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Shaky Hands: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

Shaky hands causes symptoms & treatment

Shaky hands also referred to as hand tremors are among the most common conditions affecting millions of people across the world. This condition occurs at any age due to several underlying causes although is usually linked to growing age. Shaky hands are not life-threatening but can substantially influence regular activities, making tasks like eating, holding any object, or writing difficult. 

In this blog, we will dig deep into understanding shaky hands, their types, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options to manage this condition efficiently.

What Are Shaky Hands?

Shaky hands are determined by automatic, rhythmic muscle contractions causing shaky movements in one or both hands. This condition differs in severity, prevalence, and influence on day-to-day life. Hand tremors can be temporary or consistent, and their existence signifies various underlying health problems or physiological conditions.

Everyone experiences physiological tremors at some point in life, but are nearly imperceptible tremors; however, some individuals experience severe shaking making their daily functions challenging such as eating, writing, or holding items.

What are the Types of Shaky Hands?

There are several types of hand tremors, each with distinct characteristics and causes. The most common types include:

Type of Tremor Initial Symptoms Progressive Symptoms
Essential Tremor The most common type, which is congenital and affects both hands. The condition tends to deteriorate with movement and gets better with proper rest.
Parkinsonian Tremor Associated with Parkinson’s disease, this variant is triggered at rest and starts in one hand.  As the condition goes downhill, it spreads to the other hand and other parts of the body.
Cerebellar Tremor Occurs due to cerebellum damage, this tremor arises during voluntary movements like reaching for an object. This variant can be serious as it impacts coordination and balance.
Dystonic Tremor Related to dystonia, this type is a movement disorder causing involuntary muscle contractions. It may impact any part of the body and may turn severe in particular postures or movements.
Physiologic Tremor Usually experienced by every individual, these tend to be nearly unnoticeable This worsens over time due to caffeine, anxiety, fatigue, or some medications.

What Are Shaky Hands Symptoms?

The main symptom of shaky hands is the involuntary tremor or shaking of one or both hands. Other symptoms involved with shaky hands are:

  • Tremors at rest, decreased facial expressions, stiffness, and slow motions.
  • Trembling during intended movement, along with problems like balance, speech, and coordination.
  • A rapid tremor in the hand 
  • Finger movements that emerge like rhythmic shaking
  • Shaking when at rest 
  •  Shaking worsens even without anxiety

What Are Shaky Hands Causes?

Decreased control over bodily movements is identified to be the main contributor to hand tremors and is related to different issues such as weariness, stress, drug side effects, medical illnesses, or mental health disorders. Additionally, other causes of shaky hands are: 

  • Movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease 
  • Seizures
  • Infections 
  • Fever 
  • Electrolyte imbalances 
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome, pinched nerve, or arthritis 
  • Medication side effects 
  • Neurological conditions such as brain tumors, meningitis, Huntington’s disease, encephalitis, multiple sclerosis, or stroke 
  • Brain injury 
  • Overactive thyroid 
  • Consumption of heavy caffeine 
  • Genetic reasons such as Wilson’s disease 
  • Mercury poisoning from the food
  • Anxiety 
  • Alcohol abuse

What are Shaky Hands Risk Factors?

There are several risk factors that increase the probability of shaky hands, such as:

  • Age: However, shaky hands can occur at any age, tremors are identified to be most common in elder individuals. 
  • Family History: Vulnerability to this condition arises if there is a history of essential tremors or other neurological conditions in the family.
  • Medical History: People with disorders like dystonia, Parkinson’s disease, and hyperthyroidism are prone to shaky hands.
  • Drugs and Substance Abuse: Shaky hands can be caused by the regular use of some drugs or by refraining from substances like alcohol. 

How Are Shaky Hands Diagnosed?

To diagnose shaky hands, the healthcare professional involves comprehensive medical assessment, including:

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: To identify the attributes of shaky hands, the healthcare expert studies the patient’s medical history including family history.
  • Neurological Assessment: It involves assessing the testing of reflexes, sensitivity, muscle strength, coordination, and balance.
  • Blood Tests: These tests assist in identifying the presence of underlying diseases like thyroid anomalies or metabolic issues.
  • Imaging Tests: The healthcare expert often performs imaging tests such as CT scans, MRIs, etc. to rule out structural anomalies in the brain.
  • Electrophysiological Testing: It assists in measuring the electrical activity in muscles and nerves to determine anomalies. 

What Are Shaky Hands Treatment Options?

The underlying causes and the severity of the tremors identify the course of treatment for shaky hands. Some of the commonly involved options are:

  • Medications: Beta-blockers, anti-seizure drugs, Parkinson’s medications, benzodiazepine, and anticholinergic medications are the recommendations to reduce the severity of shaky hands and muscle contractions. 
  • Therapies: It involve physical and occupational therapy. While physical therapy helps in improving muscle control and coordination, occupational therapy assists in managing day-to-day tasks.
  • Lifestyle Changes: To reduce tremors, people with shaky hands must refrain from consuming caffeine, manage stress, and get proper rest. For improved stabilization of hands during any activity, weighted utensils or wrist weights are useful. 
  • Surgical Options: For severe tremors, deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective surgical treatment that involves device implantation stimulating the brain regions accountable for electrical impulse movement. Radiofrequency ablation, a minimally invasive surgical procedure helps in offering relief to patients with shaky hands. Also, referred to as rhizotomy, this procedure targets the ventral intermediate nucleus to reduce the severity and frequency of shaky hands.


Shaky hands can be more than just a little nuisance as they can interfere with your daily life and wear away your level of confidence. Comprehending the causes and treatments helps to manage the condition efficiently. Each type of shaky hands has several causes, whether it’s due to genetics, neurological problems, or lifestyle factors. Fortunately,  modern medicine nowadays is offering us several solutions, from medications to innovative therapies. You can find ways to stabilize your hands and regain control over daily tasks by learning more and seeking expert guidance.

At the CK Birla Hospital, we ensure patients get holistic medical support which includes treatment in a compassionate environment. This patient-centric approach not only helps patients heal better but also ensures they are aware of the preventive measures as well. In case you need to consult a cardiologist, reach out to us, or book a direct appointment at the CK Birla Hospital. 

FAQs about Shaky Hands

Are shaky hands always a sign of a serious condition?

Usually, shaky hands don’t signify serious condition, however, they are a symptom of conditions like multiple sclerosis, dystonia, or Parkinson’s disease. Also, they arise due to a stroke or traumatic brain injury. Hence, it is always a good idea to seek professional advice if you are regularly experiencing them.

How can I tell if my hand tremors are serious?

If shaky hands are disrupting your day-to-day tasks such as drinking, writing, eating, phone dialing, etc. then it is a sign that you must visit your doctor to test for neurological or metabolic abnormalities

Can essential tremors be cured?

For essential tremors, no cure is available to date, however, with the right treatment options like medication, lifestyle changes, stress management, etc. you can suppress the tremors. 

Are there any natural remedies for hand tremors?

Natural remedies that can be involved for hand tremors are relaxation methods, avoiding triggers, entailing hand exercises, using assistive devices, and stress management to reduce tremors. 

What should I do if I experience sudden hand tremors?

Be calm and keep note of additional signs if you suddenly experience hand tremors. Make sure you get sufficient sleep, limit caffeine intake, and manage your stress. Seek clinical intervention immediately to identify the reason and start therapy if they are accompanied by other symptoms.

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