How to stop hand tremors (shaky hands) naturally

The best exercises for hand tremors include hand and wrist exercises and wearing weighted hand gloves

Causes of hand tremors | Types of hand tremors | Natural treatments | Other treatments | Is there a cure for hand tremor? | When to see a doctor

Tremor is a neurological condition of involuntary muscle contractions that cause shaking movements in one or more body parts. It usually affects the hands, but can also affect the legs, head, vocal cords, and torso. The good news is that tremor is not life-threatening. However, it can significantly interfere with daily life, making it difficult to work and perform daily tasks like eating and getting dressed. 

What causes hand tremors?

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Tremor is equally likely to occur in men or women but is most common in middle-aged and older adults. Tremor may be caused by a problem in the parts of the brain that control movements. Some types of tremors may be inherited, but many types have no known cause. 

Some possible causes of tremor include medications or health conditions such as:

  • Medications, for example, certain asthma medicines, ADHD stimulants, steroids, and medicines used for psychiatric conditions
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Mercury poisoning
  • Excess caffeine
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Stressful situation, panic, anxiety, or other heightened emotions

Types of hand tremors

Tremor is classified by appearance and cause. To diagnose your tremor, your healthcare provider will ask questions about the type, frequency, and location of the tremor, take a medical history and family history, and will likely order some blood tests or imaging. Although there are over 20 types of tremor, the most common forms include:

  • Essential tremor: Essential tremor (previously known as benign essential tremor) is one of the most common movement disorders. Essential tremor symptoms occur in the hands and arms while moving or standing still, and can also affect the head, voice, and legs. It can begin at any age but most often appears during adolescence or between ages 40 and 50. The exact cause is unknown, but about half of all cases are thought to be caused by an inherited factor. 
  • Parkinsonian tremor: About 80% of people with Parkinson’s disease have tremor. It is most noticeable when the hands are at rest and often affects the hands and fingers. This type of tremor may also affect the face, chin, lips, and legs. Initially, tremor may appear in one area or on one side, but as the disease progresses, it may spread to both sides of your body.
  • Physiologic tremor/enhanced physiologic tremor: While everyone has physiologic tremor—a very fine shaking of the hands and fingers that is rarely visible—it is not considered a medical condition or disease. Enhanced physiologic tremor, however, is a type of physiologic tremor that is more noticeable. It’s often caused by a reaction to a medication, alcohol withdrawal, or certain medical conditions like low blood sugar or an overactive thyroid. This type of tremor usually goes away once the cause is fixed. 
  • Psychogenic tremor (functional tremor): This type of tremor may have varying symptoms but may start and stop suddenly and affect all parts of the body. Psychogenic tremor increases during stress.
  • Cerebellar tremor: Damage to the cerebellum (from a stroke, tumor, or another cause) causes this type of tremor, which is a slow, visible tremor affecting the arms, legs, hands, or feet. It usually occurs at the end of a movement, such as pressing an elevator button. 

How to stop hand tremors naturally

Hand tremors can be annoying, embarrassing, and affect how you live. Lifestyle changes and natural remedies such as dietary changes, exercise, therapy, and even surgery are options for relieving hand tremors. You can ask your healthcare provider which options may be best for you, in combination with any other treatments they have prescribed or recommended.

Foods that reduce hand tremors

Dietary changes

  • The Mediterranean diet: This healthy diet, full of fruits and vegetables, can have a positive effect on overall health, but it’s also been studied against neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s, and essential tremor. The diet includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, seafood, and unsaturated fatty acids—while limiting dairy, meat, poultry, and alcohol. 
  • Drink plenty of water: Drink the recommended four to six cups of water a day for the best way to keep the body hydrated and functioning at its best. 
  • Limit or avoid consuming too much caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant, so reducing or eliminating it from your diet can also minimize hand tremor. Caffeine is in coffee, tea, cola or sodas, other beverages, and chocolate. If you consume caffeine regularly and abruptly stop, you can also experience tremors from caffeine withdrawal. After discontinuing caffeine, shaky hands and other withdrawal symptoms may last up to 10 days. Weaning yourself from this stimulant is a practical approach to avoiding hand tremors if caffeine is the cause. 
  • Limit or avoid alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol, or on the other hand, going through alcohol withdrawal, can contribute to hand tremors. 

