What is Tremor?

Tremor is the medical term for involuntary and not controllable shaking. The word “tremor” is Latin of origin; the Latin word “tremere” means “shaking”. A tremor develops when counteractive muscle groups contract involuntarily.
Every human has a so-called „Physiological Tremor“. The Physiological Tremor is a shaking that is not or just barely visible to the human eye. The shaking can increase for a short time (e.g. due to nervousness) but is not pathological.

Tremor as a Disease

Tremor can also be a symptom of different diseases. A very well known disease where tremor can manifest as a symptom is the Parkinson’s Disease. If the tremor occurs isolated and no other disease is the cause of the tremor, medical experts call it Essential Tremor.

These pathologic tremor types are not comparable with the physiological tremor – a pathological tremor has more force, is visible and present permanently. Such a distinctive tremor can impose a restriction in everyday life of the patients. Normal activities like drinking, eating or writing can be very challenging with shaking hands.

Diagnosis of Tremor

The tremor frequency is an important parameter to analyse the possible underlying pathological processes behind tremor. Medical experts divide tremor into coarse tremor, medium tremor or fine tremor. Different tremor diseases have different frequency ranges; that means different speeds of tremors.

The tremor amplitude can give a hint how a medication or alternative therapy method influences the tremor. If the force of shaking is getting lower, the therapy or medication affects the tremor positively; if it stays the same or increases, another therapeutic approach has to be considered.

Read more about tremor parameters and the measurement parameters of the Tremipen®


Figure adapted from Table 3 in  Deuschl, G., Bain, P. and Brin, M. (1998), Consensus Statement of the Movement Disorder Society on Tremor. Mov. Disord., 13: 2–23. doi:10.1002/mds.870131303
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