6 Reasons Why Your Hands Are Shaking

If you’ve ever wondered why your hands are shaking during that dreaded job interview, first date, or other highly inappropriate moment, welcome to the club. We’ve all been there and wanted to shake our fists at our bodies for bad timing or just plain WTF.

Interestingly, your hand shakes a lot more than you’d expect. In fact, you always have a trembling little hand. “If you put electrodes on people’s fingers … you can record very fine, tiny vibrations,” Andrew S. Fagin, MD, executive director of the Marlene and Paolo Fresco Institute for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders in Langone, New York, told Self Health. says.

Tremors are rhythmic, involuntary contractions of your muscles that cause one or more parts of your body to shake, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). It’s more likely to occur in your hands, but it can also affect the arms, head, trunk, legs, and vocal cords. (Hello, shaky voice! It’s nice to see you pop up when you’re not usually welcome.)

Even as you read this, you are experiencing something called a physiological vibration. This may seem a little worrisome, but it really isn’t. This means that your body, an endless source of surprises, vibrates a little like a heartbeat as a result of the physical work required to keep you alive, NINDS explains.

The problem comes when your tremors are shaking in a way that your hands are basically dependent on you. Here are a few possible causes — and when you should see a doctor for an evaluation.

  1. Lack of sleep can exacerbate your body’s normal tremors and cause your hands to start shaking noticeably.
    Pinky Agarwal, a member of the American Academy of Neurology and a clinical professor of neurology at the University of Washington, says HERSELF that sleep deprivation increases your body’s normal vibrations.

This is often referred to by experts as physiological tremors, when your body’s normally imperceptible tremors become more noticeable for some reason (as opposed to the body shaking noticeably due to an underlying medical condition).

When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that lack of sleep can lead to obvious tremors. Sleep is the cornerstone of your health, and not getting enough sleep (at least seven hours a day for those 18 and older) can have a significant impact on your autonomic nervous system (ANS). According to the US National Library of Medicine, the ANS, also known as your involuntary nervous system, controls your internal organs and does so much to keep you alive that it basically deserves a medal. Your ANS regulates processes like your heart rate and blood pressure, which may increase if you’re sleep-deprived. This can eventually lead to more noticeable vibrations.

In this case, more sleep may be needed to get rid of the tremors, says Dr. Agarwal, M.D., a movement disorder neurologist at Evergreen Health in Kirkland, Washington. This is easier said than done for some people. If you can cut back on sleep because of a huge work project and get back to your normal routine as quickly as possible, then by all means do it. If you have a major sleep problem, such as chronic insomnia, you should seek help from your doctor.

  1. Too much caffeine, nicotine, or other stimulants can make your hands shake.
    Like excessive fatigue, too much caffeine can increase normal physiological vibrations. Nicotine can do the same thing. This is due to their stimulating properties, explains Dr. Feigin. Factors such as your heart rate increase physiological tremors, so overdosing on stimulants that affect these processes may make your tremors more noticeable.
  2. You may be taking medication that makes your hands shake.
    According to the US National Library of Medicine, tremors are often described as occurring when trying to move or hold the arms, hands, or head in certain positions.

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Many medications can cause these tremors by affecting your nervous system and muscles, according to the US National Library of Medicine. These include some anti-seizure medications, asthma medications, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs, the most common antidepressants), and others. If you’ve started a new medication and are experiencing tremors that worry you, talk to your doctor about your options.

  1. Your anxiety may increase and your hands may shake.
    If you’ve ever given a speech and noticed your notes, tre

It won’t surprise you that it’s rustling like a leaf in your hand. Anxiety increases normal physiological tremors, says Dr. Feigin. In addition to controlling involuntary body processes, the autonomic nervous system also affects flight or fight, which is activated in neural response.

When you’re stressed, your sympathetic nervous system (part of your autonomic nervous system) releases norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that can increase your heart rate. This in turn will visibly shake your hand.

  1. In addition to physiological tremors, your hands may also be shaking due to something else, such as a movement disorder known as essential tremor.
    There are many vibrations that do not fall into the enhanced physiological category. The most common form is essential tremor, says Dr. Agarwal. According to the NINDS, essential tremor is a movement disorder of unknown cause, but some experts believe it is due to a slight deterioration in the parts of the brain that control movement. There may be a genetic component; If one of your parents has essential tremor, the NINDS notes that you’re more likely to have it, too.

The biggest symptom of essential tremor is a noticeable tremor in both your hands and arms, which may start on one side or be more severe in your dominant hand or arm. Whether you are standing or doing something, you can feel the vibration. “For some people, it can be a very specific action,” says Dr. Agarwal. This means that essential tremors can get worse when doing things like holding a glass of water in your mouth, writing notes, or using a computer. (According to the Mayo Clinic, this is the key to distinguishing essential tremor from Parkinson’s disease, when the tremors are at their most severe, when your arms are at your sides or in your lap.) Essential tremors also cause your head to shake. leading to a “yes” or “no” movement or a trembling voice.

Although essential tremor is usually not harmful to your health, it can get worse as you get older and make it difficult to do everyday tasks like eating and holding hands, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you think you have essential tremor, see your doctor for testing and diagnosis. There are various medications that can help prevent tremors, or at least reduce their intensity.

  1. May have psychological tremors associated with mental health conditions such as depression.
    Such vibrations are a little mysterious. People with psychogenic tremors often have a mental illness, such as depression or PTSD. When a person with this condition experiences psychological tremors, it is called a conversion disorder, in which psychological problems cause physical symptoms for unknown reasons.

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Psychogenic tremors can affect your entire body, including your hands. According to the NINDS, it comes on suddenly, gets worse when you’re stressed, and gets better when you’re distracted. “A person may have a tremor, and then if you do something else that requires attention, the tremor goes away,” says Dr. Feigin. “Typically, if there’s anything that distracts a person with physiological type tremors, it’s the tremors. It will actually increase the tremors.”

If you think you have psychotic tremors, the biggest help is treating the underlying problem, says Dr. Agarwal. This may be through therapy or medication—your primary care doctor or mental health professional can help you figure out what’s best for you.

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