Learn about tremors and what to do for them
March is National Essential Tremor Awareness Month, a time to educate the public about this common condition and grow support for people affected by it. This year is the 13th anniversary of this designated month, designed to raise awareness and hope for those with essential tremor (ET).
Let’s learn more about ET, the social impacts of having this disorder, and ways to cope with the condition.
What is essential tremor (ET)?
Essential tremor is one of the most common movement-related disorders, affecting an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. alone. It is a neurological movement disorder that causes unintentional and rhythmic shaking of one or more parts of the body. The trembling occurs most often in the hands but can affect the head, voice, legs or trunk.
ET isn’t life-threatening, but it can be life-altering and even debilitating. Awareness of the condition helps people get diagnosed more quickly so they can learn to manage their symptoms. Records show that as high as 80% of people with E.T. have mild symptoms and have not consulted their doctor about it yet.
Signs and symptoms of essential tremor
Symptoms of ET may be especially noticeable when doing simple daily activities like eating, holding a drinking glass or tying your shoes.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Involuntary movement, often tremor occurs on one side of the body
- Begins gradually
- Gets worse with movement
- Often begins as hand tremors
- May include head shaking or nodding
- Worsened by fatigue, stress and stimulants like caffeine
Who is affected by essential tremor?
This condition primarily affects older adults. People over age 40 are the most common age group affected, with a median age for onset of 45. Research indicates 4-5% of people ages 40 to 60 have ET. After age 60, the incidence rate may be as high as 9%.
Research shows that about half of all cases are related to altered DNA, called familial tremor. People with this altered DNA have a 50% chance of developing the condition themselves. Doctors aren’t sure what causes symptoms in the other half of those affected.
How to cope with essential tremor
This condition isn’t usually dangerous, but it often gets worse over time. Daily activities can become difficult, such as drinking from a cup, eating, personal hygiene, talking and writing clearly.
People with ET may feel embarrassed to go out in public because they can’t control their body movements. The resulting isolation can lead to depression.
These unintended movements can be troubling and scary to experience, but it is helpful to have accurate information about the condition and find support. Health care professionals may be able to connect patients with support groups focused on ET. Relaxation techniques are also helpful in managing ET symptoms.
The International Essential Tremor Foundation is a non-profit organization made up of health care professionals, educators, patients and other volunteers that seeks to help people with this disorder and raise awareness among the public. Their website, essesntialtremor.org, includes many additional resources.
Treatment for tremors
There isn’t a cure for ET that prevents the progression of the condition, but there are treatment options and natural remedies that can help. Medications can help calm certain types of tremors, including ET, in some people. Unfortunately, temporary side effects can result. Advanced cases of ET may benefit from deep brain stimulation (DBS) or surgical treatment.
People looking for a safe, natural alternative to anti-tremor medication have options. Homeopathic and herbal medicines are popular natural tremor remedies to soothe the unwanted motions without the risk of side effects from pharmaceutical drugs. The ingredients are all natural, with no chemicals or artificial additives.
Here are some of the most popular remedies to reduce tremors. Best of all, they are 100% natural and safe for adults and children.
- TremorSooth™ is a homeopathic medicine for symptoms of occasional unintended movements. It helps control shaking and spasms, relieves occasional twitches, promotes a calm nervous system and supports muscle relaxation.
- Stress Away Anxiety Relief Oral Spray is a homeopathic formula to temporarily relieve minor anxiousness and nervousness, which can help calm involuntary movements.
- Other Native Remedies® Stress & Anxiety formulas can help support nervous system function and calm, supporting feelings of well-being.
How are tremors different than tics?
Tremors are different than tics. Unlike tremors, tics are sudden, uncontrollable movements, twitches or sounds that may be repetitive. Tic disorder can cause repetitive eye blinking, jerky movements, shoulder shrugging, head turning and other motions. Children are more likely to have tics than adults.
While tics can be a symptom of a serious medical condition like Tourette’s syndrome, usually they are caused by a passing (transient) tic disorder that resolves over time.
Most children with a passing tic disorder do not need medical treatment, although medications for tics can be prescribed if necessary, including beta blockers (blood pressure medication). Parents looking for natural solutions for a child’s tic disorder can choose homeopathic remedies for tics, with no risk of side effects.
Tic Tamer™ is a natural medicine for symptoms of vocal, physical and nervous tics in children and adults. This homeopathic formula helps reduce occasional sudden involuntary actions such as motor and verbal tics.
The Tic Calm ComboPack bundles Tic Tamer™ with Triple Complex Calm Tonic™, homeopathic liquid drops for symptoms of stress, worry and nervous tension.
How is essential tremor different than Parkinson’s disease?
ET and Parkinson’s disease may seem similar but are different in several ways:
- Body parts affected. Parkinson’s disease tremors typically begin in the hands and can affect other parts of the body like legs and head. ET has a much lower occurrence in other parts of the body beyond the hands.
- Other symptoms. Parkinson’s disease may cause symptoms not associated with ET, such as dragging the feet, stooped posture and difficult or slow movement.
- Occurrence of resting tremors. Parkinsonian tremors worsen when hands are at rest. ET usually happens while using the hands.
ET is actually eight times more common than Parkinson’s disease, although it is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease.
Unintended movements can be frustrating and scary for people with essential tremor, but with the right support patients can learn to manage ET and live a full, enjoyable life. March is the perfect time to raise public awareness about this common but misunderstood condition.
- “National Essential Tremor Awareness Month – March 2023.” National Today. Accessed February 23, 2023. https://nationaltoday.com/national-essential-tremor-awareness-month/
- Iannelli, V. “Learn About Tremors and Tics in Children.” Verywellhealth. Accessed February 23, 2023. https://www.verywellhealth.com/tremors-and-shakes-2634578
- “Essential Tremor.” Mayo Clinic. Accessed February 23, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/essential-tremor/symptoms-causes/syc-20350534
- Petrossian, M. “A Month for Essential Tremor.” Pacific Neuroscience institute. Accessed February 23, 2023. https://www.pacificneuroscienceinstitute.org/blog/movement-disorders/month-essential-tremor/
- “March is National Essential Tremor Month.” International Essential Tremor Foundation. Accessed February 23, 2023. https://essentialtremor.org/march-is-national-essential-tremor-awareness-month/