Managing tremor

Tremor (shaking) is one of the main symptoms of Parkinson's. It is an uncontrollable movement that affects a part of the body, for example the hand.

There is no cure for a tremor, but there are ways to manage the symptom. Here, people with Parkinson’s share what helps them. 

  • “I find the my arm tremor is reduced when I rest that arm slightly away from my body on something supportive and soft like a cushion, folded sweater, or a fold of duvet in bed.”
  • “When I’m in an anxious, shaky patch I can sometimes distract myself with a book, puzzle or even a basic chore. This can bring everything back to a more manageable level fairly quickly.”
  • “If I have a shaky period, I go on my cross-trainer for 5 mins of light exercise and this usually settles things down for the rest of the day. On a particularly bad day I may only feel settled for a few hours, but it always has a positive effect.”
  • “Keeping hydrated and having a glass of cold water seems to help.”
A person with Parkinson's taking medication
  • “My left hand tends to go on strike at the end of a long day when I’m tired. If I know I’ll be cooking an evening meal, I try to do some preparation earlier in the day - even if it’s only peel a few potatoes. They can go on to cook the minute I get in then.”
  • “On the computer, I’ve had some success with slowing down the mouse speed (Settings>Devices>Mouse) and enlarging the pointer to the largest size (Settings>Ease of Access>Mouse Pointer).”
  • "I get instant tremor relief by stretching my arm down by my side and spreading my fingers as stiff and wide as possible. Another thing I try is pressing the tip of my thumb and index finger together.”
  • “My mum finds a stress ball useful. Or if watching TV, she'll hold the TV remote control and pretend to press the buttons.” 
  • “I have taken up knitting. It stops the tremor and takes my mind off it and the muscle tension. It’s finishing my knitting projects that’s the problem!”
An older lady is knitting at a kitchen table. She has short grey hair and wears glasses. She is wearing jeans, with a yellow tshirt, with a blue tabard.
  • “If my tremor starts I often try to put my brain on another course, like taking the dog out for a walk.” 
  • “I use mindfulness and that can often stop the tremors.” 
  • “Sit down and rest your head on something so that your muscles aren’t under stress. Let your whole body relax - with a little practice, it is possible. It’s worth a try.”
  • “My physiotherapist got me using weights on my arm that is affected by tremor/stiffness and advised me to buy weights so I could use this method at home.” 
  • “Having the right medication (whatever that means for you) has helped me.”
  • “My tremor is in my non-dominant hand, so giving it something to do, like putting it in my pocket, sitting on it or pressing down on a table seems to work and be fairly unobtrusive.”
  • "My husband has noted how his tremors seem less obvious when playing cards. Each hand is occupied and the brain is busy looking for moves every which way. At coffee time we sit at the table with a pack of cards each. We play 3 games of Patience seeing who is first to get out. It’s fun, has us smiling, gives us both a bit of respite - and satisfies our competitive nature!"

Find out more about tremor.