing or typing.
  • Kinetic: Occurs during movement of a body part such as bending over or lifting a leg to walk.
  • Isometric: Occurs during voluntary contraction of a muscle without other movement of the muscle.
multiple sclerosis patient woman with cane

Cerebellar Tremor

As previously mentioned, the cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls motor movement. Cerebellar tremors are intentional tremors caused by lesions or damage to the cerebellum from:

  • A stroke
  • Tumor
  • A disease, such as Multiple Sclerosis
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Overuse of certain medications

Psychogenic Tremor

Psychogenic tremors can present themselves as a resting tremor or any type of action tremor. They are characterized by:

  • Sudden onset and remission
  • Changes in direction of the tremor and affected body part
  • Greatly reduced tremor movement when distracted

People who experience psychogenic tremors often have conversion disorder or another psychiatric disease that produces physical symptoms.

Orthostatic Tremor

Orthostatic tremors generally occur in the legs immediately after standing up. They are often perceived as general unsteadiness which stops when a person sits, is lifted up, or starts walking.

Physiologic Tremor

Physiologic tremors are often caused by a reaction to:

  • Certain drugs
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Medical conditions such as hypoglycemia, electrolyte imbalance or an overactive thyroid gland.

These tremors will usually go away if the cause is eliminated.


Tremors can be caused by a number of different things including:

  • Prescription medications
  • Medical conditions
  • Injuries
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Stress
  • Ageing
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Too much caffeine

Medical conditions which are the most common causes tremors are:

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alcoholism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Diabetic Hypoglycemia


Treatment of tremors involved treating the underlying cause. The experienced team at Broadview Health Centre can provide specialized treatments including:

  • Vision Therapy
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation
  • Transcranial Vagus Nerve Stimulation
  • Mirror Therapy
  • Nutrition Recommendations

You can trust us to work with your doctor to provide the best treatment solutions possible to help relieve your tremors and get you back to living a normal life!

A man with Dystonia suffers from a painful hand cramp