Understanding the Causes

Shaking hands is a common symptom of various medical conditions, but it can also be caused by other factors, such as stress or anxiety. It is important to understand the potential causes of this symptom in order to find the best solution for it.

In this article, we will look at the different causes of shaking hands and explain what the best solutions may be:

Essential Tremor

Essential tremor (ET) is a type of involuntary shaking or trembling that typically occurs in the hands or arms, but can affect other body parts as well. It is usually characterized by a rhythmic shake or tremor that can occur on one side of the body or both sides of the body at the same time. It cannot be completely stopped, but it can be managed with certain lifestyle modifications and medications.

The cause of ET is unknown, but it has been linked to an imbalance of neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain, hormonal imbalances in certain areas of the brain as well as certain medications and alcohol consumption. ET may also be caused by genetic factors – family members who have this disorder tend to get it more frequently than others in their family who do not have ET.

There is no cure for essential tremor, however there are treatments available such as beta blockers and anticonvulsants which can help to reduce symptoms or modify them for those who are severely affected by them. Botox injections may also be used to treat people with ET if their symptoms are severe enough to interfere with everyday activities such as

  • eating
  • drinking
  • drinking from a bottle
  • writing

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder caused by the deterioration of nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine, a substance involved in controlling body movements. People with Parkinson’s experience muscle rigidity, tremors, slow movements, impaired balance and coordination and other symptoms. Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s at this time, many types of medications and therapies can help to reduce its symptoms.

The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown but it is believed to be partially inherited as well as environmental factors like exposure to heavy metals or toxins. Environmental factors that have been studied by research includes:

  • Pesticide exposure
  • Consumption of industrial solvents such as carbon disulphide and trichloroethylene found in consumer products which have been linked to an increase in the prevalence of PD.

Other factors such as stress, smoking history or dietary deficiencies may contribute to the development of this condition but further empirical research needs to be conducted before a definitive conclusion can be drawn.

In terms of diagnosis, there are several tests such as computerised tomography (CT) scans or MRI scans which can help detect certain signs associated with PD or other movement disorders such as dystonia. Blood tests may also be used to rule out other conditions that could cause similar symptoms. Generally, neurologists diagnose PD based on a patient’s medical history and physical exam findings but sometimes consultation with additional experts such as occupational therapists may be needed for differential diagnosis if initial results are inconclusive.


Anxiety is one of the common causes of trembling in the hands. Anxiety, fear and stress can trigger a wide range of physical responses, including shaking or trembling hands. This is generally referred to as tremulousness and sometimes happens even when no stress or fear is present.

The cause of anxiety-related tremulousness often boils down to fight-or-flight hormones that are released when we feel threatened. These hormones, such as adrenaline or cortisol, can cause physical changes in the body including increased heart rate, sweating, and trembling or shaking.

Anxiety-related tremulousness can also be caused by medical conditions such as an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or an infection like hepatitis C that affects the liver. Stressful life events like the death of a loved one can trigger an extreme reaction in some people leading to frequent episodes of trembling in their hands or other body parts.

You may also experience trembling when feeling overwhelmed by emotions such as excitement or joy—this is sometimes called emotional tremulousness—or during times of high stress and intense concentration, like while giving a public presentation.

If your hand shaking is persistent and affecting your daily activities it might be worth consulting with a health professional for full diagnosis and treatments options, if required.

Physical Symptoms

Shaking of the hands can have a variety of causes and can be a symptom of physical or psychological origin. While benign causes are more common, there are also medical conditions that can cause hand tremors. It is important to identify the root cause of your shaking hands in order to get the proper treatment.

In this article we will discuss some of the possible causes and how to address them:

Shaking or trembling of hands or arms

Essential tremor (ET) is a neurological disorder characterized by an involuntary shaking or trembling of the hands or arms. This symptom can be seen in children, adolescents or adults and is typically very subtle at first. Although there is no cure for this condition, the severity of the shaking can often be managed to minimize its impact on daily activities.

