Overview of Tremor

Tremor is involuntary trembling involving a certain part of the body. Essential tremor (ET) is tremor that occurs with purposeful movement (e.g., holding a glass to drink, shaving, writing, or buttoning a shirt). It occurs most often in the hands and head but it also can affect the arms, voice box (larynx), trunk, and legs.

Essential tremor is caused by abnormalities in areas of the brain that control movement and does not occur as the result of disease (e.g., Parkinson's disease). ET usually does not result in serious complications.

Incidence and Prevalence

Essential tremor affects approximately 5 million people in the United States. Incidence is highest in people over the age of 60.

Publication Review By: Jean-Raphael Schneider, M.D., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 02 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 24 May 2011