4 Types of MS-Related Tremors

Tremors are a common symptom of multiple sclerosis, experienced by around three-quarters of people with the condition, and one that often makes sufferers feel quite self-conscious. For most, the tremors will be mild and occur infrequently, but for some, the tremors may be more severe.

There are four different types of tremors associated with multiple sclerosis, which are often referred to as cerebellar tremors:

MORE: MS patients may show signs of the disease five years before symptoms appear.

Intention Tremors
According to emaxhealth.com, these common tremors tend to occur when a person is towards the end of an act such as reaching for something or placing their foot and their finger or foot will begin to shake.

Postural Tremors
These are tremors that appear when a person is either sitting down or standing up, and the body is working against gravity. They will stop if the person lays down.

Nystamus Tremors
Nystamus tremors affect the eyes and cause jerking movements.

Resting Tremors
According to everydayhealth.com, resting tremors tend to occur more in people who have Parkinson’s disease, but it is not uncommon for those who have MS to also suffer from them. As the name suggests, the tremors occur when a person is resting.

Although there is no cure for tremors, there are ways that MS patients can manage them.  Lifestyle changes such as avoiding stress, getting plenty of rest and not drinking caffeinated drinks may help those who suffer from mild tremors or help prevent them from beginning in the first place.

Some patients may be prescribed drugs such as beta blockers, anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, botox, and anti-seizure medications, although none have been approved for the treatment of tremors. Many find that occupational therapy and physical therapy helps with practical solutions for coping with tremors. In extreme cases, deep brain stimulation may be recommended.

MORE: Seven things people with MS want you to know about the disease.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

29 comments

  1. Judy Wardlow says:

    I have a Tremor that has been diagnosed as Intentional Tremor or Familial Tremor. My initial diagnosis was in 1982 when I was 38. In the beginning I was prescribed Inderal, a beta-blocker. Over the years as my Tremor got progressively worse Topamax was added. My dosage has been upped but neither works very well any more.

    In December 2013 I was diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS. I was 69 years old, a bit old than most people when they are diagnosed. Naturally I wonder if my Tremor for all these years was an early sign of my MS, but my doctor assures me it was not. I have had several MRIs over the years and none has given any indication that further testing might be indicated. I am currently taking Ampyra which has been very helpful and I am hopeful I will be able to start a course of Ocrevus soon. I am also hopeful that if Ocrevus works as intended it may help with my Tremor as well. Lots of hope.

    • Dianne Roncal, DMD says:

      So sorry to hear that, Judy. We are also very hopeful that things work out really well for you. 🙂 Keep fighting, you are strong. 🙂

      • Tracy says:

        I had this happen in my sleep about 3 months ago it was like I was cold with shaking and chattering but i was warm. Then i ached like i was hit by a bus. It just happened again this time it lasted for 4 hours long bursts at first then short ones with sweat. I feel flu and broken, teeth ,bones . Please help

    • Kimberly says:

      Hi Judy,
      I came across your post from last year and am curious to know if you Ihave been able to start the Ocrevus? And how you are managing symptoms.

    • Meemaa says:

      I have same issue it begins in 2006 now it wrosen first was at right hand now starts left hand difficult to mqanage

  2. Jennifer E. Michaels says:

    I have “essential tremor”. I don’t see that listed here. I was diagnosed with RRMS when I was 29. I’m 53 now. I’ve developed more problems over the years. The tremor usually doesn’t bother me as long as I take klonapin every night. Botox does not help. The injections make me worse, but I am very sensitive to medications. I also take a beta blocker, and gabapentin for trigeminal neuralgia and severe restless legs and body. I’m allergic to Topomax (in reference to the lady who commented above).

  3. Janis Hinchliffe says:

    I was told I had essential tremor 2 years ago then 2 months ago head tremor got bad , face tongue arms and legs too . Waiting MRI very scared and worried .

    • Tammy says:

      Janis, I’m sorry you are having such terrible symptoms. Tremors are what brought me to this page, but I have dozens of other symptoms of MS and am also frightened to get that diagnosis. Although I have a feeling it is what I have. But, to curb your fear somewhat, I have done massive research on MS and please know there are many treatments available and also that not everyone’s MS progresses to permanent disabilites. The sooner you can get a diagnosis, the better. Unfortunately for me, I have had symptoms for the past decade that were all attributed to fibromyalgia and have had no treatment at all and am still trying to find a good doctor who will give me a proper diagnosis. Prayers to you and to all who are experiencing the horrible symptoms of MS or other disorders.

      • Janis Hichliffe says:

        Been away and only just noticed your reply . I was initially diagnosed with fibromyalgia many years ago . Like you getting a firm diagnosis is the thing then you deal with it . It’s waiting and wondering that’s hard . It’s good there are others to share our feelings and fears with xxxx

        • Janine Wild says:

          Tammy and Janis,
          I also have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia 10 years ago, but the odd twitch is now a tremor in my legs, when I stand, I also catch my feet on the floor when I walk and fall often. Along with the other symptoms I’m beginning to think it’s MS. I’m at the docs again next week so I will see if I can push for more tests as I wasn’t tested for fibro, the doctor I had then just decided it for himself. Next week can’t come fast enough.

        • Karen says:

          Mary, one gets a rash across the face (malar or butterfly rash) with lupus, specifically systemic lupus erythematosus.

      • Donna says:

        Tammy I have fibromyalgia also but have been doubting my diagnosis due to many new symptoms. Can you pm me to let me know how you made out? Donna Screder.

