WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

Embarrassing Bodies, 11:20pm Tuesday 2nd September 2014 on More 4. Catch up for free on 4oD »

Conditions

Benign Essential Tremor

Benign Essential Tremor

Benign essential tremor sends your hands to jelly. Tremor quite simply causes your hands to shake – considerably and constantly, thus shattering any aspirations of a career in brain surgery. Whilst it might not sound that serious if the condition deteriorates those afflicted may find it increasingly problematic to carry out the simplest of tasks such as writing, using cutlery, and – let’s not shy away from it – wiping their bum. Benign Essential Tremor has a habit of flaring up and becoming worse when a person is stressed, tired, angry, anxious, hot or cold. A high level of adrenaline in the body can also heighten the shaking as can caffeine and some prescribed medicines. It isn’t just the hands that can be affected; infrequently the voice, face and upper body have known to suffer too though there is some release as tremor usually fades when resting or moving. If the tremor is so bad that it’s affecting your day-to-day life then there are a few things that can ease the symptoms. Beta blockers, anti-convulsants or even a deep brain simulator have all proven affective in a high percentage of cases and (whilst it should in no way be relied upon) one or two units of alcohol have been shown to temporarily relieve the tremor completely, which can be particularly helpful before you give that important speech, or go out on that big date.

Comments and Questions

You can share your experiences and thoughts with other Embarrassing Bodies site-users below. Comments & Questions are reviewed by moderators, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

Hi,My name is Roy and I have been a Manager for 20 years, 3 years ago I went to my doctors as I found that the slight shaking in my right hand was getting so bad my writing was becoming corrugated and looks as though a child wrote it. I was after tests told that I had a benign tremor and put on primidone 250mg one twice a day. Having taken them for about a year I found that there was no change and my hand still shook, I have stopped taking any medication for this my hand still shakes and due to my writing I am no longer able to hold a job as a manager. I now have developed a sharp stabbing pain in both parts of this arm upper & lower and not sure if this is connected. thanks





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi I am 57 and for the last few week noticed a hidden tremor, I can feel the tremor inside my body all over moor when i am laying in deb relaxing, but it is not visible unless I hold a piece of paper over my hands and then you can see the sheet moving. I have been to my Dr and am awaiting results from a blood test. I am under a neulogical hospital as I have a trapped nerve on one side where I have a disc prolapse this happened 3 years ago so have not linked the tremors to that. I also suffer from pins and needles in my left hand (same side as my prolapse) I have tried gabapentin and pregabalin but not helped so now on tizanidine which I have just started to help with the cramps, the hospital said the medication might help my other problems as this medication is a muscle relaxant. Will let you know if any thing helps. Good luck everyone with finding something that helps you





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi I am 57 and for the last few week noticed a hidden tremor, I can feel the tremor inside my body all over moor when i am laying in deb relaxing, but it is not visible unless I hold a piece of paper over my hands and then you can see the sheet moving. I have been to my Dr and am awaiting results from a blood test. I am under a neulogical hospital as I have a trapped nerve on one side where I have a disc prolapse this happened 3 years ago so have not linked the tremors to that. I also suffer from pins and needles in my left hand (same side as my prolapse) I have tried gabapentin and pregabalin but not helped so now on tizanidine which I have just started to help with the cramps, the hospital said the medication might help my other problems as this medication is a muscle relaxant. Will let you know if any thing helps. Good luck everyone with finding something that helps you





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi, My dear late husband began to get shaky hands around a year before he died in June, two months ago. I often saw his hands shake and wondered why, especially four days before his death, when we were playing Pitch and Put with our older son and granddaughter, when he should have been very happy. You mention about stress being a cause, which could have quite easily been the cause, as he was also suffering from financial problems. He had been taking medication for blood pressure from his mid thirties also cholesterol medication. If stress was the cause I am happy that he is now at rest from his concerns. Catherine





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Thanks but what medicine can i take to reduce the roblem?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi there George. I have had the problem for years and I went to the doctors about it and after a long time they relised how much it affected me. I have now been put on propanolol. It's a great drug and stops the shakes almost completely.

I am George, i always have problem with my hands when i write especially when people are watching me, what can i do to stop me?