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential to maintain a healthy nervous system. A vitamin B deficiency (particularly vitamin B12, B6, or B1) could lead to the development of hand tremors. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 for adults is 2.4 mcg, but you may need more if you take a medication that hinders vitamin absorption. Ask your healthcare provider how much B12, if any, you need, especially if you have a vitamin deficiency.

Vitamin B12 can be taken in a capsule form, injection, or found in everyday foods. Eggs, milk, meat, and most animal products naturally contain vitamin B12. Many varieties of cereals have been fortified with vitamins as well.

Best exercises for hand tremors

Hand and wrist exercises

In addition to learning how to cope with tremors in your daily life, your healthcare provider may refer you to a physical or occupational therapist for treatment and/or recommend exercises you can do at home. Some examples of exercises for the hands and wrists include: 

  • Squeezing a stress ball or hand grip for 2 to 10 seconds, releasing, and repeating ten times on each hand can be an easy exercise to incorporate into your day. 
  • Rotating the wrists in a circular motion can keep tendons and ligaments flexible. Moving the hands with intention can keep synovial fluid from building up, preventing or reducing tremors.
  • Curling a light hand weight with arms resting on a table and your palms facing up can also strengthen and fine-tune your muscle control.

Weighted hand glove

A weighted glove is a piece of adaptive equipment designed by occupational therapists. The gloves come in various weights. The gloves offer an individual with tremors more hand stability and can reduce the patient’s need for surgery.

Other ways to reduce hand tremors

Some other tips include: 

Relaxation

Stress, anxiety, and other mental health problems can trigger hand tremors. Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, creating a relaxing atmosphere, practicing yoga, and meditating are worth exploring if stress contributes to tremors. 

Massage therapy may help tremor symptoms while reducing mental and physical stress.

Fatigue is another common cause of shakiness, as getting plenty of rest is essential for the body and nervous system to function correctly. The average adult needs approximately seven to nine hours of sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene and make quality sleep a priority. 

Is there a cure for hand tremor?

Although there is no cure for hand tremor, there are medications that can be used to help treat the symptoms. Some common treatment options include:

  • Anticonvulsants: Mysoline (primidone) is an antiseizure medication, but can also reduce hand tremors. Other medications used for seizure treatment are sometimes used off-label to treat tremor. 
  • Beta blockers: Inderal (propranolol) is the only beta blocker approved to treat essential tremor. Some doctors prescribe primidone together with propranolol, if either medication is not effective alone. Sometimes, a different beta blocker will be prescribed, such as Tenormin (atenolol) or Lopressor (metoprolol).
  • Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines, such as Valium (diazepam), can help to temporarily reduce symptoms of tremor. However, due to their controlled substance status, side effects, and drug interactions, they are not used as a first line of treatment. 
  • Carbidopa/levodopa: This combination medication is commonly used in people with Parkinson’s disease. 

Sometimes, other treatments may be used, such as Botox injections or a focused ultrasound. A surgical procedure (the most common type is called deep brain stimulation, or DBS surgery) may be used when other treatments do not work. 

When to see a healthcare provider for hand tremor

If your tremor is severe and/or interfering with your daily activities and making it difficult to do things you usually do—simple tasks like bathing, getting dressed, and eating—see your neurologist or other health care provider. 

You should also see your provider if you have accompanying symptoms like headache, weakness, abnormal tongue movements, tight muscles, or other movements that you cannot control. 

Sometimes, the cause can be identified and treated, so the tremor can be reversed. Other times, a tremor can be the first sign of a medical condition. It is best to see your healthcare provider for a prompt diagnosis and treatment plan. 



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