When a tremor is normal

It's normal to have a slight tremor. For example, if you hold your hands or arms out in front of you, they will not be completely still.

Sometimes a tremor becomes more noticeable.

This often happens:

  • as you get older
  • when you're stressed, tired, anxious or angry
  • after drinking caffeine (for example, in tea, coffee or cola) or smoking
  • if you're very hot or cold

Some medicines and conditions can also cause a tremor. Speak to your GP before you stop taking any prescribed medicine.

See a GP if:

you have a tremor or shaking hands and:

  • it's getting worse over time
  • it's affecting your daily activities

Your doctor will want to make sure the tremor is not caused by another condition. They may also be able to offer treatment.

Treating a severe tremor

If you have a tremor that's affecting your life, your GP may prescribe medicine. Medicine will not cure the tremor, but it often helps to reduce the shaking or trembling.

You may need to take medicine all the time, or only when you need it – for example, before a stressful situation that causes your tremor to get worse.

If a tremor is affecting your head or voice, you may be offered injections to block the nerves and relax the muscles.

In rare cases, brain surgery may be an option to treat a severe tremor that is not helped by medicine.

Read more about brain surgery for severe tremor on the National Tremor Foundation (NTF) website

The NTF also offers support and information on tremor if it's affecting your life.

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