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Shaking Hands: Causes and Treatments

Ever tap your feet when you’re feeling impatient? Notice your hands shaking when you’re trying to concentrate? While these habits appear to be a natural bodily response, ongoing tremors are not. So you may be asking yourself, “Why are my hands shaking?”

Have you observed constant shaking hands while carrying out simple, daily tasks? Or do you find that your hands won’t stop shaking, even when you try to make them?  

If these tremors have begun to disrupt your daily life, you’re probably eager to find out how to stop shaking hands. Read on for the most common shaking hand causes and ways to deal with the problem. 

What is a tremor?

A tremor is defined as a type of movement disorder. When your hands are shaking, it’s likely the result of involuntary, rhythmic muscle contractions. Hand tremors usually fall into one of two categories:

  • Active tremors: They happen only when you use your muscles (e.g., if you’re holding an object or writing). 
  • Resting tremors: They happen only when you’re not using your muscles (e.g., while you’re sleeping or relaxing).

The frequency of your hand shaking is classified as either intermittent or constant:

  • Intermittent: Your hands are shaking from time to time.
  • Constant: Your hands are shaking at all times, during periods of rest and activity.

Lastly, hand tremors can be characterized by varying degrees of severity, which include:

  • Slight: Your hand shaking is barely noticeable, and doesn’t interfere with basic tasks like holding a coffee cup. Tremors seem to worsen if you hold your hands straight out in front of you. 
  • Moderate: Your hand shaking is more pronounced, making it a bit tougher to do certain things, such as write or hold on to an object. 
  • Severe: Your hands won’t stop shaking, and these very noticeable tremors prevent you from being able to write or securely grasp items. 

Though it isn’t life-threatening, having constant shaking hands is embarrassing, and may indicate a deeper problem. Most of the time, shaking hand causes lie somewhere in your brain. Perhaps you’ve developed an illness that triggers your brain to send faulty messages to your hands. Or maybe a dietary issue is at the heart of the matter. 

Next, Flo reviews what causes shaking hands, and answers your most pressing question, “Why are my hands shaking for no reason?”

Diseases that cause shaking hands

So what causes shaking hands? Certain conditions which affect the functioning of your brain can produce hand tremors, including:

  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Traumatic brain injury 
  • Stroke 
  • Neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s disease 

If you suddenly realize your hands are shaking and you were recently diagnosed with a neurological disorder or brain injury, consult your doctor right away. Note that the medications used to treat these diseases sometimes reduce the severity of hand tremors. 

Other shaking hand causes

On occasion, hand tremors might also be attributed to one of the following:

  • An inherited genetic trait
  • Alcohol abuse/withdrawal 
  • Mercury poisoning 
  • Overactive thyroid 
  • Liver or kidney failure  
  • Anxiety 

Furthermore, certain substances and prescription drugs are commonly known to be shaking hand causes. Their repeated or routine use tends to create hand tremors, and they include:

  • Specific asthma medications
  • Caffeine
  • Amphetamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Various drugs prescribed for psychiatric and neurological disorders

Keep in mind that in some cases there is no clear-cut answer for what causes shaking hands. Essential tremors, which seem to have no direct cause, might just be the result of a genetic predisposition. 

So if you’re wondering, “why are my hands shaking for no reason?” Take a closer look at your extended family. If a relative displays hand tremors, there’s a chance that you or another family member could develop it as well.

Another possible culprit is anxiety. This phenomenon occurs in your brain, and triggers reactions throughout your entire body. Have you experienced anxiety attacks or feel like you’re under frequent and overwhelming stress? Do you sometimes look down and realize, “my hands are shaking”? 

Even a medical professional will tell you the simplest way to stop shaking hands from anxiety is relaxation. Practice deep breathing and meditation techniques to relieve tension. Reducing stress is important to your overall health and could gradually eliminate hand tremors. 

Lastly, exhaustion brought on by too much work and not enough rest impacts your body in a similar way. So if your calendar’s been jam-packed, and your diet and sleep habits are poor, you may already know the answer to, “why are my hands always shaking?” Enjoy some well-deserved time off or consider reworking your schedule. 

How to treat shaking hands

Depending on the root cause, a wide array of options exist for treating hand tremors. Individuals with a neurological disease or brain injury, for example, usually require certain medications. If you experience frequent panic attacks, and your hands won’t stop shaking, stress-relief strategies could help. Read on for more info on how to stop shaking hands. 

  • Lifestyle: Changes to your lifestyle are probably the very first thing your doctor will suggest as it’s a simple, noninvasive approach to battling hand tremors. Lowering your intake of stimulants like caffeine is a good place to start.
  • Medication: Your doctor might prescribe one of several courses of treatment, including beta-blockers, tranquilizers, anti-seizure, or Parkinson’s disease medications to address hand tremors. 
  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound therapy is a recent discovery that’s used to treat patients whose hands won’t stop shaking. It’s recommended for those experiencing essential tremors, and who haven’t responded to beta-blockers or similar drugs. 
  • Physical/occupational therapy: Exercising with weights and splints, and doing stretches improves muscle control, potentially decreasing the likelihood of tremors. An occupational therapist may even be able to teach you new ways to carry out daily tasks if your hands won’t stop shaking.
  • Surgery: This is a last resort if medication and ultrasound therapy prove ineffective, and the tremors are inhibiting your activities of daily living. Although brain surgery could stop constant shaking hands, there’s a chance it’ll also create speech and physical balance issues. 

Note that in some instances, your doctor may recommend botulinum toxin, or Botox, injections to stop tremors. Although effective, injections only last for three months, and have been known to create a feeling of weakness in your fingers, which inhibits functioning. So if Botox injections are leading you to wonder, “why are my hands shaking and weak,” be sure to consult your doctor for an alternative option. 

When to see a doctor

Though generally not life-threatening, tremors could eventually become disabling. If you haven’t made any recent changes to your lifestyle and wonder, “why are my hands shaking for no reason?”, consult your doctor. They’ll take a closer look at your overall health to see if an underlying condition is responsible for constant shaking hands. Plus, they can offer expert advice on how to stop shaking hands.

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Tremor-Fact-Sheet

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003192.htm

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/essential-tremor

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Tremor-Fact-Sheet

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