Parkinson vs Essential Tremor ET

Essential Tremor (ET) and Parkinson's Disease (PD) are often confused due to their similar symptoms, particularly tremors. However, understanding the nuances between these conditions is essential for proper management and treatment. This section explores their symptoms, causes, and treatments in detail.

What is Essential Tremor (ET)?

Essential Tremor is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary and rhythmic shaking. ET is often mistaken for Parkinson's disease but has its own unique characteristics. It typically affects the hands but can also impact the head, voice, and other body parts.

What is Parkinson's Disease (PD)?

Parkinson's Disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement. It is characterized by tremors at rest, stiffness, and bradykinesia (slowness of movement). PD is associated with the degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain.

Symptoms of Essential Tremor

Tremors during voluntary movements like eating or writing.

Tremors in the hands, head, and voice.

Worsening tremors with stress, fatigue, or caffeine.

Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease

Tremors at rest, especially in the hands and legs.

Muscle stiffness and rigidity.

Slowness of movement (bradykinesia).

Balance and coordination problems.

Essential Tremor Treatment

Treatment for ET aims to reduce the severity of tremors. Options include:

  • Medications: Beta-blockers (e.g., propranolol) and anticonvulsants (e.g., primidone) are commonly prescribed.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Reducing caffeine intake, managing stress, and using adaptive devices can help manage symptoms.
  • Surgical Options: For severe cases, deep brain stimulation (DBS) or focused ultrasound may be considered.

Types Essential Tremor

  1. Hand Tremors: In ET, hand tremors are most common and occur during tasks like writing, eating, or drinking.
  2. Head Tremors: These may appear as a nodding or shaking motion of the head.
  3. Voice Tremors: Some individuals experience a quivering voice when speaking.
  4. Aggravating Factors: Stress, fatigue, and stimulants such as caffeine can exacerbate ET symptoms.

Types Parkinson's Disease

  1. Resting Tremors: Tremors in PD often occur when the muscles are relaxed, such as when the hands are resting on the lap.
  2. Bradykinesia: Slowness of movement is a hallmark symptom, making daily tasks difficult.
  3. Rigidity: Stiffness in the limbs and trunk can lead to a decreased range of motion and pain.
  4. Postural Instability: Problems with balance and coordination, increasing the risk of falls.


Understanding the distinctions between Essential Tremor and Parkinson's Disease is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment. If you or a loved one are experiencing tremors, consult a healthcare professional for an accurate assessment and appropriate management plan.

Essential Tremor and Parkinson's Disease are distinct conditions. Having ET does not necessarily increase the risk of developing PD.

ET can be exacerbated by stress, fatigue, and stimulants like caffeine. Genetic factors also play a significant role.

There is currently no cure for PD, but treatments can significantly manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

ET is diagnosed based on clinical evaluation, family history, and ruling out other conditions through neurological exams and imaging tests.