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Reasons why People Experience Shaky Hands (Hand Tremors) and Available Remedies

Updated on December 29, 2016

Shaky hands syndrome

Shaky hands
Shaky hands

Causes of shaky hands

Have you ever imagined what the world would be like, and what you would do, if you were to wake up one day to discover that you are doing things out of your will? This entails: not being able to speak when you really would like to; being unable to stretch forth your hand and receive a handshake when it is the courteous thing to do; failing to smile, no matter how hard you try; failing to take a couple of steps to your bathroom, and so on.

Aha… I get the feeling that you are hesitant to imagine the prospect, let alone consider what you would do under the circumstances. Sadly, the scenario I have just described is the reality for many people across the globe. They live this reality whenever they notice that their hands are shaking without their willing it. Today, I want to explore the reason why people experience shaky hands and some remedies for the condition. But to start us off, let’s carefully examine what “shaky hands” is.

What are shaky hands?

Shaking hands, also known as hand tremors, refers to involuntary rhythmic movements in the hands, be they at rest or in action. The involuntary movements in the hands are a result of complications in certain parts of the brain that are responsible for the movement of muscles in the hands.

Let’s take the example of Perkins, a healthy 50-year old man who lives with his 10-year old son in the suburbs of Shanghai. Usually, Perkins expresses his disapproval of his little kid’s to-be-expected silly behavior by hitting his hand on the family dining table and showing a stern face. Perkins is able to hit his hands on the table and show a stern face because certain cells in his brain, called neurons, signal the muscles in his hands and face to perform the action.

If, for some reason, the neurons in Perkins’ brain become impaired, they will either send the signals the wrong way or not send the signals at all. Consequently, Perkins will have to find another way to disapprove of his child’s escapades.

While shaky hands syndrome can occur at any age, the condition is most prevalent among middle-aged people. To help you to understand the causes of hand tremors, and potential remedies for it, it is important that I set things in the context of tremors in general in the rest of the post.

Essential Tremor

First is Essential Tremor, a very common form of tremor. This type of tremor is mild, and most prevalent among people aged 40 years. Essential tremor affects mostly the hands but it won’t shy away from the head, tongue, voice and legs.

As far as the head is concerned, someone with Essential Tremor will, without realizing it, nod his head, as if to respond yes or no to a proposal. The shaking may get worse with time, however it often does not.

Essential Tremor is caused by degeneration in a part of the brain called Cerebellum. The cerebellum is that part of the brain that’s credited with the coordination and timing of our actions. The cerebellum also contributes to our ability to pay attention to our actions. Therefore a person who is experiencing Essential Tremors will be shaking his hands, head, tongue, voice or legs without even realizing it.

Shaky hands could be caused by Parkinson disease

Shaky hands syndrome
Shaky hands syndrome

Parkinsonian Tremors

Another reason why an individual might experience shaky hands could be a result of Parkinsonian Tremors. This tremor occurs when the muscles are at rest, and mostly affects the hands, lips and legs. It derives its name from the fact that it’s the primary symptom of Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the human central nervous system.

This type of tremor, usually experienced by people aged 60 years and above, has a rather interesting movement; the patient rubs his or her thumb finger on the forefinger as if there’s a pill in between them. Therefore shaking of the hands in this style could be a symptom of an underlying condition, Parkinson’s disease.

Other causes of shaky hands

Sometimes, however, shaky hands can be a consequence of the following:

  • Fear or anxiety
  • Hypoglycemia, a deficiency of energy-producing sugar in the blood
  • Hyperthyroidism, excess activity of the thyroid gland in the neck region
  • Physical exhaustion or tiredness
  • Withdrawal from stimulating substances, such as from alcohol, cocaine and caffeine
  • Fever, which is shivering associated with an increase in the body’s temperature so that it can fight off a disease.

These types of tremors, known as physiological tremors, are not caused by problems with certain parts of the brain. Instead, they are the body’s natural way of responding to the circumstances described early on.


Having described the causes of hand tremors, it is easy to see that there are no known cures for them. However, if they are Essential, they can be cured with anticonvulsant drugs, such as nadolo.

Have you experienced shaky hands syndrome before?

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    • Enoch Kane profile image

      Enoch Kane 12 months ago from Ghana

      Moolake, I suggest you take your son to see the doctor again. Such conditions should be taken seriously.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 12 months ago from America

      I had shaky hands as a teen. Later I had heart attacks and after being put on medication for the heart attacks my shaky hands went away. I notice them once in awhile now when I get nervous. My son also had shaky hands. He had scans the doctor found no reason for his shaky hands and determined his tremors were inherited from me. He was put on medication but he didn't like the way it made him feel and went off. His tremors are pretty bad.