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 [trem´or, tre´mor]
an involuntary trembling of the body or limbs; it may have either a physical or a psychological cause. Early symptoms include trembling of the hands and nodding of the head. Tremors are often associated with parkinson's disease, which affects nerve centers in the brain that control the muscles. They also occur in cerebral palsy, hyperthyroidism, and withdrawal from narcotics or alcohol. They tend to develop as one of the results of aging, and are sometimes symptoms of temporary abnormal conditions such as insulin shock, or of poisoning, especially metallic poisoning. They sometimes appear with a high fever resulting from an infection. Tremors of psychological origin take many forms, some minor and some serious. Violent, uncontrollable trembling is often seen in certain phases of severe mental disorders. If there is no physiological cause, they may be a sign of general tension.
action tremor rhythmic, oscillatory movements of the outstretched upper limb when voluntary movements are attempted, as when writing or lifting a cup; it may also affect the voice and other parts. Called also intention tremor and volitional tremor.
coarse tremor that involving large groups of muscle fibers contracting slowly.
essential tremor a hereditary tremor with onset at varying ages, usually at about 50 years of age, beginning with a fine rapid tremor (as distinct from that of parkinsonism) of the hands, followed by tremor of the head, tongue, limbs, and trunk; it is aggravated by emotional factors, is accentuated by volitional movement, and in some cases is temporarily improved by alcohol.
fine tremor one in which the vibrations are rapid.
flapping tremor asterixis.
intention tremor action tremor.
parkinsonian tremor a type of resting tremor commonly seen with parkinsonism, consisting of slow, regular movements of the hands and sometimes the legs, neck, face, or jaw; it typically stops upon voluntary movement of the part and is intensified by stimuli such as cold, fatigue, and strong emotions.
physiologic tremor a rapid transient tremor of extremely low amplitude found in the limbs and sometimes the neck or face of normal individuals, only subtly detectable on an electromyogram and seldom visible to the naked eye; it may become accentuated and visible under certain conditions.
rest tremor (resting tremor) one occurring in a relaxed and supported limb, such as a parkinsonian tremor.
senile tremor one due to the infirmities of old age.
volitional tremor action tremor.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


(trem'ŏr, -ōr),
1. Repetitive, often regular, oscillatory movements caused by alternate, or synchronous, but irregular contraction of opposing muscle groups; usually involuntary.
2. Minute ocular movement occurring during fixation on an object.
[L. a shaking]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


1. An involuntary trembling or quivering, as of the hands.
2. A tremulous sound; a quaver: a tremor in her voice.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Neurology Involuntary, rhythmic oscillations of a body part, commonly extremities, but also tongue, jaw, head, eyes, voice; tremors are a Sx and not a disease per se; they occur in primarily extrapyramidal, conditions–eg, advanced hepatic encephalopathy, Parkinson's disease, Wilson's disease, myoclonias Tremors as primary Sx Drug-induced tremor, essential tremor, familial tremor Management Beta-blockers–eg, propranolol, metoprolol, ethanol. See Drug-induced tremor, Essential tremor, Familial tremor, Flapping tremor, Intention tremor, Parkinson's disease, Vocal tremor.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. Repetitive, often regular, oscillatory movements caused by alternate, or synchronous, but irregular contraction of opposing muscle groups; usually involuntary.
2. Minute ocular movement occurring during fixation on an object.
Synonym(s): trepidation (1) .
[L. a shaking]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


Rhythmical oscillation of any part of the body, especially the hands, the head, the jaw or the tongue. Tremor does not necessarily imply disease but is a feature of conditions such as CEREBELLAR ATAXIA, ENCEPHALITIS, ESSENTIAL-FAMILIAL TREMOR, LIVER FAILURE, MERCURY POISONING, MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, PARKINSON'S DISEASE, THYROTOXICOSIS and WILSON'S DISEASE. It is also a side effect of many antipsychotic and other drugs.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


Shakiness or trembling.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. Repetitive, often regular, oscillatory movements caused by alternate, or synchronous, but irregular contraction of opposing muscle groups; usually involuntary.
2. Minute ocular movement occurring during fixation on an object.
[L. a shaking]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012

Patient discussion about tremor

Q. how do you know if you have early onset of alzheimers? i'm 47. i do have extreme tremors at times and memory l i was told this could be what i have by a psychiatrist. What else can cause me to have these symptoms at my age and how do i know?

A. any time ;)

Q. Should I go for the knife? I have essential tremor for many years, and in the last few years it seems nothing helps it, and although I tried all the drugs my doctor could offer me, nothing helps. It really ruins my life, and recently I read about a surgery that suppose to treat it, called thalamotomy- does anyone know anything about it?

A. It's a possibility, and considered effective (reducing tremor in most of the patients). However, it has quite serious side effects, that can result even in weakness of some parts of your body. You should think really good before you opt for this treatment. Good luck!

Q. How do you tell between temporal shaky hands and parkinson disease? My dear granpa's hands are being a bit shaky lately. I was wondering if I should worry about Parkinson's disease or is it most likely to be something else? How to tell? are there other symptoms for Parkinson's?? Any help...

A. The tremor (shaking body parts) of Parkinson disease appears during rest of the limb and disappears or weakens during active movement. Additionally, Parkinson's disease cause walking problems and slow movements.

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References in periodicals archive ?
It will be recalled that the first earth tremor occurred in October in Mpape in which government suspended all blasting and drilling activities.
I thought it was just a clap of thunder but when the furniture started shaking I realised it must be some sort of earth tremor
Reading on a sun- drenched balcony Lynne O'Sullivan, from Heol Ty Gwyn, Llanbradach, Caerphilly, took this picture of her husband Paul while on holiday in Kefalonia, Greece, just hours before a shuddering earth tremor hit.
Cllr Tommy Cullen recalled the "serious earth tremor" that struck Wicklow in 1984 at this week's County Council meeting.
GEOLOGY experts say Warwick and the urrounding villages have nothing to fear in the wake of the weekend's earth tremor.
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, disclosed this in his office while receiving the report from the Presidential Committee set up by the Federal Government on the recent earth tremor in Abuja.
TUNIS (TAP) - An earth tremor measuring 3 degrees on the Richter scale was registered, Saturday, at 6.50 a.m., in the governorate of Bizerte.
The earth tremor shook large parts of the Lake District but was felt as far east as Catton village, near Allendale, in Northumberland.
RESIDENTS across Liverpool and Cheshire reported an earth tremor that shook them in their homes just before 1am today.
The earth tremor, which struck at 5.23am on Saturday, was the most powerful in Britain for a decade and measured 4.2 on the Richter scale.
He gave this order when he paid an on-the-spot visit to Mpape, the epicentre of reported incidents of earth tremor in parts of Abuja recently.
TUNIS (TAP) - An earth tremor of a magnitude of 3.6 degrees on Richter Scale was recorded on Saturday at 6:30 a.m.