Testing for tremor

Definition:
A tremor is characterised by the involuntary, rhythmic contraction and subsequent relaxation of a muscle, resulting in the movement of certain body parts (most noticeable in the hands and head). Causes include: cerebellar, dystonic, essential, orthostatic, Parkinsonian, physiologic, psychogenic, and rubral.

Test procedure:
The tests for tremor determine any functional limitations, such as difficulty with handwriting or the ability to hold an item.
The patient may be asked by the examiner;
• to place a finger on the tip of his/her nose,
• draw a spiral
• perform other tasks or exercises that require dexterity such as putting a key in a door
A particular test involves the practitioner will instructing the patient to have their hands and arms extended in front of them at ninety degrees. The patient is asked to keep them still whilst the examiner looks out for any sign of tremor

Considerations:
The majority of tremors occur in the hands. Tremors should be investigated as they may be a symptom of a neurological disorder. There is often no cure for a tremor and the appropriate treatment is reliant on accurate diagnosis. Certain tremors will respond when an underlying condition is treated. Parkinsonian tremor will improve whilst L-DOPA is being administered. Tremors can be linked to alcohol or drug abuse.