Shakes and tremors refer to involuntary movements or muscle contractions that cause unsteadiness or trembling of the body. They can happen anywhere on the body, and they can be mild or severe, temporary or ongoing. The medical term for shaking or tremors is “tremor” of which there are various types of tremors, each with different causes and symptoms. Some common forms of tremors include:

  • Essential tremors
  • Parkinson’s disease tremors
  • Stress-induced tremors

Shaking and tremors can be scary and uncomfortable experiences for many people. They can come on suddenly and without warning, leaving you vulnerable and out of control. Tremors can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, causing embarrassment, anxiety, and decreased mobility.

Understanding the different types of tremors and their causes can help individuals better manage their symptoms and seek appropriate treatment. This article will explore the causes of shaking and tremors, including stress and burnout, and discuss some best practices for managing these symptoms.

What Causes Shaking And Tremors?

Shaking and tremors are physical symptoms that can occur for various reasons. They can be caused by various factors and understanding what causes shaking and tremors is the first step in managing and preventing them.  Some of the most common causes of shaking and tremors include:

  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and nerve disorders, can cause tremors
  • Substance abuse: Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug use, can cause shaking and tremors as a side effect
  • Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety are common triggers for stress-induced tremors, also known as anxiety tremors. This type of tremor is a physical manifestation of stress and is usually temporary
  • Medications: Some medications, such as antidepressants, beta-blockers, and steroids, can cause tremors as a side effect
  • Overactive thyroid: An overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism, can cause shaking and tremors
  • Neurodegenerative diseases: Certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease, can cause tremors
  • Low blood sugar: Low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycaemia, can cause shaking and tremors
  • Electrolyte imbalances: Imbalances in essential minerals and electrolytes, such as calcium and magnesium, can cause tremors

Identifying the underlying cause of shaking and tremors is crucial to effectively managing the symptoms and improving quality of life. In some cases, treatment may involve addressing the underlying medical condition, making lifestyle changes and taking medications to manage the symptoms. In others, therapy and stress management techniques may be necessary to alleviate anxiety and stress-induced tremors.

Symptoms Of Shaking And Tremors

Shaking and tremors can present in different forms, including tremors in the hands or arms, shaking in the legs, and even shivering or trembling. They may be more noticeable during physical activity, when you are under stress, or when you feel nervous.

Some common symptoms of shaking and tremors include involuntary muscle contractions resulting in instability or trembling. Tremors affect many body parts and the affected parts can vary, but tremors typically occur in the hands, arms, head, face, voice, legs, and trunk. Tremors can also increase with movement and often become more noticeable when the affected body part is in use, such as when writing or holding an object.

Symptoms Of Shaking And Tremors

The amplitude, strength, frequency, and speed, of tremors can vary and range from mild to severe, so can the duration. Tremors can be temporary or ongoing, lasting from a few seconds to several hours. Also, depending on the underlying cause, tremors may accompany other symptoms, such as fatigue, muscle weakness, and instability.

If you are experiencing shaking and tremors, you must seek medical attention, especially if the symptoms are sudden or accompanied by other symptoms. Your healthcare provider can help determine the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment. In some cases, further tests, such as imaging studies or blood tests, may be necessary to diagnose the cause of the tremors.

Understanding The Stress Response

Stress is a natural response of our body to perceived or actual threats. When a person experiences stress, their body enters the “fight or flight” response, resulting in a series of physiological changes that prepare your body to respond to a perceived threat. The “fight and flight” response is a survival mechanism that is hard-wired into our bodies and is controlled by the autonomic nervous system.

During the fight or flight response, stress hormones are released by the body which in turn leads to an increasing of heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. The body also diverts blood flow from the digestive system to the muscles, increasing physical strength and reaction time. In some cases, the body may enter a “freeze” response characterized by a temporary state of inactivity or immobility. This response is a way for the body to protect itself from further harm.

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Stress can trigger or worsen shaking and tremors in some individuals. The “fight or flight” response can result in increased muscle tension and decreased motor control, leading to shaking and tremors. Stress can also affect the central nervous system, leading to further tremors and muscle twitching.

It is important to understand the stress response and recognize when it may trigger or contribute to tremors. Identifying and managing stress can help reduce the severity and frequency of tremors and improve overall health and well-being.

Best Practices To Manage Shakes And Tremors

Several strategies are used to manage shakes and tremors as follows:

Relaxation Techniques

Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation are all relaxation techniques that can help reduce muscle tension and improve motor control, reducing the severity and frequency of tremors.


Regular exercise can improve overall health and help reduce stress and anxiety, which can trigger tremors.

Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, sufficient sleep, and reduced alcohol and caffeine consumption, can help reduce the frequency and severity of tremors.


Sometimes, medication is prescribed to help manage tremors. Medications, such as beta-blockers, anticonvulsants, and tranquillizers, can help reduce tremors and improve motor control.


In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to treat tremors [1]. Surgery can involve the removal or destruction of specific parts of the brain that are responsible for tremors.

Top Tips to Prevent Shakes and Tremors

Some of the best tips include the following:

  • Identifying and managing sources of stress in your life
  • Practising relaxation techniques regularly
  • Exercising designed to improve physical health
  • Limiting caffeine and alcohol consumption
  • Getting enough sleep to help your body recover from physical and emotional stress

Where Can I Get Help To Stop Shakes And Tremors?

Working with a healthcare provider to determine the best approach for managing tremors is important. The best practices for managing tremors may vary depending on the underlying cause, the severity and frequency of tremors, and the individual’s overall health and well-being.

As we know, tremors can be caused by a wide variety of factors, from medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, medications, substances, stress itself and other underlying health problems.

To help stop the condition, consider the following steps:

  • Consult a doctor: A physician can diagnose the cause of the shakes and tremors and recommend the appropriate treatment.
  • Work with a stress coach- stress: Coaches can identify sources of stress and recommend appropriate techniques and tools to assist with stress management.
  • Treat underlying medical conditions: If a medical condition is causing the shakes and tremors, treating that condition may help reduce or eliminate the symptoms.
  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe medication to help control tremors and reduce their frequency or severity.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises prescribed by a physical therapist can help improve coordination, balance, and overall muscle control, reducing the severity of tremors.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgery can be used to treat the underlying causes of shakes and tremors.

It is important to seek help and treatment for shakes and tremors as they can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Working with a doctor, physical therapist, and other healthcare professionals can help you develop an effective plan to manage your symptoms and improve your overall health and well-being. Ultimately, changing your lifestyle, by proper stress management especially reducing the stress that may lead to burnout, getting enough sleep, and avoiding stimulants, can help relieve symptoms.

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Anxiety shakes can occur as a physical response to stress or fear. They are common symptoms of anxiety disorders and may be accompanied by additional symptoms such as sweating, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing.

The severity of shakes and tremors can vary depending on the underlying cause. Some may be mild and temporary, while others can be signs and symptoms of a more serious medical condition. It is important to consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation are relaxation techniques that can help reduce anxiety-related shaking. You can also consider therapy or medication as recommended by a doctor.

Shakes and tremors can be caused by a wide variety of external environmental influential factors including a range of underlying health problems. Genetics may also play a role in some cases. However, it is inaccurate to say that one is hard-wired to suffer from shakes and tremors. Remember seeking help from a doctor can help determine the cause of the tremor and the appropriate treatment.


  1. – Essential tremor – found on 13/02/2023
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