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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A tremor is a movement you cannot control that occurs in a rhythm. Tremors most commonly occur in the hands. Other common places include the head or face, trunk, or legs. Your voice can also have a tremor and sound shaky when you speak. A tremor may be caused by a nerve problem, too much thyroid hormone, or by certain medicines, caffeine, or alcohol. Tremors may be temporary or permanent. The tremor may go away and return, or worsen with stress. Tremors can happen at any age, but they are more common in later years.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a new or worsening tremor.
- You have tremors that make it difficult to do your regular activities.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be used to help control some kinds of tremors.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage your symptoms:
- Do not have caffeine or other chemicals that affect your nerves. Limit or do not have caffeine. Caffeine can make tremors worse. Talk to your healthcare provider about herbal medicines, teas, and supplements. They may also increase tremors. Do not use illegal drugs.
- Go to physical and occupational therapy as directed. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help reduce the tremor and improve muscle control. You may be shown how to hold the body part during a tremor to help control the movement. The therapist can also help you build strength and balance. An occupational therapist can show you how to use adaptive devices to help you move more easily.
- Use objects that will help you control movements. You may have more hand control if you add a watch or bracelet to your wrist. It may be easier for you to drink from a straw, or to fill your cup only half full. Cups with lids, such as travel mugs, can also help you drink with more control. Heavy eating utensils can help you eat more easily. A button fastener can help you button clothing if tremors in your hands make this difficult.
- Set a regular sleep schedule. Lack of sleep can make tremors worse. Try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.