Health Encyclopedia

Tremor

Tremor

A tremor is an involuntary, repetitive, rhythmic shaking or twitching movement. Tremors usually affect the hands and head, but may occasionally occur in the feet or torso.

Essential tremor, which sometimes runs in families, is one of the most common types of tremors. It causes shaking that is most noticeable when the person is doing something like lifting a cup or pointing at an object. The tremor may also affect the person's voice. The shaking caused by essential tremor only occurs when a person moves. Medication can help reduce the shaking.

Tremors can also be caused by caffeine and conditions or medications that affect the nervous system, including:

  • Parkinson's disease.
  • Liver failure.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Drug and alcohol withdrawal.
  • Mercury or arsenic poisoning.
  • Medications such as lithium, drugs taken for arrhythmias and high blood pressure, tricyclic antidepressants, and theophylline.

Last Revised: December 5, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & G. Frederick Wooten, MD - Neurology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.