My hands shake just like my dad’s did. Should I be worried? | by Dr. Aaron Haug

Posted on Tue, Feb 16, 2016


Barry Staver

Dr. Aaron Haug

As a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders, this is something that I often hear from my patients. Tremor refers to rhythmic shaking of a body part; it most commonly affects the hands but can also affect the legs, trunk or jaw. Tremor can range from a mild inconvenience to a more serious neurological condition.

Physiological tremor is a benign condition that can affect anyone under certain conditions, such as drinking too much coffee or speaking in public. Essential tremor often runs in families and causes a tremor that is most notable with activities, such as writing, using a utensil to eat, or drinking from a full glass. Parkinson disease tends to cause a resting tremor, which is most notable when the hands are relaxed, and is associated with other symptoms such as slowness and muscle rigidity.

If you have a tremor about which you are concerned, first discuss it with your primary care provider. A referral to a movement disorders neurologist may be of additional benefit to help distinguish between the different causes of tremor based on examination, as well as to discuss treatments that can be helpful for each of these conditions if necessary.


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