Tremor of the hands, head, legs and fingers: causes and treatment

“The hamstrings shook”, “stretched with trembling hands”, “an old man with a shaking head”, “trembling like an aspen leaf …” – these literary cliches are often found in various works. What is this notorious tremor, what causes it, what threatens the one who manifests it?

Tremor, as it is called in medical terminology, is not a separate disease. It is rather a symptom of various problems in the precisely balanced system of the human body. The muscles of the arms, legs, eyelids, chin, and sometimes the entire body tremble, contracting and relaxing due to dysregulation of motor function.

What kind of tremor

There are various types, forms, categories of this symptom, depending on the place and causes of occurrence, the nature of the movements, the characteristics of the manifestation, and even the frequency of oscillatory movements.

The main types depending on the origin:

  • Physiological – at least once it occurs in everyone and everyone, more often in a situation of excitement, hypothermia, a surge of emotions, after heavy loads on the muscles.
  • Pathological – is a symptom of various diseases, poisoning, age-related changes, negative changes in that part of the nervous system that is responsible for muscle regulation.

Both of these types can occur both in motion and at rest, that is, when the muscles are not tense. In movement, the tremor can be postural (if you have to maintain a forced posture), contractile (with prolonged muscle contraction, for example, when clenching your fist), intentional (when trying to perform precise and subtle movements).

Most often, these terms are used and used by doctors, neurologists. An ordinary person who has experienced these unpleasant symptoms is most interested in the causes of tremor.

From what arises

Determining the cause of trembling in the muscles is very important for the appointment of effective treatment, if any. And the range of reasons is very wide:

  • hypothermia;
  • Experience strong emotions (fear, excitement, anger);
  • Various poisonings (alcohol, drugs, chemicals);
  • drug withdrawal;
  • Glycemic coma in diabetes mellitus;
  • Thyroid diseases;
  • Physical and nervous strain;
  • Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis;
  • The presence of a hereditary (essential) type of tremor, when the neck muscles involuntarily tremble at rest;
  • Various injuries and pathologies of the brain (tumors, abscesses, other degenerative changes);
  • Immaturity of nerve centers in newborns;
  • Increased hormonal levels in adolescents combined with stress and increased workload.


You should not make a diagnosis yourself, in any case, the last word always remains with the specialist. Most often, this is a neurologist who will refer you for an additional examination or consultation with a specialist of a different profile.

Symptoms and diagnosis of tremor

Muscle contractions of various parts of the body are visible to the naked eye, whether it is trembling of the hands or head, twitching of the eyelid. First of all, the doctor will pay attention to the place of occurrence, the severity and amplitude of movements, their symmetry, and analyze the accompanying symptoms.

So, with the pathology of the cerebellum, the movements are sweeping, occur during movement, during rest the state returns to normal, it is almost impossible to touch the tip of the nose with closed eyes. In Parkinson’s disease, the trembling of the extremities is very strong and frequent, aggravated over time.

In essential tremor, the head shakes in a yes-yes (up-down) or no-no (left-right) pattern. Manifestations intensify during stressful situations, experiences of strong emotions.

Senile tremor is expressed by mixed trembling of the hands, head, and physiological – by light and quickly passing movements of the fingers, eyelids, sometimes the head, arising from hypothermia, overwork and excessive excitement.

To diagnose hand tremor, you can use a technique such as drawing a spiral. If its coils are even, the patient’s condition is within the normal range, a line with jagged edges indicates the need for additional observation.

If there is not enough information to make a diagnosis, diagnostic methods such as specialized video filming or examination on an electromyograph can be carried out. For the most part, such an examination is carried out in specialized medical centers.

Why are my hands shaking

Hand tremor is the most common pathology. It can manifest itself starting from the neonatal period, when, with strong crying, the baby’s hands begin to tremble, which is due to the immaturity of the nervous system.

Often begins in adolescents during puberty. Treatment in this case is also not required, the pathology goes away on its own, only light sleeping pills can be used.

At a more mature age, tremor may occur during periods of emotional stress, excitement, or depression. In this case, medicine considers trembling limbs to be a manifestation of hysteria. You need to learn to control yourself, relieve nervous tension. With significant manifestations, you can not do without taking medications.


Head tremor

Trembling of the head is observed in half of the patients. This type of tremor necessarily requires a thorough medical examination, since it is almost never physiological, but is a symptom of quite serious diseases. Often in these patients, psychological problems also join all the others, so a psychologist’s consultation in such cases is also necessary.

An exception can only be a tremor of the eyelids, which occurs in practically healthy people, although it can also be a manifestation of neurosis.

Sometimes only facial muscles are subject to trembling, lips tremble when smiling and talking, and individual twitches are less common throughout the face.

All these symptoms are aggravated by emotional stress, hypothermia, any physical activity, after drinking coffee. Alcohol, on the contrary, first suppresses them, but increases the next day.

Finger tremor

At the words “shaking fingers” in most cases, an image of a person suffering from alcoholism arises in the imagination. Indeed, with withdrawal syndrome, tremor of spread fingers is one of its main signs, along with a shaking head and impaired coordination of movements.

However, a slight trembling of the fingers accompanies the consequences of an overdose of drugs, their toxic effects. Basically, these are drugs containing caffeine, as well as antidepressants, antipsychotics and neurostimulants.

Trembling fingers and faces …

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