Living and Working with Essential Tremor

Essential tremor symptoms have the greatest impact on the smallest things we take for granted—moments like drinking a glass of cool water without spilling or signing our name legibly on a form. But what can be really frustrating to those with essential tremor is the impact it can have in the workplace, where an individual can feel self-conscious about their tremor. Teachers, for example, especially feel the strain of prying eyes.

While any occupation can draw attention to a shaky hand, teaching young children adds another layer of difficulty. Children are curious, and are often still learning the rules of social etiquette. Once they’ve observed a tremor, they’re likely to ask about it—and possibly even tell their parents. Opening up to a room full of students, or even parents, can be uncomfortable and bring even more unwanted attention.

So, what can teachers do in this situation? First, know that you’re not alone in your experiences with essential tremor. Although not as well known, this is the most common movement tremor—even more so than Parkinson’s. An open discussion about essential tremor, although initially uncomfortable, may normalize the image of your hands shaking—and put the topic to rest for everyone.

And if you don’t want your tremor to be a point of discussion? That’s okay, too. Remember to breathe and help find ways to manage stress, as this can help to manage the tremors. However, if you find that your tremor is significantly impacting your job, it may be worth seeking treatment. Options can range from medication to invasive or noninvasive surgery. For many, any reduced symptoms can be a huge relief when it comes to maintaining autonomy and preventing curious minds from questioning the tremor.

If you have questions about managing your essential tremor symptoms or potential treatment options, please reach out to our educators at the Essential Tremor Education Center. Our team is here to offer support through your struggle with tremors and answer any questions you may have about treatment options. You can speak to our educators today by calling 1-800-NO-TREMOR.