Tremors – Definition

Tremor is an involuntary, throbbing oscillatory (to-and-fro) movement of the muscle in one or multiple regions of the body.  Tremors can affect the legs, trunks, voice, face, head, arms and hands and is the most often experienced involuntary movement of the body. A lot of tremors happen in the hands.  In certain individuals, tremor can be a sign/symptom of a neurological disorder or a side effect of certain medications.  Anyone can experience tremors. Curiously, the most common form of tremor, occur in healthy people.  This condition is not serious although it may be a cause for embarrassment for those who have it and make it difficult to do regular tasks and activities.

One of the best ways to describe and understand tremors is to define them based on their types. Resting tremor happens when muscles are relaxed (i.e., when the hands are hanging next to the trunk when walking or standing or when the hands are resting on the lap. Tremors can also be the shaking of the limb regardless If the person is resting or not.  Usually this condition occurs in the fingers or hands and is most often seen in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease. A tremor that happens during movement of an affected part of the body is called an action tremor. Action tremor has many sub-classifications. A tremor that happens when you maintain a position against gravity (like outstretched arms) is defined as a postural tremor. Tremor that is seen during movement of a body part (such as moving the wrists up and down) is known as a kinetic tremor. Intention tremor is defined as an intentional movement toward a target like touching your finger to your nose during a medical exam. Tremor that occurs when speaking, handwriting or any highly skilled task is classified as a task-specific tremor. A tremor occurring during voluntary muscle contractions not accompanied by any type of movement is called isometric tremor.

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