6 Reasons Why Your Hands Are Shaking

You notice the most vibrations in the morning, while texting or drinking coffee. Or it could be a constant pain that shakes every time your arm hangs out to your side.

You are not alone. Tremors, known as tremors, are the most common form of movement disorder, according to a 2011 study by the American Family Physician. And your hands are the most painful part of your body.

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What is causing your tremors? Hand tremors can have a number of underlying causes, from Parkinson’s disease to caffeine overload, says Joseph Jankovic, M.D., professor of neurology and movement disorders at Baylor College of Medicine.

How do you know if your hands are shaking? Most of the time you can’t. But your doctor can depend on when and how your tremors are detected.

MORE: 10 Reasons Your Hands Are Dying

For example, you may have “action” tremors, which manifest when you lift or manipulate something with your hands, Yankovic says. This type of tremor is most pronounced when working against gravity, such as when eating or drinking or trying to pick up something and hold it in front of the face. You may also have “resting” tremors, which means that your hands are still or move from side to side and vibrate.

Regardless of the type of tremor, if it interferes with your ability to work or makes you feel uncomfortable around other people, it’s time to see someone, Yankovic says. (Okay! Here are the 7 worst things people lie to their doctors about.)

Here, he and other experts explain the common causes of hand tremors and how to tell them apart.

Basic vibration
The most common form of hand tremors—affecting up to 1 in 25 people, or 4% of the population—essential tremors are tremors that occur when you try to perform a task or action. “With your hands,” says Gordon Baltuch, MD, MD, professor of neurosurgery and associate director of the Parkinson’s Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

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