Shivering is the involuntary, rhythmic shaking of one or more parts of the body. This condition, technically called tremor, can occur temporarily (such as after consuming large amounts of caffeine) or as part of an underlying medical condition. Tremor most commonly affects the hands, but it can also affect the legs, head, trunk, or vocal cords. Tremor is not dangerous, but it can greatly affect quality of life.
This article describes tremors. Learn what causes this symptom, treats the underlying cause, and how to diagnose tremors.
The main symptom of shivering (or shivering) is involuntary shaking. Symptoms may be constant or come and go, depending on the underlying cause. For this reason, tremors are classified as resting or active.
Tremors that occur when the muscles are relaxed are called resting tremors. These usually manifest as tremors in the hands, arms, or legs.
For example, Parkinson’s disease causes resting tremors that affect the fingers. This is sometimes called pill rolling tremor because the movement of the fingers resembles a person rolling a small object between them.
Active tremor occurs when a person intentionally contracts muscles to perform a task. There are several types of active tremor, including:
- Intention tremor: This happens when someone tries to touch a particular object with their finger.
- Postural tremor: Tremor occurs when a person tries to stay in a static position, such as holding their arms overhead.
- Kinetic tremor: This type of tremor can occur with any movement, such as moving a joint back and forth or blinking.
- Task-specific tremor: Shivering occurs during higher tasks such as speaking and writing.
- Isometric tremor: This tremor causes shaking when someone holds an object in place without moving.
Tremors are also classified into different types, causing different tremor symptoms. These include:
- Essential tremor: This active tremor usually causes tremors in the arms and hands, both at rest and during movement. It is the most common type of movement disorder, but its cause is unknown.
- Dystonic tremor: This tremor occurs in a specific condition called dystonia. Tremors tend to be jerky rather than rhythmic.
- Cerebellar tremor: Tremors occur with cerebellar injury and usually occur at the end of certain movements when performing functional tasks.
- Psychogenic tremor: This type of tremor can be caused by stress and usually diminishes when the person is distracted. It often occurs with an underlying mental illness.
- Enhanced physiological tremor: This tremor is temporary and is associated with hypoglycemia (hypoglycemia), hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism), alcohol withdrawal, and certain drug use.
- Orthostatic tremor: This causes tremors in the legs, but only when standing. However, the cause of this type of tremor is unknown.
cause of tremor
Shivering can be temporary or long term. In addition to shaking the body, tremors can also affect the voice.
Temporary tremors can be caused by:
Shivering can also be caused by neurological disorders. For example:
drugs and tremors
Various medications can lead to tremors. When caused by drugs, tremors usually affect both sides of the body equally.
Examples of drugs that can cause tremors are:
how to treat tremors
Treatment for tremors depends on the underlying cause. In some situations, such as caffeine overdose or alcohol withdrawal, symptoms may resolve on their own.
Drug-induced tremors may be treated by switching to another drug. However, this is a decision that the healthcare provider must make. Sometimes the benefits of certain drugs outweigh the unpleasant side effects.
Shivering caused by other health problems often resolves when underlying conditions such as hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism, fever, and substance abuse are treated.
If the tremor is caused by a condition that cannot be treated, certain drugs can reduce the tremor. These include:
- beta-blockers (propranolol, metoprolol, sotalol, atenolol, nadolol)
- Benzodiazepines (clonazepam, alprazolam)
- botox injection
- Neurontin (Gabapentin)
In more severe cases, tremors can be treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS).
Complications of tremor
The tremor itself is harmless, but it can significantly affect your ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, dressing, driving, reading, writing, and speaking. Rehabilitation therapies, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy, can help improve function that is adversely affected by tremor.
Are there tests to diagnose tremors?
A health care provider can identify tremor by asking questions and observing symptoms. In some cases, the underlying cause can be easily traced through changes in lifestyle (such as substance use) and medications. However, additional tests are needed to diagnose underlying health conditions.
Blood tests are often done as one of the first steps in diagnosing conditions that can cause tremors. Imaging tests are also done to help diagnose neurological disorders that cause tremors.
when to see a health care provider
If you’re shivering for no apparent reason, such as excessive caffeine intake, or if it’s making your daily life difficult, talk to your healthcare provider.
A tremor, or tremor, is an involuntary shaking of a part of the body, often a tremor of the hands. It is generally harmless but may reduce quality of life or indicate an underlying medical condition. Many types of tremors cause tremors and result from a variety of situations and conditions, including excessive caffeine consumption, substance use and withdrawal, anxiety, neurodegenerative disorders, and more.
Health care providers can often diagnose tremors by asking questions and observing symptoms. However, if an underlying condition is suspected, a battery of tests may be performed to diagnose the cause. You may need medication to reduce tremors and tremors.
A word from Verywell
Shivering can occur for many reasons. Some are harmless, others are due to serious health conditions. Discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider. You may be referred to a specialist, such as a neurologist, to diagnose the cause of your tremors.
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