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Getting a Handle on MS Tremors and Shakes

Getting a Handle on MS Tremors and Shakes
Prevention is the best medicine for MS-related tremors, but help is available for those who already have them. 

By Denise Mann
Medically Reviewed by Samuel Mackenzie, MD, PhD
Last Updated: December 18, 2019

tremors and shakes


An occupational or physical therapist may be able to recommend exercises or assistive devices that ease the impact of tremors. Corbis


Many people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) develop tremors, or shaking, in various body parts. Tremors can be mild, but they can also be severe and disabling.


"MS tremors are rhythmic, back-and-forth muscle movements that you can't control,” says Alessandro Serra, MD, PhD, a neurologist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center in Ohio. “The tremor can affect your hands, arms, legs, or even your head and vocal cord muscles."


People with MS get tremors when plaques, or damaged areas, develop along the nerve pathways responsible for voluntary muscle movement and balance.

How much of an impact they have on a person’s life varies from one individual to another.

Dario Anastasio, 62, of Newington, Connecticut, had to give up his job as a computer systems engineer because of his tremors.

“Before I was diagnosed with MS, I would have tremors in my hands, but I could still write and use a computer,” Anastasio says. The tremors worsened after his 2007 diagnosis with MS.

Linda Roudebush, 62, of Austin, Texas, is not so troubled by the tremors in her left hand. “I am right-handed,” she says. “So the tremor in my left hand is an inconvenience, but not all that bothersome. I don’t take anything for it, and I use the shaking hand to scratch an itch or give a back massage,” she jokes.

Different Types of Tremors


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