Best Exercise for Hand Tremors

Best Exercise for Hand Tremors

Hand tremors are a common condition, especially among older adults, but they can also occur due to various reasons such as Essential tremor, multiple sclerosis, hyperthyroidism, and stress. These involuntary shaking movements can happen while the hand is at rest or when maintaining a position for an extended period. Understanding and managing hand tremors through targeted exercises can significantly improve quality of life.

Understanding Hand Tremors

Hand tremors signify abnormalities in the central nervous system affecting muscles and nerves. It's crucial to seek medical help if you notice involuntary shaking in your hands. Though not life-threatening, hand tremors can be inconvenient and may interfere with daily activities like drinking, writing, or eating. Treatment often depends on the underlying cause, but alongside medications and surgery, specific hand and wrist exercises can help reduce symptoms.

This article explores the best exercises for hand tremors, how to stop shaky hands through exercise, and provides a comprehensive list of exercises for tremors.

Causes and Types of Hand Tremors

Understanding the underlying causes of hand tremors is essential for managing and treating them effectively. Hand tremors can be broadly classified into different types based on their causes:

Essential Tremor

Essential tremor is one of the most common types of tremors, affecting millions of people worldwide. It is often hereditary and can worsen with age. Essential tremor typically affects the hands, making everyday tasks challenging.

You may also like Essential Tremor vs. Intention Tremor

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that leads to tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. Hand tremors in Parkinson's disease are often accompanied by other symptoms such as slow movements and rigidity.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, leading to symptoms such as hand tremors, muscle weakness, and coordination problems. Tremors in MS can vary in intensity and may affect one or both hands.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, can cause various symptoms, including hand tremors. The excessive production of thyroid hormones can lead to increased metabolism, resulting in shaking hands and other symptoms like weight loss and rapid heartbeat.

Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can significantly contribute to hand tremors. When the body is under stress, it releases adrenaline, which can cause shaking or trembling in the hands. Managing stress through relaxation techniques and exercises can help reduce tremors.

Types of Exercises for Hand Tremors

        

General Physical Activity

Engaging in regular physical activity is beneficial for overall health and can help reduce hand tremors by increasing dopamine levels and reducing stress. The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity weekly. Activities such as running, jogging, gym workouts, or yoga can be effective. Exercise helps relieve stress, a known contributor to hand tremors.

Weight-Bearing Exercises

Weight-bearing exercises that strengthen the upper extremities can improve steadiness and reduce hand tremors. Examples include:

  • Planks
  • Push-ups
  • Shoulder lifts
  • Biceps curls

These exercises temporarily reduce the symptoms of essential tremors and enhance muscle control.

Adaptive Equipment and Tools

Using adaptive tools can also be beneficial. Tools designed for hand tremors, like weighted utensils or writing aids, can improve stability. If these are not convenient, other adaptive equipment such as elastic shoelaces or automatic jar openers can make daily tasks easier. Consulting a physical therapist can provide personalized recommendations for using these tools effectively.

Specific Hand Tremor Exercises

Here are some targeted exercises for reducing hand tremors:

1. Finger Tap Exercise

The finger tap exercise helps build control over hand and finger movements. It involves tapping the index finger to the thumb on both hands, then sequentially tapping each subsequent finger. This exercise can be done anywhere and keeps you engaged in controlling hand movements.

2. Finger Bend Exercise

Bending your fingers on a flat surface or towards the bottom of your palm helps reduce tremors. This simple exercise can be done individually or simultaneously for all fingers.

3. Wrist Flexion and Supination

Flexing the wrist can be done by placing your hand on the edge of a table with the wrist hanging off and bending the wrist up and down. Rotating your wrists in a circular motion also helps. Adding wrist weights or lightweight dumbbells can enhance the exercise.

4. Thumb Bend and Extension

For thumb bends, bend your thumb across your palm to reach the bottom of your small finger, hold for 30 to 60 seconds, and repeat four times. For thumb extensions, use a rubber band around your hand and move your thumb away from the fingers, holding the position for up to 60 seconds, and repeat ten times.

5. Supination and Pronation

Supination involves rotating the palms upwards, while pronation involves rotating them downwards. These movements help improve muscle control and reduce tremors.

6. Tight Fist

Clenching and unclenching your fists, or using a stress ball, helps manage hand tremors. Hold the fist for about 10 seconds and repeat 10 times on both hands.

7. Rubber Ball Exercise

Squeezing a rubber ball helps train your nerves to control responses. Hold the ball tightly for five seconds, release, and repeat 10 times.

8. Hand Dumbbell Exercise

Using a lightweight dumbbell (1 to 3 pounds), place your hand over the edge of a table and move your wrists up and down slowly. This exercise helps relieve fatigue and stress caused by tremors.

