How come I can control my shaking in Parkinson's disease?

Ken Giuffre, MD from John's Hopkins ~


I'm sorry but it's not psychic control or anything like that. The tremor in Parkinson's characteristically decreases its intensity and even disappears when the affected shaking extremity is called upon to make a purposeful movement. This is even one way your neurologist typically differentiates it from other types of tremors that get worse with purposeful movement, so-called 'intention tremors' as with alcohol intoxication. This is why a suspicious police officer on a DUI traffic stop will also perform that same maneuver wherein they have you touch your nose with your index finger, then reach for and touch it to their finger, back and forth as they reposition it to various points in front of your face. The Parkinson's tremor will decrease when you reach for their finger while the 'intention tremor' of inebriation and other causes like stroke will get worse as you reach and try to touch. That said, creating some purposeful internal awareness or construct will lessen or stop a Parkinson's tremor, but only as long as you are paying attention to it. For instance, one trick I do when the tremor in my right hand acts up is to reach my thumb across my palm to meet the pinky on the same hand. As long as I hold my hand in this 'purposeful' position, my tremor decreases significantly, that is, until I get distracted and forget. I hope this explanation has helped clear up your question.

8 Replies

  • My frustrating tremor starts about 15 mins after lying down in bed! It starts of low in intensity but high in beat (approx 150+ beats) - then builds up in intensity! The beat is primarily in my jaws and transfers down my left arm. Fortunately, by doing diaphragmatic breathing, I can eventually get off to sleep for 2-3hrs. This will occur 2-3 times during the night. Placing my tongue between my teeth will stop it temporarily; sucking on a baby's dummy will reduce it most times! But, it is persistent!  I have used Deralin with some benefit. The tremor stops within 5 mins. of getting up & walking around!!

  • Do you sometimes find you cannot stop moving you mouth ,  do you drool a lot or rather do you find you are working your mouth to control the drool 

  • Hi Royprop

    I hate saying this but I have been telling people this, not in such scientific terms, for over 13 years now, but why should people listen to me?


  • RoyPop, I love reading your posts because I always learn something.  This PD is a whole learning experience and sometimes feels like a full-time job with other needs being worked into it.   I also identify more because of your position on being medicated and we are, I think, relatively similar age and recently diagnosed, 2 and a half years and just started taking meds, 5mg selegiline and 2 mg neutro patch.  I still feel some possibility that an MaoB inhibitor might be brain protective and an agonist is less than dopamine but neither of the meds have stopped the tremor but decreased the intensity.  Keep posting and big thank you.

  • I do something similar. I move the affected part at right-angles to the tremor. If I place my hand palm down on a table, the usual tremor is up and down. I can reduce the tremor by moving my hand left and right. I also find that a good quality "on" brought on by my drugs reduces the tremor. Conversely, stress makes the tremor much worse. If I have no time constraints, I can solder micro-electronic circuits, albeit slowly, by waiting for a right-angled movement to create a few seconds with no tremor.


  • How to hide your tremor:  Read soon to be published Parkinson's Worse Villain: Adolph Hitler 666.  The "Fuehrer" hid his tremor by holding a glove tightly in his left hand, grasping the windshield with his left hand in a motorcade parade, or grasping his belt. It helped that the salute was with the left hand.  Oh, one other thing, all (or at least most) of his photographs were carefully planned and edited. 

  • to err is human.................Hitler's salute was with his right hand

  • I do not have tremor but when my hands start to stiffen and ache i lift a small barbell 15 or 25 pounds and it helps a lot.

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