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Uncontrollable Shaking

Uncontrollable Shaking

Uncontrollable shaking is often the result of excess coffee intake or may be related to neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease and essential tremors.
Nicks J
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Did You Know?

Research by American Academy of Neurology shows that an easy way to substantially minimize the risk of trembling disorders such as Parkinson's disease is to have fruits like berries and grapefruit regularly.

Experiencing shaky hands or legs frequently when carrying out your day-to-day tasks may indicate a neurological disorder. This involuntary movement can be quite bothersome, especially when it prevents you from working to your full capacity. This trembling of a specific part of the body usually does not last long and goes away in a few minutes.
Why Do I Get Tremors?
Physical Fatigue

Exercise-induced fatigue is yet another possible reason behind onset of tremors for a brief period of time. Experiencing uncontrollable shaking in the limbs or the arms following a rigorous workout routine is common and often regarded as one of the consequences of fatigued muscles. Usually, muscle shaking after exercise continues only for a few minutes. One may also experience muscle cramps, weakness after completing exercise.
Remedy: Taking rest by sitting or lying down can help to relax muscles and stop shaking. Dehydration post a workout session can also cause muscle cramps and trembling. So, to avoid getting dehydrated, drink adequate water during and after exercise. Also, not eating the right food before and after meals can make you tremble after exercise. Make sure your diet consists of foods high in carbohydrates and proteins, so as keep you energized throughout the day and especially during a rigorous workout.
Cold Climatic Conditions

People staying in cold regions around the world, commonly experience chills that leads to sudden abnormal repetitive movement of any part of the body. Shivering is commonly experienced when going outdoors in cold weather, which often appears as if the body is trembling in an uncontrolled manner.
Remedy: Choosing the right clothing in winter can help you to stay warm and prevent uncontrollable shaking. Wearing layers of woolen clothes is the best bet to protect oneself from harsh weather during the months of winter.
Smoking

Smokers tend to experience a sense of calmness after smoking. This relaxation effect has been attributed to nicotine that is inhaled after lighting a cigarette. However, this very nicotine can have a significant impact on neuromuscular junction, the place where nerve signals are relayed to the muscle fibers for proper muscle movement. Nicotine stimulates transmission of signals across the neuromuscular junction, which may lead to involuntary muscle movement. So, one may experience legs or hands trembling after smoking. Violent shivering and shaking has also been associated in people who smoke excessively.
Remedy: First and foremost, quitting smoking is the need of the hour to get rid of uncontrollable shaking. Going cold turkey may actually lead to nicotine withdrawal symptoms. So, gradually quit smoking within a duration of 2-3 weeks to eliminate the possibility of withdrawal symptoms.
Alcohol Withdrawal

People who have been consuming alcohol for quite some time may experience shaky hands even while taking rest, if they quit alcohol suddenly. After you have quit drinking, you may also experience excessive sweating, rapid heart beats, headache and even nauseating feeling. These symptoms usually last for a few days but sometimes continue for weeks.
Remedy: The doctor may prescribe medications, depending upon the symptoms that you are experiencing. For instance, benzodiazepines that include diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan) may be prescribed to stop uncontrollable shaking linked with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Nicotine Withdrawal

If you quit smoking suddenly, then experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms is something inevitable. So, in case you stop cigarettes cold turkey, the body desperately craves for nicotine and this manifests in the form of excessive perspiration, shaking, jitters, irritability and difficulty concentrating.
Remedy: Taking nicotine supplements that are available in the form of gum and inhalers, may help to control withdrawal symptoms. Deep breathing, exercise and drinking adequate water and engaging in an activity that lets you forget the nicotine urge, are some of the ways to reduce nicotine cravings and control the symptoms.
Nervousness

Getting nervous about an important event such as a wedding, meeting a client or proposing a girlfriend, is natural but this nervousness may manifest in the form of involuntary movements of the limbs and the hands. Anxiety or panic attacks are some of the factors that induce this condition. Uncontrollable shaking when nervous, is not a cause for worry and goes away as soon as the feeling of anxiety vanishes. Even a sudden moment or feeling of excitement can cause hand or limbs to tremble.
Remedy: Incorporating relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises into your daily schedule can be helpful to overcome these psychological problems.
Too Much Coffee Intake

Excess consumption of coffee can also cause uncontrollable shaking of hands. This happens because the caffeine in coffee acts as a stimulant for the nervous system. Caffeine has a direct impact on the skeletal muscle function. The stimulating effect of caffeine is likely to interfere with normal contraction of skeletal muscles, which may lead to involuntary movement.
Remedy: In order to keep unwanted side effects of coffee at bay, one should consume it in moderation. One or two cups of coffee a day certainly won't lead to uncontrollable shaking.
Parkinson's Disease

