Old man experiencing difficulty eating due to body tremors.

Discovering Body Tremors

Body tremors or body shaking are involuntary muscle contractions that affect a single or multiple parts of the body, due to several different causes that could be related to an already existing health condition, or as a side effect of external factors and medications. Let’s go through this issue and discover the essential information related to it.


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What are The Main Types of Body Tremors?

Depending on their causes and on the affected body part, these tremors can range from slight to severe. There are two main types of tremors that have many other subtypes falling under their category. These two types are called resting tremors and action tremors.

Resting Tremors:

These types of body shakes occur when the body is in a complete resting position. These tremors tend to decrease significantly when the body is performing any voluntary movement.

Action Tremors:

As for action tremors, they tend to occur when the body is performing any sort of voluntary movements, like standing up, reaching for an object, and so on. There are different types of action tremors and they are as follows:

  1. Kinetic Tremor: This type appears during simple voluntary movements, such as reaching to grab an object.
  2. Task-Specific Tremor: Hence the name, this type of body shaking is associated with performing specific tasks, like hand tremors while writing or while holding an object like a cup or a spoon.
  3. Isometric Tremor: These tremors appear during a voluntary muscle contraction that doesn't involve movement. 
  4. Postural Tremor: This type of shaking happens when your body is maintaining a posture against the direction of gravity. A good example would be the arm shaking that occurs when you keep your arms in an outstretched position.

What Conditions Cause Body Tremors?

Several neurological and overall health conditions cause body trembling as a main side effect. Let’s go through some of them for a better understanding:

Essential Tremor:

This neurological disorder is characterized by tremors or trembling that mainly occur in the hands, but also affects multiple body parts. There isn't a known cause for it yet, but researchers and healthcare professionals believe that there are some genetic factors at play. While ET's tremors aren't considered life-threatening, they can greatly impact an individual's quality of life since the tremors are persistent whether the patient's body is resting or in motion.

Alcohol Withdrawal:

If you've just stopped drinking excessively and started noticing that you're developing muscle tremors, they are most likely a symptom of the sudden alcohol withdrawal from your body. Also known as "the shakes" they tend to mainly affect the head, arms, and hands. We should also mention that severe alcohol withdrawal can lead to a severe type of body trembling that could be considered life-threatening at a certain point, especially when it's accompanied by other unusual symptoms like hallucinations and confusion.

Drug-induced Tremors:

Most of the time, the reason behind sudden uncontrollable movements is just a side effect of a certain drug you could be taking. Good examples of these medications are antidepressants, stimulants, and asthma medications. If this is the case with you, don't panic. These tremors could easily be controlled by dose reduction or discontinuation of the drug. However, it's important to do so alongside your doctor to avoid any deadly mistakes.

Cerebellar Ataxia:

This neurological condition is known to affect the body's overall coordination and balance due to the dysfunction that's usually caused by damage to the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls motor functions. Aside from muscle tremors, this condition can cause several other symptoms like speech difficulty, discoordination of the body, and involuntary eye movements.

Traumatic Brain Injury:

Body trembling can also be the result of a traumatic brain injury, specifically if the injured area is responsible for motor function and control like the cerebellum. Traumatic brain injuries can result from very strong hits to the head, and they cause various symptoms other than tremors, including dizziness, short-term or long-term memory loss, intense headaches, and confusion.


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Proper Body Tremors’ Diagnosis Process:

The diagnosis process requires a comprehensive medical evaluation to be able to specifically pinpoint the underlying cause and treat it properly. Let's go through the diagnosis process to see what it usually consists of.

Medical History Assessment:

This is where you describe to your doctor the exact nature of the body shaking symptoms you’re experiencing, including the tremors’ type, consistency, and how long they’ve been present. You have to also provide your doctor with your personal and familial medical history, as this could include very helpful clues that can lead your doctor to a more accurate diagnosis.

Physical Examination:

Your doctor will have to perform a full and thorough neurological examination to properly assess your body's strength, balance and coordination, and reflexes, as well as abnormal physical postures and/or movements. During this examination, your tremors will be assessed in different postures and positions to pinpoint their exact type, which leads your doctor one step closer to the right diagnosis.

