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Tremor

Medical Director, Neurologist

Tremors can be a nuisance. Tremors can interfere in things we like to do on a regular basis such as drinking coffee, eating, writing, even driving.

Tremors worry people because it is a common and well-known sign of Parkinson Disease. But the more common reason for tremor is a benign, but progressive, tremor called an essential tremor. It is an essential tremor when it is not associated with an underlying process such as thyroid disease, nutritional deficiencies, or medications, or a neurodegenerative disorder. Often times, essential tremor runs in families but not always.

Tremors should always be evaluated by a physician first as there may be a cause of the tremor that can be specifically treated. Commonly used medications for tremor control include propranolol, primidone, and some anti-epileptics. If the tremor is mild and not preventing us from engaging in activities of daily living, it is reasonable to first try to treat and, perhaps more importantly, prevent or minimize its progression with more natural and alternative approaches.

Some of these approaches include:

  1. Balance blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia can both be triggers for tremor. Those who are particularly sensitive to the highs and lows of blood sugar should strive to maintain a consistent balance. You do not have to be diabetic to have physical responses to fluctuations in blood glucose levels.
  2. Caffeine. Avoidance of caffeine is very helpful to many who are sensitive to the activating effects of caffeine.
  3. Essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are beneficial for the nerves of both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Theoretically, those that are deficient in dietary EFAs may find a worsening of their tremor.
  4. Magnesium. Subclinical magnesium deficiencies are fairly common and can cause a wide range of physical disorders including migraines, neuropathies, and tremors. Supplementation can help to minimize the presence of tremor.
  5. Zinc and Copper. Zinc and copper deficiencies are well-known causes of tremor and workup always includes levels of both. Low-frequency tremors can sometimes be seen even with normal blood levels of these elements. Supplementation can help to resolve tremors at best or prevent an increase in its severity.
  6. Calcium. A common supplement for restless legs and other mild movement disorders, calcium supplementation can be very useful for managing tremors.

Please seek guidance and dosage recommendations from your provider as essential tremors do not always have to be tolerated. There may be help and you deserve it.

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