A 72-year-old has an uncontrollable shaking of his hand. How can it be treated?

Q. A 72-year-old has an uncontrollable shaking of his hand. How can it be treated?

Answered by
Dr. Shivam Om Mittal
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 06, 2017 and last reviewed on: Aug 21, 2023

Hello doctor,

My father who is 72 years old has a problem of uncontrolled shaking of his right hand for the past three years. The problem has increased over the years and now he finds it difficult to hold the toothbrush also. Some works he can do without much difficulty like riding a scooter, sweeping with his right hand etc. But this problem is only increasing. He has consulted a neurologist after my insistence to rule out Parkinson's. The doctor assured that it is not that and gave some medication. This was about eight months back. But, there has been no improvement. My father does not have any other ailments. Of note, he only had a stent operation three years ago. Please let me know what is this problem called, how to treat this and is it curable?



Welcome to icliniq.com. Based on the symptoms you have described, your father likely has an "essential tremor." This is a very common neurological condition affecting 4% of the elderly population. Yes, it is not Parkinson' s disease but it has to be differentiated from Parkinson's disease by a neurologist especially who is trained in movement disorders. Movement disorder neurologist is additionally trained in conditions like essential tremor and Parkinson's disease. There are a few medications which have to be gradually increased slowly to see the best response. Usually, we see about 50% reduction in tremor (shaking). If that is not sufficient we can do botulinum toxin injections in the hand and a workup for brain surgery. Consult your specialist doctor, discuss with him or her and with their consent take the injections. This condition, like many other neurological diseases, is not curable but it is treatable by proper medications by a neurologist, preferably a movement disorder neurologist.

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