Symptom Detail

Tremor

Overview

Many people with MS experience some degree of tremor or incontrollable shaking in various part of the body. MS patients with tremors are also more likely to have speech or swallowing issues as symptoms as well.

 

Intention Tremor

Overview

This type of tremor generally occurs when a person is in motion; there is no shaking or signs of a tremor when at rest. This is the most common and generally the most disabling type of tremor that occurs in people with MS.

Description

This is the kind of tremor that occurs when you reach for something and your hand starts shaking. The closer you get to your target or the smaller the movement required, the more your hand or arm will shake.

Important Facts

This is the most common type of tremor and is known as a cerebellar tremor. It is greatest during physical activity.

Causes

Tremor is generally caused by problems in parts of the brain that control muscles throughout the body or in particular areas, such as the hands. Neurological disorders or conditions that can produce tremor include, but are not limited to, MS. Other causes include the side effects of some medicines.

Treatments

Cerebellar tremor typically does not respond well to medical treatment. Physical therapy may help to reduce tremor and improve coordination and muscle control for some individuals.

 

Nystagmus

Overview

This tremor presents itself as jumpy eye movements in the patient.

Description

The most common form of this involuntary rhythmic back and forth motion of the eyeball is seen with either horizontal or vertical gaze. Nystagmus arises from imbalances in the complex networks required for holding gaze.

Important Facts

More severe forms of Nystagmus are present when the eyes are looking straight ahead, and can involve upward beating, downward beating, pendular, or see-saw oscillations. These types of Nystagmus that are not gaze-evoked can be suggestive of the location in the brain of the MS lesion causing the problem.

Causes

This type of tremor occurs because there is damage along the complex nerve pathways that are responsible for coordination of movements.

Treatments

Several medicines including gabapentin, memantine, baclofen, and clonazepam can be helpful for visually disabling Nystagmus.

 

Postural Tremor

Overview

This type of tremor generally occurs when a limb or the whole body is being supported against gravity. For example, a person with postural tremors will most likely experience tremors sitting or standing up as opposed to lying down.

Description

This is a shaking that occurs while you are sitting or standing and your muscles are trying to hold parts of your body still against the force of gravity.

Important Facts

Postural tremor can affect the head, neck, trunk, and limbs. The tremor may start in a single limb, but it becomes bilateral over time, most often as a flexion-extension movement of the wrist.

Causes

Tremor is generally caused by problems in parts of the brain that control muscles throughout the body or in particular areas, such as the hands. Neurological disorders or conditions that can produce tremor include, but are not limited to, MS. Other causes include the side effects of some medicines.

Treatments

Weights and other devices can also be attached to a limb to inhibit or compensate for tremors. An occupational therapist is the health professional who can best advise about assistive devices to aid in the management of tremor.

 

Resting Tremor

Overview

This type of tremor generally occurs when the body is at rest and will stop when in motion. This is often more typical of Parkinson’s disease than MS.

Description

This classic parkinsonian tremor begins as a low-frequency, pill-rolling motion of the fingers, progressing to forearm pronation/supination and elbow flexion/extension. It is typically asymmetric, occurs at rest, and becomes less prominent with voluntary movement.

Important Facts

This type of tremor is most commonly known as Parkinsonism as it primarily occurs in Parkinson’s’ patients.

Causes

Tremor is generally caused by problems in parts of the brain that control muscles throughout the body or in particular areas, such as the hands. Neurological disorders or conditions that can produce tremor include, but are not limited to, MS. Other causes include the side effects of some medicines.

Treatments

Medicinal treatment for parkinsonian tremor involves levodopa and/or dopamine-like medicines such as (No Suggestions) and (No Suggestions).  Other medicines used to lessen parkinsonian tremor include amantadine hydrochloride and anticholinergic medicines.