The 4 Ways of Dealing with Essential Tremor

Essential tremor is a neurological condition that causes involuntary shaking or trembling. It’s one of the most commonly known motor disorders that has affected approx 1 % of the world population. If not treated properly, this disease can further worsen the patient’s condition. Here, you’ll get to know the 4 most effective ways of dealing with it.

Essential tremor can be very frustrating and embarrassing. It makes it difficult for a person to perform hand tasks like eating, drinking, writing, and dressing. If not treated properly, essential tremor can further worsen the patient’s condition.

Here are 4 ways of dealing with essential tremor.

1. Medication

It is the first-line therapy for dealing with essential tremor. People with essential tremor are first prescribed with beta-blockers. Although beta-blocker drugs are commonly used for high blood pressure, they can be very effective against essential tremor. The most frequently used drug of this class for essential tremor is propranolol.

In some patients, beta-blockers may not be effective and so can be replaced with drugs used for treating epilepsy. Examples include primidone, topiramate, and gabapentin.

In addition, a drug called botox may be used in patients whose tremors are not controlled with beta-blockers or anti-epileptic drugs. This drug is given in the form of injection. But it should be used in caution as it can affect the strength of hand or fingers. The most common side effects of botox are fever, headache, excessive tearing, dry eye, and swelling at the site of injection.

2. Surgical Approach – Deep Brain Stimulation

This approach is rather new and is applied when medications are no longer effective in controlling the tremor. Although it was first approved for patients with essential tremor, it is also recommended for people with an advanced stage of Parkinson’s disease.

Deep brain stimulation involves a surgery during which a small chip containing electrodes are installed inside the brain of a patient. The chip is targeted to brain regions involved in the controlled movement of the body. The electrodes produce a current that helps to get rid of the abnormal brain activity that caused the tremor. The current is adjusted with the help of a stimulator (a pacemaker-like device) that is placed in the upper chest area.

Although this surgical approach doesn’t fully treat the tremor, it decreases the patient’s dependency on medication and greatly improves the overall quality of life. And therefore, it is now considered as a standard treatment method for patients with tremor or other movement disorders.

However, it comes with some complications that may pose negative effects. For example, it may cause bleeding in the brain and cause a potential risk of hemorrhage. It may also cause infection and raise heart problems during the surgery. Moreover, the surgery is very expensive and is not affordable for everyone.

Despite these complications, it is still considered to be very effective and become a routine treatment for people with tremors.

3. Hand Exercises

The effects of essential tremor can also be reduced by doing the following hand exercises.

  • Flicking the hand
  • Squeezing or rolling a ball for few seconds
  • Spinning the pen

Exercises involving resistance training could also be beneficial. Performing dumbbell bicep curls, wrist flexion, and wrist extension exercises twice a week helps to relieve the tremor to some extent.

4. Assistive Devices

There are numerous assistive devices designed for people with essential tremor. Although these devices cannot treat the tremor, they can help to decrease the tremor’s effects, especially during eating or drinking. Some of these devices are already available on the market while others are in their prototypic stage.

Following are some of the best assistive devices designed for people with tremors.

i) Liftware Stabilizing Spoon

This is a great eating aid for people with essential tremor. It enables a person to eat the food without spilling all around.

The handle of the spoon is equipped with a sensor, an onboard computer-like device, and two motors. These three components of the handle work collectively to counteract the effects of tremors and stabilizes the utensil. First, the sensor detects the tremor that is distinguished from the desired hand movement by the computer. Whereas motors stabilize the utensil by moving it in the opposite direction of the detected tremor.

The handle also attaches to a fork or spork. The spoon is available on the market and for those who cannot afford it, contact the Liftware here to get a free one.

ii) HandSteady Drinking Cup

This innovative cup is a great drinking aid for people with essential tremor. It helps a patient to drink tea, coffee, water or any other liquid without spilling.

A feature that makes it stand apart from any normal cup is its 360-degree rotatable handle, which allows the cup to be at a steady level whilst in use. The handle is easy-grip and designed in a way to avoid drinking efforts.

The cup also has a slip-lid which not keeps drinks hotter but also prevents spilling. Moreover, the cup is light-weighted and very handy.

For more information about this innovative cup, click here to read a review on handSteady cup.

iii) Emma Watch

This device from Microsoft is still in the developing stage and could be one of the best assistive devices for people with tremors. It helps in regaining the person’s ability of writing and drawing, which are badly affected by tremors.

This wearable device, which looks like a wristwatch, works by creating vibrations that distract the brain from the physical sensation of tremors. By doing so, it enables a person

The device is designed for Parkinson’s tremor, but it’s unclear whether it could also be useful for essential tremor.

For more information about Emma watch, click here to read our review.

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