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I am dying of embarrassment. am in school for nursing, am the best in my class but I can never do a presentation in class without panicking. I have hard time during sign offs because i know for sure i will panic. my class mates have laughed at me, my instructors think am not confident enough please help me am too embarrassed to even eat in public. I NEED medication for this





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Go to a neurologist, if none of the medications work, they can use botox to help your tremors.

Hi I hope that you can help me, I have had a shaky chin all of my life, My younger sister and my daughter has also had this al of their lives, I am 41my sister is 36 and my daughter is 15, this seems to effect me daily and is off an on I have not really taken notice of when it does effect me, but I know that if I am anxious, nervous or under pressure that it trembles as if I am extremely cold. Would you be able to advise on any medication for this or any options it will be highly appreciated





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.


Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

I'm looking for information regarding my mom. Last year she started having these "fits" "shakes" "tremors" we just don't know what to call them. Normally they start when she gets tired or too hot. Her hands shake bad, for her bad "spells" her legs and head and hands shake. Ice on her neck seems to make them go away quicker. She has emphysema if that helps. Been to many many doctors, not been very helpful so far, really sad that i need to find out myself. she doesn't have Parkinsons, she had EEG and its not seizures. They have her very depressed. She had a bath (lukewarm) this morning and it started. she has no energy and gets tired quick. she did stop her acid reflux meds and they stopped for 3 months (except once) and her doctor said thats not it and go back on it. help please





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Hi, I am Antionette. I have had my head shaking, so much that other people would notice it. I occasionally have severe headaches with tremors in my left arm and hand. This has been for a few years now and seemed to be getting worse especially when I stressed. Any suggestions.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.


Please don't swear or be rude in your answers, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting answers. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

Im cathy, I have had the same thing but on my right side for over 4.5 years. I have severe headaches also and arm/shoulder pain, can't sleep. When they get so bad, I lay down, if i'm sitting watching tv, I put a pillow behind my neck any time I can. I also sit with my head on my hand if I'm out eating. I pivit my arm on any table or dresser to put on makeup and to eat. When I write, I use my other hands thumb and put it agains the tremor hand and it helps. I've had PT, OT and see a Neurologist,, just trying different meds. You may need an antidepressant. I wear my soft collar when driving, or riding in a car because the tremors get worse with bumps..or I will use my headrest and push my head against it. I try to sit up streight all the time. Massages do help with the spasms, and to relax the muscles(even for a little while). Hope some of this helps anyone.

I have a shaky head and hands look up essential tremors on internet it will give you ideals of what you can do to ease them but they are not curable, when you have looked have a word with your doctor. I have tried Primedone but do not like the side affects so I have stopped taking it. I am thinking of having botox which can help





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your comment.



Please don’t swear or be rude in your comments, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting comments. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines

It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





This will be published. Surnames, nicknames or usernames are not allowed


Your email address will be kept confidential and will NOT be published – it is only being collected here in case Channel 4 need to contact you in relation to your answer.



Please don't swear or be rude in your questions, as they will not be added to the site. Please do not use your full name when posting questions. If in doubt, refer to the community guidelines

Questions submitted to the site will be answered by other site users, not by medical professionals, so if you have a medical concern, please book an appointment with your GP.

By posting on this website you are agreeing to abide by our community guidelines


Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here


More Information

  1. In Detail: Sweaty Hands

    In Videos - An in detail look at the operation to cure a case of hiperhidrosis…

  2. Doctor Responses: Blushing

    In Videos - Dr Dawn Harper casts her expert eye over your most common queries.

  3. Episode 2 - London

    In Episodes - This week's Embarrassing Bodies takes on the capital as the mobile…

  4. Doctor Responses: Alopecia and Hair Loss

    In Videos - Your most common questions about alopecia, answered by the EB doctors.

  5. Quick Health Advice: Stress Incontinence

    In Videos - Dr Harper discusses stress incontinence and what can be done to sto…

  6. Consultation: Urinary Incontinence

    In Videos - Dr Jessen meets a woman whose problem bladder is ruling her life, b…


Be On Embarrassing Bodies

The clinic is opening again for a new series.
Apply for Embarrassing Bodies >