What is an Essential Tremor?

Essential tremor is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary rhythmic shaking of the hands, head, voice, or other parts of the body. While essential tremor is generally not harmful, it can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and daily activities. Treatment options aim to manage the symptoms and improve the individual’s ability to function.

What are Some Essential Tremor Treatment Options?

Lifestyle Modifications:

  • Avoid Triggers: Identifying and avoiding triggers that worsen the tremors, such as caffeine or stress, can help manage symptoms.
  • Stress Management: Practicing stress-reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga may help control tremors.


  • Beta-Blockers: Medications like propranolol can help reduce the severity of essential tremor by affecting the way the nervous system responds to stress.
  • Anti-Seizure Medications: Drugs like primidone or gabapentin are sometimes used to control tremors. They work by affecting the activity of certain brain chemicals.

Botulinum Toxin (Botox) Injections:

  • Botox injections are used for focal hand tremors. The toxin temporarily paralyzes the muscles, reducing tremor symptoms. However, the effect is temporary and requires repeated injections.

Physical and Occupational Therapy:

  • Physical therapists can teach techniques to control tremors through specific exercises, postural adjustments, and coordination training.
  • Occupational therapists can help individuals adapt their daily tasks and routines to minimize the impact of tremors.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS):

  • DBS involves implanting electrodes in specific areas of the brain that control movement. These electrodes deliver electrical impulses to modulate abnormal brain activity and reduce tremors.
  • DBS is generally considered for severe cases of essential tremor that do not respond to other treatments.

Ultrasound Thalamotomy:

  • High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) can be used to create a lesion in the thalamus, a part of the brain involved in controlling movement. This can help alleviate tremors.

Medication Alternatives:

  • In cases where medications are not effective or have intolerable side effects, other drugs or combinations may be explored under the guidance of a neurologist.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • A healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a balanced diet, can help manage tremor symptoms.

Support Groups:

  • Connecting with others who have essential tremor can provide emotional support and practical tips for managing daily challenges.

Patient-Specific Approach:

  • The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the tremor, the individual’s overall health, and their response to previous treatments.

It’s important for individuals with essential tremor to work closely with a neurologist or movement disorder specialist to determine the most appropriate treatment plan. Each person’s situation is unique, and treatment options should be tailored to their specific needs and goals.