Diagnostic Tests:

These tests are highly required for their role in helping your healthcare providers in narrowing down the possibilities due to their high accuracy in assessing your body's exact conditions. These tests include the following:

  1. Blood Tests: These tests include thyroid function tests, liver function tests, and metabolic panel tests. Each one of these tests helps rule out or include a different possibility as to why you’re experiencing body tremors.
  2. Imaging Studies: These studies include magnetic resonance imaging to visualize the brain's activity which makes it easier to identify abnormalities just by looking at them. Moreover, computed tomography scans are also employed to look for tumors and internal bleeding that could go unnoticed sometimes.
  3. Electrophysiological Studies: These involve electromyography tests to evaluate muscle activity and identify any potential abnormalities, as well as nerve conduction studies that help assess peripheral nerve function to help rule out peripheral neuropathy.
  4. Neurological Tests: As we all know, some neurological disorders tend to have exact similarities, like Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. Therefore, healthcare professionals depend on neurological tests like DaTscan to help them differentiate Parkinson's disease from other conditions causing muscle tremors.
  5. Specialized Tremor Assessment: These assessments involve tests like spiral analysis where the patient is asked to draw a spiral on a sheet of paper to help identify the severity and characteristics of the existing tremors. Additionally, these assessments tend to involve precise measurements of the exact amplitude and frequency of the body trembling, which can be an indication of what is causing them in the first place.
  6. Consultation with Specialists: Finally, depending on what your doctor suspects, they could help you figure out the next steps by referring you to a trusted specialist and by providing helpful advice to stick to during the treatment phase.

What are The Treatment Options?

There are a variety of treatment options that include invasive, non-invasive, chemical, and natural methods that help manage and reduce the symptoms of body shaking. Let’s name a few.

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS):

This is the most common surgical treatment option, and it involves implanting electrodes into the thalamus, which is connected to a pulse generator that gets implanted in the patient’s chest. It works by sending electrical currents to the thalamus, which in turn, interrupts the tremors.

Focused Ultrasound Thalamotomy:

Focused ultrasound Thalamotomy is a non-surgical operation that employs ultrasonic waves to form a lesion in a specific location of the thalamus to alleviate tremors. It's the perfect treatment option, specifically for ET patients, who are looking for an effective non-surgical treatment.

Botox Injections:

Botulinum toxin injections' main objective is to paralyze the muscles of the injected part of the body. So, beyond their aesthetic purposes, Botox injections could be an easy and effective treatment option to ease body tremors for people with dystonic tremors.

Alternative and Complementary Therapies:

Great examples of these therapies would be acupuncture, which involves the insertion of thin needles through the skin at strategic points on the body to alleviate body tremors symptoms, and biofeedback, which can help patients gain more awareness and control over their physiological functions, including the tremors.

Counseling and Support Groups:

Going to support groups is a great way for every patient to get the emotional support they need to carry on through their treatment journey and to learn from other people’s experiences. Although counseling isn’t necessarily a treatment, it indirectly relieves your symptoms because of its role in reducing and managing mental and emotional stresses that tend to increase the severity of symptoms.



With all of that being said, let’s go through some of the frequently asked questions about this issue:

Why is my Body Shaking for no Reason?

First of all, there’s no such thing as for no reason, there is always a reason behind tremors, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Most of the time, they could be happening due to an underlying health issue, as a medication side effect, or due to environmental factors. It’s best to get a proper diagnosis from your doctor.

Why does my Body Shake at Night?

Nighttime shaking or tremors can be caused by a variety of factors, including Restless Leg Syndrome, nocturnal leg cramps, and sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or periodic limb movement disorder. There could be more reasons behind body tremors at night, so it's best to get professional help.


Steadiwear is Here for You:

Our team of professionals is constantly looking for more ways to provide comfort and assistance for people with neurological conditions to make their daily lives a little bit easier.

In addition to our Steadi-Two glove that rids you of all the obstructive shaking and tremors, allowing you to gain back control over your motor functions, our team is constantly providing informative blog posts that keep patients up to date with their conditions.


In Conclusion:

Most of the time, tremors could be your body’s way of telling you something. Even if you didn’t suspect anything unusual, it’s better to consult your doctor and look further into these symptoms to be one step ahead of any potential disease, disorder, or condition. Your doctor could put you on the right path towards getting rid of these tremors for good, can answer every question you might have correctly, and can show you assistive gadgets, devices, or life hacks that could make it much easier for you to cope with your symptoms until they completely disappear.


Learn more about the Steadi-Two- a revolutionary glove designed to reduce hand tremors.

Learn More

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