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Essential Tremor

This nerve disorder is the most common reason your coffee cup won’t stay still while you hold it. It kicks in while your hands are doing something, but goes away when they’re not. There’s no clear cause, but it’s sometimes traced to a change in a gene. If your symptoms are mild, you may not need treatment. If they get in the way of everyday tasks or your job, you may need medicine, occupational therapy, or surgery.

Parkinson’s Disease

When you have this condition, your hand shakes because brain cells that tell your muscles to move get damaged. The shaking usually starts on one hand, but over time may spread to the other. You may also move more slowly, have trouble with balance, or find that your arms and legs stiffen up. The main treatment for Parkinson’s tremors is medication and sometimes surgery for better muscle control.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

This condition damages a coating on your nerves called myelin. When this happens, you may get symptoms that include shaking in your hands or other parts of your body. Medicine is the most common way to treat it. A physical or occupational therapist can help you learn ways to manage your symptoms.

Essential Tremor

This nerve disorder is the most common reason your coffee cup won’t stay still while you hold it. It kicks in while your hands are doing something, but goes away when they’re not. There’s no clear cause, but it’s sometimes traced to a change in a gene. If your symptoms are mild, you may not need treatment. If they get in the way of everyday tasks or your job, you may need medicine, occupational therapy, or surgery.

illustration of brain activity
4/16

Parkinson’s Disease

When you have this condition, your hand shakes because brain cells that tell your muscles to move get damaged. The shaking usually starts on one hand, but over time may spread to the other. You may also move more slowly, have trouble with balance, or find that your arms and legs stiffen up. The main treatment for Parkinson’s tremors is medication and sometimes surgery for better muscle control.

illustration of damaged myelin
4/16

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

This condition damages a coating on your nerves called myelin. When this happens, you may get symptoms that include shaking in your hands or other parts of your body. Medicine is the most common way to treat it. A physical or occupational therapist can help you learn ways to manage your symptoms.

photo of thyroid exam
4/16

Overactive Thyroid (Hyperthyroidism)

Have you had your thyroid hormone levels checked lately? Shaky hands may be a sign of hyperthyroidism. This means your thyroid gland is working too hard and kicking your heart rate into high gear. You may also notice that you lose weight without trying, are sensitive to light, get a fast heartbeat, and have trouble sleeping. A simple blood test will help you and your doctor figure out what’s going on.

Too Much Caffeine

Can’t do without your morning coffee? Have a cup or two, then cut yourself off. Caffeine is a stimulant, so the same natural chemical that helps you wake up will also make your hands shake if you have too much. Coffee isn’t the only culprit. You can also find caffeine in over-the-counter headache medicine, chocolate, and some sodas.

Alcohol Withdrawal

If you have an addiction to alcohol, you could get symptoms that include shaky hands when you quit. It starts as soon as 10 hours after your last drink and can last a few weeks. Some detox programs use medication to help you manage withdrawal symptoms.

Lack of Sleep

You can’t expect a car to run if you don’t give it gas. And you can’t expect your brain to send messages to all the right places without sleep. When you don’t get enough shut-eye, it can cause your brain to mistakenly tell your hands to tremble. Luckily, you can snooze your way back to steady hands.

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