Some people may not need treatment for essential tremor. If you are self-conscious about your tremors, there are some things you can do to reduce them or make them less noticeable. Talk with your doctor about treatment options and the best treatment plan for you.
Medications are the most common treatment for movement disorders, like essential tremor.
Medicine is usually started when your symptoms become disabling or disrupt your daily activities. Although medicines often improve symptoms, they also may cause side effects. It may take some time to find the best combination of medicines for you.
Several medicines may be used at different stages of the disease. They include:
Because symptoms change as the disease progresses, your doctor will adjust your medicine to deal with symptoms as they appear.
Physical or occupational therapy
A physical therapist can help you learn exercises and stretches to do at home to improve your posture, strength, flexibility and endurance.
A physical or occupational therapist can also help you to:
- Plan more efficient movements for activities you do every day, such as bathing and dressing, so that these activities are easier and less tiring
- Improve your balance and walking
- Use walking aids (such as canes or walkers) correctly
Less invasive treatments
Several treatments for Essential tremor are considered less invasive than surgery. These include:
Your neurologist can determine if you are a candidate for these treatment options.
Brain surgery to treat essential tremor may be considered when medications:
- No longer control symptoms
- Cause severe or disabling side effects
Like other treatment options, surgery isn't a cure. Surgery should not be considered a replacement for medications either. Medications are usually still needed after surgery, although you likely would not need as much medicine as before. This means you may have fewer side effects.
The types of surgery include:
- Deep brain stimulation, which uses electrical impulses to stimulate a target area in the brain.
- Pallidotomy and thalamotomy are procedures that involve precisely altering a very small area in a deep part of the brain that causes symptoms.
Not everyone is a good candidate for surgery. People who have very advanced essential tremor or who have other serious health problems usually aren't good candidates for surgery. Your physician will discuss all treatment options to help you determine the best treatment for you.