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Essential tremor, also known as benign essential tremor is an involuntary (i.e. it happens without your consciousness) and uncontrolled shaking movement of your body parts. It is a very common disorder and doesn’t cause any serious health issues. It is sometimes confused with Parkinson’s tremor as both the conditions share common symptoms.

Essential tremor is a brain disorder which usually affects a part of your body. Most commonly hands and forearms are affected. The other parts which can get affected include head, neck face, tongue, and torso. Rarely legs and feet can also get affected.


Tremors which occur with essential tremor can range from mild to severe. It can affect any side of the body and with different intensity.

It often causes small and rapid movements (usually about 5 times per second) which are especially noticeable during activities. Tremors can occur occasionally, or frequently or constantly.

Essential tremor symptoms in different parts of the body are:

  • A noticeable shaking movement of the hands and the arms while doing simple activities with your hands (for example drinking, eating, writing, drawing, etc.).
  • Tremors in the neck are visible as up-and-down or side-to-side motion.
  • Tremors in parts of your face cause twitching of the part (for example, eye twitching).
  • Tremors in the tongue can cause a quivering voice while speaking.
  • In legs and feet, tremors can lead to an imbalance, difficulty in gait and an abnormal appearance while standing or walking.


There are no underlying essential tremors causes. The exact cause of tremors is not known. However, it is believed to be due to certain genetic and environmental factors.

Tremors caused by an overactive thyroid, alcohol abuse, stroke, certain neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease are not considered as essential tremors.

Tremors can worsen due to certain factors including stress, fatigue, hunger, smoke, extreme climatic conditions, caffeinated drinks, etc.

Risk factors

Age: Tremors can affect a person at any age but is more common in elderly people especially above 40 years of age.

Genetics: Genes are also known to play a role in causing tremors. The chance of you passing this disorder to your child is nearly 50%.

Gender: Tremors can equally affect both the genders.