Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports

, 13:353

What is Essential Tremor?

Movement Disorders (SA Factor, Section Editor)

DOI: 10.1007/s11910-013-0353-4

Cite this article as:
Elble, R.J. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep (2013) 13: 353. doi:10.1007/s11910-013-0353-4
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Movement Disorders


Classic essential tremor is a clinical syndrome of action tremor in the upper limbs (at least 95 % of patients) and less commonly the head, face/jaw, voice, tongue, trunk, and lower limbs, in the absence of other neurologic signs. However, the longstanding notion that essential tremor is a monosymptomatic tremor disorder is being challenged by a growing literature describing associated disturbances of tandem walking, personality, mood, hearing, and cognition. There is also epidemiologic, pathologic, and genetic evidence that essential tremor is pathophysiologically heterogeneous. Misdiagnosis of essential tremor is common because clinicians frequently overlook other neurologic signs and because action tremor in the hands is caused by many conditions, including dystonia, Parkinson disease, and drug-induced tremor. Thus, essential tremor is nothing more than a syndrome of idiopathic tremulousness, and the challenge for researchers and clinicians is to find specific etiologies of this syndrome.


Essential tremorPhysiologic tremorDystoniaParkinson disease

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologySouthern Illinois University School of MedicineSpringfieldUSA