Patient Spotlight: Doug Couch

Essential tremor most often affects older individuals, but this isn’t true for everyone. Sometimes even children can experience these common hand tremors. Today, the Essential Tremor Education Center would like to share the story of Doug Couch, who first experienced tremors in junior high school. After several decades of living with his tremor, he sought treatment for symptomatic relief—and now enjoys increased stability in his treated hand.

As with many people who develop hand tremors, Doug’s shaking was genetic. The tremor was most apparent to him when he was at the cafeteria in school. He explains he felt self-conscious, “trying to carry my plate and my drink back. I would spill it and the other kids would laugh at me.” But he learned how to adapt—he found ways to hold his cup without spilling, and he picked his friends carefully to avoid cruel teasing.

The tremor continued to impact him into his adult years, but he did his best to continue to adapt. He taught photography, which became increasingly difficult without a steady hand. His tremor began to distinctly stand out to him when he tried to switch careers and move into the police department. When training how to shoot, Doug was told that he couldn’t be trained or pass the test until he stopped shaking. He still wasn’t discouraged—after finding a teacher who would work with him, he passed his test.

Doug sought treatment for his tremor from Dr. Tierney at the Sperling Medical Group in South Florida. Speaking directly to Dr. Tierney and the educators at the Essential Tremor Education Center helped drive him toward receiving the new Neuravive treatment, which uses FDA-approved MR-guided focused ultrasound. This treatment uses focused ultrasound to treat the brain without ever using surgery or radiation. And Doug’s result? A greatly reduced tremor. When it comes to seeking treatment for his tremor, Doug says, “It was a simple, simple answer to a complex question.”

Now, Doug is doing his part to help others who are currently struggling with hand tremors. Every Wednesday at 7:00 PM EST, Doug hosts Tremor Chats on Facebook Live as a place to share stories about essential tremor—and the massive impact that treatment has had for many with a tremor. If you want to hear more about his story, you can watch it here.To learn more about essential tremor treatment, you can talk to our educators at the Essential Tremor Education Center by calling 844-NO-TREMOR today.