Essential Tremor Therapy

July 27, 2018

After being diagnosed with essential tremor, there are lots of questions that will come up. Since there is no cure, how can essential tremor be treated? Is physical therapy an option? What other therapies are there to help treat my symptoms and help me function? There are lots of home remedies and therapeutic options for those with essential tremor. So after diagnosis, it is important to talk to your medical provider about options for therapy and treatment. 

Drug therapy is the first option of therapies provided to use with essential tremor. If the tremors interfere with your work or other daily activities, drugs may be able to help. After data was analyzed for several different drugs, it was found that a lot of people respond well to drug therapy. Drug therapy will depend on other medical conditions you might have and other potential side effects. There are a lot of different prescription drugs that can be prescribed for treating essential tremor. Consulting with your medical provider will help you choose one that is best for your lifestyle and your symptoms. 

Surgical therapy such as deep brain stimulation is an option for more severely disabling tremors. These tremors would be debilitating and cause a disruption in everyday life. During deep brain stimulation, an electric probe is placed in the thalamus. A wire then is routed to a pacemaker device that is implanted in your neck near your collarbone. This then potentially blocks the tremor symptoms from happening. Gamma knife surgery is also an option, but this is a very new treatment plan. It is a non-surgical option that uses lasers to directly target the affected area of the brain. 

Another surgical option is a Thalamotomy, which is a legion placed on a small part of the thalamus. This interferes with the abnormal brain activity that causes a tremor. This is usually just done on one side of the brain. Evidence shows that this can be used to treat a limb tremor that cannot be controlled by medication. They do not do it on both sides of the brain because of its potential to be disabling in some forms. 

Surgery options are rarely used for essential tremor. Surgical methods have been researched, but are difficult to study because it is hard to design a study where the patient and the physician are kept in the dark as to whether they got the placebo or the actual procedure. So, because of the limited information, it is hard to tell whether surgical information is accurate or not. 

Overall, between surgical and drug therapies, there are lots of routes to take and options to try for different signs and symptoms of essential tremor. Because severity and age of onset varies so much in the condition, it can be hard to determine which path is right for treatment of symptoms. By working closely with your medical provider, you will be able to come up with a treatment path that suits you and helps manage your symptoms in an appropriate way.