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ET is an involuntary shaking of the body parts and it affects people differently. In many cases, individuals will experience tremors from time to time and these episodes may last for a few minutes before subsiding. It can also appear more chronically with regular periodic shaking that may persist throughout the day. Additional symptoms associated with ET include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dizziness
  • Depression

Although researchers do not understand exactly why ET shakes occur, certain factors may increase one’s risk factors for developing the condition including:

  • Genetics (family history)
  • Age (it often begins after age 50)
  • Alcohol or drug abuse (tremors will worsen upon drinking)
  • Too much caffeine
  • Stress

A diagnosis may be based on a physical exam which can observe muscular movement; however imaging tests such as an MRI or CT scan are sometimes used to rule out other potential causes such as stroke or microvascular disease.

Others who experience symptoms similar to that of ET may suffer from Parkinson’s Disease which is characterized by uncontrollable tremors throughout all parts of the body. This form of tremor has been linked to damage in certain areas of the brain that control movement. While both conditions are characteristically different in nature, they share many similarities and treatment options may cross between them depending on a particular individual’s condition at any given time. Treatment options vary depending on individual case but often include lifestyle modifications such as exercise, dietary changes, medications and targeted therapy sessions when needed.

Difficulty holding objects

Shaking hands can be a symptom of a variety of medical conditions. If you are having difficulty holding objects, it is important to identify other symptoms and medical history that might indicate a cause. Possible causes for trembling and shaking hands include Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, multiple sclerosis, anxiety disorder, alcohol withdrawal and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Each of these causes of trembling can have different treatments depending on the underlying cause.

If shaking hands becomes more severe or begins to interfere with activities such as writing or eating, seeking medical attention is advised. Diagnosis may include imaging such as MRI or CAT scans if necessary to evaluate the nervous system or specific organs. A detailed neurological exam may identify uncertain causes and will likely include coordination tests and gait tests (walking). Blood tests can assess for factors including HIV/AIDS, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and diabetes.

Other symptoms that accompany trembling hands must be reported as well. These may often be:

  • Pain in the arms or legs
  • Double vision
  • Facial weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Unsteady gait
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Loss of control over emotions (emotional lability)
  • Memory problems
  • Lack of energy

Not all these associated symptoms need to be present in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. Treatment for trembling hands begins with ruling out potentially reversible causes such as medications that could be causing tremors or low vitamin D levels that could be resolved with supplements. Treatment plans are tailored based on diagnosis which may require lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking or exercising more frequently, medications (such as anti-seizure medication) or surgical interventions where appropriate.

Muscle stiffness

Muscle stiffness is a common physical symptom experienced by many individuals. It is usually characterized by a feeling of tightness or tension throughout your body, including your hands. Muscle stiffness can be caused by a wide range of factors including physical injury, certain medications, and health issues.

If you are experiencing muscle stiffness in your hands along with shaky movements, this could potentially indicate that you may have an underlying neurological condition such as essential tremor or Parkinson’s disease. These conditions can cause the muscles to become stiff and rigid, leading to jerky movements of the hands. It is important to have these symptoms assessed and discussed with a medical professional in order to determine if there is an underlying condition such as essential tremor or Parkinson’s disease.

Other causes of muscle stiffness can include:

  • Poor posture
  • Overusing the wrong muscles during activities such as heavy lifting
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Stress

Making sure that you practice good posture while engaging in physical activities can help reduce the risk of developing muscle stiffness and jerky hand movements. Additionally making sure that you are hydrated and properly rested may help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with muscle stiffness. Lastly incorporating muscle-relaxation techniques like stretching and massage into your daily routine may also provide some temporary relief from any muscular discomfort or tension associated with this condition.


If you are constantly experiencing involuntary shaking of your hands or other body parts, it could be the result of a medical disorder. There are a few possible explanations for the shaking, and it is important to properly diagnose the condition in order to properly treat it. Let’s look at the various disorders that could be causing your hands to shake and how they are diagnosed.

Medical History

Gather a complete medical history from the patient. It is important to properly document the patient’s entire current and past medical history. This includes past medical conditions, potential triggers of the shaking, current medications, family history—both medical and psychosocial—pharmaceutical allergies, diet and current lifestyle behaviors. Knowing the details of what has been going on in the patient’s life can provide clues that may lead to a diagnosis.