      • Helen Williams says:

        Well Iam answering a very old post. I am 83 and was dx at 50 years old but was told that my history could put me back to having been a teen when I first got it…At first it was just an episode that put me down for 3 weeks, then several years later is was a blind eye and then another 3 week long attach at 40 but at 50 my attack put me down for almost 6 months and then I was not worth anything for 5 years…Now at 83, I have had all kinds of other symptoms and I have to try to differentuate between MS and Old Age…Nevertheless I can still walk most of the time but my balance is not great and my eyesite is going but as you can see I can still see to type. I do all my own laundry cooking and cleaning but I still have MS and know it…

  4. Felicity says:

    Hi all,
    In 2017 i got a frozen shoulder, which i still have. Since then things havr been getting worse i have got widespread pain, tremor in my hand, regular pins needles in hands & feet, tired, constipation the list goes on. Does this sound like MS? GP says it’s just fibromyalgia and anxiety but i am so worried it’s more.

  5. Sadie Short says:

    I am trying to figure what is happening with my body. I have all the symptoms of Ms but my doctor says no, too old. I am 72 but have had symptoms for several yrs. Now I am having tremors when I am lying down. They start with hip jerking and the arm and hand on that side shaking. Your thoughts please. Thanks Sadie

    • Christina says:

      Hi, look into late onset MS, I am 51 with essential tremors, tremors when I try to stand and periodicaaly nystamous tremors. I have a 5 mm lesion in my frontal lobe white matter along with many other symptoms and I’m being told that I do not have MS. No matter what age, keep fighting for an answer, good luck.

  6. Mike D. says:

    Symptoms of MS first presented themselves in 2001 following a 3 month battle with bronchial pneumonia. I was exposed long term to mold which had been growing in my apartment for sometime . Carpets, walls, ceiling and AC unit and ducts. It started with extreme fatigue and then numbness and tingling beginning with my feet and progressing over a short period of time up my legs and eventually all the way to my shoulders before the doctors could get control of it. After ruling out the other diseases that mimic MS, I was diagnosed with RRMS. 18 years later I still have all the symptoms, flare ups and currently am in a wheelchair unable to walk. Lots of pain, partly the Fibromyalgia. After all this time,the MRI’s still return normal. My research says that this doesn’t mean there is no MS. I still meet all the other McDonald’s criteria for an MS diagnoses, including the bands in my spinal fluid, repeated flare ups, numbness and tingling in arms and legs, trouble swallowing, balance issues, clonus and bladder and bowel movement issues. I have tremors frequently, mostly when I’m finishing a motion with a movement. My tremors involve legs, arms face and neck, and mid section. Some neurologist say this is not MS and it is all in my head, then try to refer me to a psychologist. They’ve taken away my MS diagnoses so trying to find a doctor who will give it back and get me back on maintenance medicine for MS. Copaxone was working. My neurologist moved so I am now having to find a new one who will agree with my previous one.

  7. Herbert C Hunter says:

    I’m 65 and my ms was diagnosed in 2002. My hands have tremors, which really upsets me. How does occupational therapy help?

  8. jake says:

    im 43. live in sydney australia. white male.
    for up to 5 years i have had minor internal tremors in my body all over. mostly left side.
    last 2 years its worse.
    my head has rhythmic type jerks tremors. It feels like the intensity of the jerks and tremors is increasing what I mean by this is for example I might have in 2019 90 minimal drinks per minute 2 years ago I had 60 jerks per minute the intensity is creasing I have spoken to my neurologist and had numerous tests and he has diagnose me with essential tremor although I am becoming more and more scared because I have noticed in the last several months the physical symptoms are more apparent.

    I would really love to speak to other people who have been diagnosed with essential tremor and if they have noticed it’s progressive or if it’s alternates etc

  9. Bobbie says:

    I have had MS most of my life. Diagnosed in late 20’s. Now I’m 75 and I jerk so bad. I’m too old for most MS meds. I’ve been told. I jerk so bad that I’m ready to end my life. The doctors don’t help me so what else is there to do. Baclofen and Gabapentin is not helping. I’m tired of this M.S. life.

    • Jemma says:

      Please don’t give up; new treatments happen all of the time. What about medical marijuana? What about an anti-spasmodic medication? Can you get to an MS Specialist? A lot of university hospitals do research. Check out NARCOMS.org; this is an ongoing Registry of MS patients (I’ve been filling out surveys for 15 years). NARCOMS keeps your name in a database for trials if you are interested.

    • Melanie says:

      Look up Dr Sibyl Wray. Best in Tennessee and surrounding states!! Waiting list but worth it. Neurologist who has specialized in ms and research!

  10. Teala Williams says:

    I was resting before and my body was jumping around like a jumping jack fire works I must have been dreaming because I thought I had dropped something and I went to catch it
    They only happen now when I’m going to sleep or completely relaxed
    It use to happen in my left hand for no reason any time that has stopped but I still don’t trust my hands
    I have not been diagnosed with any kind of tremors I just get told yep that happens with MS which I have had for 9 years

  11. Pat says:

    I started having severe and uncontrollable shaking about 5 years ago, second epuidide about a year later, and the next six months later. Had them every six months until about a year and half ago when I started hemp. Now 18 months ago I had a severe episode Thanksgiving night. It lasted several hours and had to pee about 3 times, so weak I could hardly get to bathrooms. I was exhausted yesterday, slept in chair and did nothing.
    At age 18 had an episode of something weird at work …just went nuts. My doctor thought I might have MS but never investigated further. I am 73 now and had weird stuff ever since. VIsion got really bad but ophthalmology could not find anything wrong. MRI said mild MS or series of mini strokes. I still don’t know what is wrong but presume MS. Those resting episodes are terrible and leave me drained. Today, vision is blurry. So old now, I will just deal with it …just want to know what is wrong.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This