Alan Dambach Shares His Essential Tremor Treatment Story

As many with essential tremor know, a hand tremor can have a gigantic impact on day-to-day life. Tasks that many take for granted, such as sipping a glass of water, can be an embarrassing, stressful task for those with a tremor. The Essential Tremor Education Center would like to share the story of Allen, who experienced a debilitating tremor. But, after undergoing essential tremor treatment, he can handle daily tasks with ease.

Allen first developed his hand tremor in his late 50s. As with many individuals with a tremor, his was familial—his father had also struggled with tremors. Allen found that his tremors were growing worse over time, to the point that they were severely impacting the things he enjoyed doing. He says he feared buffets and salad bars, and he couldn’t write or fill out a deposit slip. He could no longer enjoy working on cars as a hobby—he bought a project car but then gave up because of the tremor.

His daughter, a speech pathologist, was familiar with essential tremor and suggested considering Deep Brain Stimulation, a surgical treatment that places electrodes into the brain to control the tremor. Allen didn’t want to undergo surgery, so he did his own research on essential tremor and learned about MR-guided focused ultrasound. This noninvasive treatment uses focused ultrasound to lesion the affected area of the brain. But, at the time, the procedure was only being performed in clinical trials. Allen did his best to get into a trial quick—he knew that, once it became FDA-approved, more and more people would be seeking treatment. He was accepted into a trial at the University of Maryland and underwent treatment.

How is his tremor now? On Tremor Chats with Doug Couch, Allen showed the effectiveness of his treatment by pouring water from one cup into another. As only one hand can be treated, it was an easy way to show the difference between his steady hand and his shaky. When he poured water from a cup in his treated hand into a cup in his untreated hand, the flow of water was steady with very minimal sign of a shake. When he poured water from the cup in his untreated hand, the shake was more obvious—the flow was not steady, almost missing the cup. The improvement made in his steady hand was clear.

If you want to hear more about Allen’s story, you can hear him talk more about his experiences with essential tremor treatment in this Tremor Chat episode. And if you want to learn more about what treatment options may be available for your tremors, you can speak to one of our educators today by calling 844-NO-TREMOR.