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It is essential that you complete a thorough review all of these items as soon as possible, as they will help you make accurate assessments while determining an appropriate course of action with the patient. This information should be updated or modified at least annually so that any new conditions or changes can be considered in making an accurate diagnosis. Make sure to take detailed notes for each assessment during visits with your patients; this will provide valuable reference material to review for any later troubleshooting or additional observations.

Physical Exam

A physical exam is a crucial step in diagnosing why someone is shaking their hands. During this exam, a doctor will observe the movements of the patient’s hands, as well as any other abnormal movements they may be exhibiting. They will also check for any signs of weakness in the muscles or joints, that may be causing the tremors.

The physical exam may additionally include tests to evaluate range of motion, coordination, reflexes and other indicators of neurological functioning. This information can provide further insight into what may be causing the trembling and can help guide treatment decisions.

If appropriate, further tests such as MRIs, CT scans or NCVs (nerve conduction velocity tests) may also need to be taken in order to investigate further and diagnose an underlying cause.

Neurological Exam

A neurological exam is an important part of diagnosing why you are experiencing shaking hands. The exam, conducted by a physician or specialist, is designed to identify the origin of your problem and determine the most effective course of treatment. The neurologist will look for signs such as abnormal movements or twitching, changes in sensation and reflexes, muscle weakness, and coordination problems.

During the exam, you may be asked to answer questions about your medical history, occupation and home life. Physical tests may also be conducted to test your muscle strength, reflexes and coordination. Additionally, laboratory tests such as electroencephalogram (EEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans may be necessary to check for any underlying disorders that could be causing your shaky hands.

The doctor will then review all this information to arrive at a diagnosis. Depending on the finding they will determine if further medical care is needed or if lifestyle changes or self-care techniques that can help relieve symptoms are sufficient.


Shaky hands can be a symptom of various medical conditions, so if this is a recurring issue it is important to discuss the issue with a doctor to pinpoint an underlying cause. In many cases, shaky hands can be treated and it is possible to reduce the severity of the shakes through lifestyle changes, medical treatment, and physical therapies.

This article will discuss different treatments available for shaky hands:


In many cases, treating your shakes may involve taking medication. Your doctor can work with you to determine the right type of medicine for your particular situation. Examples of drugs that might be used to control tremor include:

  • Beta-blockers. These medications can help block the action of certain chemicals in your body and slow down nerve impulses, which may reduce tremors. Examples include propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL) and metoprolol (Lopressor).
  • Primidone (Mysoline). This drug is an anticonvulsant that works by decreasing activity in areas of the brain involved in causing tremor. It’s thought to be especially helpful for treating essential tremor. Side effects may include drowsiness and confusion.
  • Anti-anxiety medications and muscle relaxants, such as clonazepam (Klonopin), may reduce stress that triggers tremors, although they don’t work well as long-term treatment options because of their potential for side effects or addiction.
  • Botox injections, typically aimed at reducing muscle tension and improving coordination by temporarily paralyzing a few injected muscles, can also be used to treat some types of tremors, depending on their location and severity.


Shaking hands can be an indication of a medical condition such as essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, or even more serious neurological disorders. Surgery is an option for people for whom medications have not provided adequate symptom relief. Depending on the severity of the condition and which parts of the brain and nerves are involved, different types of surgical interventions may be recommended. Common procedures include deep brain stimulation (DBS), thalamotomy, stereotactic radiosurgery, ablation techniques, and neurosurgical interventions.

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is considered to have the best outcomes overall and consists of implanting electrodes into specific areas in the brain that control movement. The electrodes then supply electrical signals that help to regulate movement in these areas. The benefit to this treatment is that it reaches areas medications might not be able to by directly stimulating neurons in targeted places within the brain.

Thalamotomy is another type of surgery used to reduce tremor symptoms which involves surgically destroying or altering specific parts of thalamus involved in movement control – tiny nuclei located inside the thalamus named ventral intermedius nucleus (Vim). This procedure can help decrease tremor significantly, but does involve some risks including inadvertent alteration of motor functioning on opposite side due to interference with other structures close by.

