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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Essential tremor

Ngāueue rahirahi

TremorEssential tremor (also called familial or benign tremor) is an uncontrollable shaking of part of the body. For most people with essential tremor, it's their hands that shake, especially when trying to do tasks such as holding a cup, writing or shaving.

Sometimes, essential tremor may also affect the person's voice, head, arms or legs.

Essential tremor affects around four in 100 adults and tends to get worse with age. It can also run in families.

Diagnosing essential tremor

If you have a new tremor, you should see your general practice team. Your general practice team will do an assessment to find out if your tremor is benign or if it's caused by another condition.

Treating essential tremor

There is no cure for essential tremor. But avoiding things like cigarettes, caffeine and stress can help.

Other ways to help you control your tremor include:

If these simple measures aren't helping your tremor, your general practice team may offer medication, which can help.

If your tremor is becoming very bad, it may make driving difficult. You should talk to your general practice team about this if you or others are concerned about your ability to drive safely.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2022.

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Review key: HIEST-19705