This disease occurs when dopamine-producing nerve cells that mainly deal with controlling muscle movement, are destroyed. The nerve cells in the brain completely depend on dopamine to regulate movement of muscles. As we all know, the nerve cells in the brain send and receive electrical signals to control and regulate bodily movements. However, lack of dopamine makes it difficult for the nerve cells to relay and receive electrical signals. This disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain interferes with coordination of muscle movements. This leads to what is known as Parkinson's disease. In this condition, while taking rest or any deliberate movement such as writing or any other grasping action can lead to sudden onset of involuntary muscle contractions.
Remedy: Medications are commonly prescribed to increase production of dopamine and improve range of motion. Parcopa, the official FDA approved drug for Parkinson's disease, is actually a combination of two medications that ensure that the drug reaches the brain and gets converted to dopamine.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Tremors occurring for a brief amount of time have also been linked to multiple sclerosis. MS patients suffer from damage to myelin sheath, which coats the nerves. The progressive deterioration of myelin sheath makes the nerves ineffective in transmitting electrical signals of the brain. The speed of the electrical signals through these nerves slows down, making it difficult to coordinate movement of muscles of the limbs and arms. No wonder, quite a few MS patients notice trembling of hands when trying to get hold of any object that is placed at arm's length. Any physical movement of the hand and the patient is bound to experience tremors. Limbs shaking while standing or sitting have also been observed in patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Remedy: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a lifelong condition and treatment aims at preventing it from worsening. The beta interferon drugs such as Extavia, Avonex and Betaseron are prescribed to slow down the progressive damage of nerve fibers associated with MS.
Seizures

This condition is typically marked by repeated violent shaking of the body due to electrical fluctuations in the brain. During a seizure, relaxation and contraction of muscles occurs repeatedly in an uncontrolled manner, which may not last for more than 2 minutes. This disturbance in the electrical activity of the brain may be due to various reasons including brain tumors, meningitis and stroke.
Remedy: Anti-seizure drugs are given to control and prevent future episodes of seizures. However, further treatment will depend upon the underlying cause. For instance, in case of brain tumor, surgically removing the abnormal growth is the first line of treatment. Apart from surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used to destroy the cancer cells that have spread beyond the tissue. Many times, the entire tumor cannot be removed through surgery and so may require use of chemo drugs and radiation.
Essential Tremors

This is a neurological disorder that damages the nerve (carriers of brain signals) and causes trembling of any body part. Also referred to as familial tremors, this condition can be inherited. For instance, a newborn baby could inherit this condition, in case his parents are suffering from essential tremors.
Remedy: Anti-seizure medicines such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and primidone (Mysoline) are recommended to effectively manage essential tremors.
Thyroid Diseases

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can produce involuntary muscle movement that is seen in the form of shaky hands. The thyroid gland found in the neck is responsible for production of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These thyroid hormones control metabolism, maintain temperature of our body and help other organs to perform their respective functions. So, any disease that interferes with the functioning of the thyroid gland, often leads to involuntary muscle contractions, which can affect the hands and the feet and cause uncontrollable shaking of these body parts. Hyperthyroidism has been associated with Graves' disease in which the immune system invades the tissues of the thyroid gland, resulting in excess production of thyroid hormones.
Remedy: Hyperthyroidism is treated with antithyroid drugs that help to reduce the secretion of thyroid hormones. These medication suppress the thyroid function, which contributes in controlling the production of thyroid hormones.
Hypoglycemia

As we all know, the body uses sugar to derive energy. To be more specific, sugar which is nothing but a carbohydrate (energy source), is necessary for normal muscle movement. Depleting sugar levels in the blood can cause overall weakness and uncontrolled muscle movement.
Remedy: Having high sugary foods as soon as possible after experiencing hypoglycemia symptoms, is the key to restore normal blood sugar levels. For serious cases of hypoglycemia, the patient may be treated with intravenous administration of glucose. Nailing the underlying cause that may vary from pancreatic problems to excess alcohol intake, is necessary to successfully treat hypoglycemia.
Medications

Asthma patients are commonly given a medicinal drug, known as albuterol, which cause side effects such as seizures. Other medications like antidepressants as well as other stress reducing drugs can cause shakiness in hands and feet.
Remedy: Many times, reducing the dosage helps to prevent the symptoms from becoming bothersome. Of course, this has to be done after consultation with your health care provider. In case, reducing the dosage does not work, the doctor may prescribe alternate medicine that is effective and free from bothersome side effects.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.