Advanced Exercises and Techniques

In addition to the basic exercises, more advanced techniques can be incorporated to further manage and reduce hand tremors.

Resistance Band Exercises

Resistance bands are versatile tools that can be used to strengthen hand and arm muscles. Exercises with resistance bands can help improve muscle control and reduce tremors. Examples include:

  • Band Pull-Aparts: Hold a resistance band with both hands and pull it apart, stretching the band across your chest.
  • Band Wrist Extensions: Attach a resistance band to a stable surface and extend your wrist against the resistance.

Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy involves exercises performed in water, which can reduce the impact on joints and provide resistance to movements. Water-based exercises can help improve muscle strength and reduce tremors. Examples include:

  • Water Walking: Walking in a pool to strengthen leg and core muscles.
  • Aquatic Hand Exercises: Submerging hands in water and performing various movements such as fist clenching and finger taps.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy focuses on helping individuals perform daily activities more effectively. An occupational therapist can provide exercises and techniques to manage hand tremors and recommend adaptive tools to improve daily functioning.

Physical Therapy for Hand Tremors

Physical therapy can also help manage hand tremors. Techniques include:

  • Biceps curls
  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Hydrotherapy

A licensed physiotherapist can prescribe the right exercise regimen and provide care to manage hand tremors effectively.

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

In addition to exercises, making specific diet and lifestyle changes can help manage hand tremors.

Nutrition

Maintaining a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can support overall health and reduce tremors. Key nutrients include:

  • Vitamin B12: Supports nerve health and can reduce tremors. Found in meat, dairy, and fortified cereals.
  • Magnesium: Helps relax muscles and reduce tremors. Found in leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Support brain health and reduce inflammation. Found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

Stress Management

Stress is a significant contributor to hand tremors. Incorporating stress management techniques can help reduce tremors. Techniques include:

  • Meditation: Practicing mindfulness meditation to calm the mind and reduce stress.
  • Deep Breathing: Performing deep breathing exercises to relax the body and mind.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tensing and relaxing different muscle groups to reduce overall muscle tension.

Read more about hand exercises 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the best exercises for hand tremors and how do they help?
  • Answer: The best exercises for hand tremors include shoulder shrugs, wrist flexion, tight fist exercises, and rubber ball exercises. These exercises help by strengthening the muscles, improving motor control, and reducing the frequency and intensity of tremors.
  1. How can I stop shaky hands through exercise?
  • Answer: Exercises like finger tapping, wrist flexion, and resistance band exercises can help stop shaky hands. Regular practice of these exercises strengthens hand muscles and improves stability, reducing shakiness.
  1. What exercises are recommended for essential tremors?
  • Answer: Essential tremor exercises include hand dumbbell exercises, finger taps, and thumb bends. These exercises target the muscles affected by essential tremors, helping to improve control and reduce symptoms.
  1. Are there specific exercises to reduce hand tremors?
  • Answer: Yes, exercises to reduce hand tremors include finger bends, wrist rotations, and supination/pronation exercises. These movements help enhance muscle control and decrease tremor intensity.
  1. How can physical therapy help with hand tremors?
  • Answer: Physical therapy for hand tremors involves exercises like biceps curls, shoulder shrugs, and hydrotherapy. A licensed physical therapist can develop a personalized exercise regimen to manage tremors effectively.
  1. Are there exercises for Parkinson’s hand tremors?
  • Answer: Exercises for Parkinson’s hand tremors include finger tapping, wrist flexion, and hand stretches. These exercises help maintain hand function and reduce the severity of tremors.
  1. Why do my hands shake after a workout, and how can I manage it?
  • Answer: Hands may shake after a workout due to muscle fatigue, low blood sugar, or dehydration. To manage it, ensure proper hydration, maintain balanced nutrition, and incorporate cool-down exercises post-workout.
  1. How can I control and reduce hand tremors naturally?
  • Answer: Natural ways to control and reduce hand tremors include reducing caffeine intake, practicing relaxation techniques, and performing hand exercises like finger taps and wrist flexion regularly.
  1. What should I do if my fingers shake involuntarily or my thumb shakes when bent?
  • Answer: If your fingers shake involuntarily or your thumb shakes when bent, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional to rule out underlying conditions. In the meantime, practicing specific hand exercises can help improve control.
  1. How does physical therapy help with essential tremor and what exercises are involved?
  • Answer: Physical therapy for essential tremor includes exercises like wrist rotations, resistance band exercises, and finger strengthening activities. These exercises help enhance motor control and reduce tremor symptoms by targeting affected muscles.

 

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.