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Overview of tremor

Daniel Tarsy, MD
Section Editor
Howard I Hurtig, MD
Deputy Editor
John F Dashe, MD, PhD


Tremor is defined as a rhythmic and oscillatory movement of a body part with a relatively constant frequency and variable amplitude. It is caused by either alternating or synchronous contractions of antagonistic muscles. Tremor is the most common of all movement disorders, occurring from time to time in most normal individuals in the form of exaggerated physiologic tremor [1].

This topic will provide an overview of the classification, clinical features, diagnostic evaluation, and treatment of tremor, including essential tremor (ET), which also is discussed in greater detail separately. (See "Essential tremor: Clinical features and diagnosis" and "Essential tremor: Treatment and prognosis" and "Surgical treatment of essential tremor".)


Tremors may be broadly classified into resting, postural, action, postural-action, and intention tremors (table 1).

Resting tremors occur with the affected body part fully supported and completely at rest.

Postural tremors occur with the body part suspended against gravity.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 28, 2017.
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