Finding steady answers to trembling uncertainties

Q: Lately, I’ve been experiencing hand tremors and it’s been quite puzzling for me. Would you have any insights?

A: Hand tremors can be a concerning and disruptive condition, causing uncontrollable shaking or trembling in one or both hands. While a slight tremor is normal, an excessive and persistent tremor can significantly impact activities of daily living. Let’s explore a few causes, treatment, and management of hand tremors, for you and other individuals seeking relief from this condition.

Understanding normal tremors

In many cases, a slight tremor in the hands is considered normal. For instance, when you hold your hands or arms out in front of you, they may not remain completely still. However, certain factors can exacerbate these tremors, making them more noticeable. These factors include aging, stress, fatigue, anxiety, anger, excessive caffeine consumption, smoking, and extreme temperatures. Additionally, certain medications and medical conditions can also contribute to hand tremors. It is crucial, however, to confer with your provider before discontinuing any prescribed medication.

When to seek medical attention

While slight tremors are common and generally do not require treatment, there are instances when medical attention is necessary. It is advisable to consult with a health professional if:

you have balance impairment

your tremor is worsening over time

your tremor is significantly impacting daily activities.

By seeking medical advice, you can ensure that your tremor is not a symptom of an underlying condition and explore potential treatment options.

Determining the cause

When seeing a provider regarding hand tremors, a thorough examination will be conducted in addition to an inquiry about various aspects of your health. The practitioner may ask about your symptoms, medication intake, and your family’s medical history, as some types of tremors have a hereditary component. This assessment aims to identify the potential causes of your tremors and rules out any underlying conditions.

Non-treatment for mild tremors

In cases where the tremor is mild and not caused by a serious medical condition, treatment may not be necessary. Some people find relief through alternative therapies like acupuncture or yoga, while others have discovered nutritional deficiencies causing their symptoms.

Your healthcare professional may choose to monitor the tremor to ensure it does not worsen over time. However, if the tremor persists or becomes more severe, further investigations may be required, including referrals to specialists for additional tests.

Treatment for severe tremors

For individuals with severe hand tremors that significantly impact one’s daily life, treatment options are available to help manage the condition. An occupational therapist may be enlisted, or different meds prescribed. While medication may not eliminate the tremor entirely, it can often reduce the intensity of the shaking or trembling. Your practitioner may prescribe medication that needs to be taken regularly, or only when necessary—such as before encountering stressful situations that exacerbate the tremor.

If tremors extend to the head or vocal cords causing difficulties in speaking, a provider may offer injections to block the nerves and relax the affected muscles.

Regain control

Hand tremors can be a distressing condition that affects daily life and overall well-being. While slight tremors are normal, persistent and severe tremors may require medical attention. Consulting with a healthcare professional is essential in determining the cause of the tremors and to explore appropriate treatment options. Medication, injections, and, in extreme cases, surgical intervention can help manage and reduce the severity of hand tremors. By seeking medical advice and following recommended treatment plans, people can regain control over hand movements and improve their quality of life.

Karen Casanovas, PCC, CPCC, CLIPP is a health, wellness and simplified living coach practicing in Anchorage. If you have questions, write to her at