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Stereotactic radiosurgery uses non-invasive radiation beams to target abnormal cells in specific areas of your body instead of a traditional surgical approach with an incision. This technique can work well over time with gradual improvements being seen over several months after treatment however; it currently requires much more testing before it can be widely used as a primary treatment option for essential tremor patients unless other treatments are not showing benefits or are too risky due to other underlying health issues that preclude surgery or DBS as effective treatment options.

Neurosurgical interventions tend to involve resection which consists of removing portions tissue from particular sites within your brain believed responsible for tremor-related issue – depending on where malfunctioning area exists, you may undergo craniotomy (opening up skull), endoscopic procedures (through tiny small incision using scope) ,or open laminectomies (involving cutting part vertebrae exposing nerve roots). Ablation techniques are also traditionally done during resection removing small amounts tissue responsible for symptoms without actually affecting surrounding structures nearby; either heat exposure (radiofrequency thermocoagulation) chemicals may be used achieve this goal depending patients’ individual case needs & preferences based off analysis symptoms doctor has observed thus far further evaluation suitability these types options towards individual cases.

Alternative Treatments

Shakiness can be a symptom of a variety of conditions, and there are multiple treatments available to reduce or eliminate shakiness.

Alternative treatments, such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, and acupuncture may be used to reduce stress and anxiety or promote general relaxation. Massage therapy and biofeedback have also been found to help ease muscle tension and reduce shaking in some individuals.

Herbal remedies such as ginkgo biloba, passionflower, chamomile tea, lavender oil, and other calming teas or essential oils may help those suffering from shakiness due to psychological conditions like panic disorders and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some research suggests that vitamin B supplements can end tremors in some people too.

It is important to research any potential treatment carefully before engaging in them as unexpected side-effects may occur when mixing different remedies together or when using certain supplements. Consulting with your doctor is recommended before beginning any alternative treatment plan for your trembling hands.


Shaking of the hands can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition and should be addressed as soon as possible. However, there are some things that can be done to help prevent the shaking from happening in the first place. This article will discuss some strategies that can be used to prevent the uncontrollable shaking of the hands:


Exercise is a great way to prevent excessive hand-shaking due to tension or anxiety. Participating in regular physical activity helps to reduce overall stress levels and can lessen the severity of symptoms related to tremors, such as shaking hands. Additionally, exercise strengthens the muscles that are responsible for controlling hand movement.

Doing light strengthening and stretching exercises on a daily basis, as well as more intense aerobic activity 3-4 times per week, is recommended for reducing symptoms of hand tremors. Examples of low-impact exercises that can be done on a regular basis include:

  • Yoga and Pilates
  • Walking or biking on moderately flat terrain
  • Swimming or water aerobics
  • Tai chi
  • Light weight training with weights and resistance bands

Stress Management

Stress management is an important tool for preventing excess physical trembling. Reducing stressors and learning healthy coping mechanisms can help you to break the cycle of anxiety and tension that can often result in trembling.

When faced with a stressful event, practice intentional deep breathing and make sure that you have time to eat normally, drink plenty of fluids, rest, exercise regularly and develop positive social connections. Additionally, you could benefit from progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery techniques that are designed to relax your body gradually and reduce physical tension.

Lastly, try to identify any negative thought patterns that could be fueling your stress levels and replace them with more rational ways of thinking.

Avoiding Triggers

There are a variety of triggers that can cause your hands to shake. These include anxiety and stress, overuse of the muscles, caffeine, smoking and certain medications.

To avoid these triggers, it is important to reduce your level of stress and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation. If you use any muscle-strengthening exercises or activities, such as playing a musical instrument or typing on a computer for extended periods of time, make sure you take breaks throughout the day and wear wrist splints or braces to support the muscles if necessary.

Additionally, try limiting your caffeine intake to no more than two cups per day and quit smoking if you are a smoker. If you suspect that a certain medication is causing your shaking to worsen, consult with your doctor about alternatives.

Taking steps to identify and avoid triggers can help reduce the frequency and intensity of shaking episodes:

  • Reduce your level of stress
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Take breaks throughout the day
  • Wear wrist splints or braces to support the muscles if necessary
  • Limit caffeine intake to no more than two cups per day
  • Quit smoking
  • Consult with your doctor about alternatives

By Reiki

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