Shaking in hand

Hi Everyone

I want to get some advice if possible. I have notice recently I have a shaking in my right hand and lower right arm that has become increasingly worse. The thing is that it only happens when my arm is resting like if I rest my arm on the table or on the keyboard of the computer. What I wondered was is this an MS thing or could it be a trapped nerve. Any advice would be grateful.

Hi I suffer with this too, it’s bad again at the moment and it seems to be when I do a lot of typing or writing as I’m right handed. It starts as I seem to relax it and then as I do more it gets worse and I have to just take a break and let it pass as much as it will. I have occasionally had it the left too when I’ve carried something heavy.

I’m afraid I’m new to all this and don’t know what the answer is , but hopefully someone may be able to help x

Highly likely to be an MS thing, I’m afraid, and is called…guess what… “resting tremor”, because it happens when the limb is at rest.

The other kind that sometimes happens is called “intention tremor” - i.e. where you have the intention to do something - e.g. you reach out to touch/grasp something, and instead of the movement being smooth and efficient, your hand (or leg, if you were trying to step onto something) starts to shake.

I think there may be some drugs for tremor, but I don’t have personal experience. It all depends how severe it is, whether you want to bother.

I only have resting tremor in certain very specific situations - the most notable being on the loo, of all places! It seems that something about the exact height of the loo, and where the weight is resting, sets up a tremor in my legs. As I’m not on the loo that much (though it’s getting more), and it can usually be stopped immediately just by shifting my position slightly, I’ve never felt it’s worth reporting, let alone medicating.

It’s been doing it absolutely years - well before diagnosis. I remember one grim night wondering exactly what were the symptoms of Mad Cow Disease, and how many dodgy pies and burgers I might have consumed over the years…before quickly putting it out of my mind.

Little did I know, I did have a central nervous system disorder, so I was closer than I thought. It just wasn’t mad cow/CJD.

The good news is that although it still does it if I don’t sit on the loo exactly the right way, it has never got any worse, and doesn’t seem to have been an omen of anything nastier. It’s just by turns weird, annoying, and occasionally fascinating!



I don’t know why Tina but the bit about dodgy pies and burgers and mad cows disease made me smile. I’m sure the lesions on my brain are messing with my sense of humour section lol. I enjoy reading your posts-always interesting x

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I have intention tremor and take 80mg slow release Propranolol once a day for it. I’ve been on this dose for years and probably need to increase as the tremor is getting worse. It’s inconvenient more than anything, occasionally embarrassing when eating in public, my right hand is worse than left and getting food in a smooth motion from plate to mouth isn’t always a success. I tend to cut up food then eat from fork using my left hand much less risk of missing mouth.

Jan x

What I found interesting is that the one type of tremor not mentioned above is the only one that Propranolol is recommended for:

The two types of tremor are:

Essential tremor. High frequency, low amplitude. Think of a Parkinsons sufferer.
Intention tremor. Low frequency, high amplitude.
Resting tremor is a sub-set of Intention tremor.

I’m lucky (in a way) in that I am right handed and my intention tremor is in the left hand and arm. So, I eat exactly the opposite to Jan (but apart from “fine dining” I had been doing this for years anyway). When you have tried to put a forkful of food up a nostril - and the next one into your beard - you need to learn to cope very fast. My approach was to move my head down to the fork. Happily, most restaurants in the UK and in France no longer look sideways at a fork held in the right hand (of course this is quite normal in the US). I can get the resting tremor when pushing myself up from a chair or table, and it has even caused the hand to slip off altogether. I have asked several Neuros/MS nurses about the tremor, and never had a Beta Blocker suggested. I was on one (Atenolol) after my heart bypass, and was taken off it when I could not get my heart rate up high enough to benefit from aerobic exercise. Now I cannot do the exercise, so I will ask at the next appointment (or even my GP).


Hi new to the forum , I have had Ms for about 17 yrs now , symptoms have remained steady until recently , for some months now levels of fatigue have got worse , I have put blame on Ms until the weekend when I noticed a swelling on my neck . I went to gp and it would appear to be my thyroid ,she has taken bloods and thinks it may be under active thyroid ,this could explain me feeling so unwell for the last few months . I was just wondering if anyone has developed this as well as Ms and what was the outcome just looking for a light at the end of the tunnel thanks

Sorry I got all mixed up with my left and right hand…but you get the idea

I’m also mixed up with your post Geoff what is the one tremor that Propranolol is used for? My GP suggested and prescribed the propranolol, as far as I know he didn’t consult my Neuro.

Jan x

My Uncle has a tremor in both hands (doesn’t have MS) and he has been on propanolol for a good few years but doesn’t seem to be much use to be honest. The consultants don’t seem to be sure if it’s Parkinson’s or just a tremor…

Hi Jan

Propranolol is recommended for essential tremor (think a continual small shaking of your hand, but no big, twitchy, movements).

I talked about this with my physiotherapist today (she had another possible treatment for intention tremor, which I have not tried yet), and that led me to dig into the BNF. It seems that Propranolol is not a brand in itself, but as Propranolol Hydrochloride is the key ingredient is several (all probably) prescription beta-blockers. So, that makes me ask exactly what is on the label of the one that you take?


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I have suffered with tremors for quite a good few years now. I eventually went to se my neuro when I couldn’t get to Sleep at night. I would get out of bed and sit on a chair, still jumping, laid on settee, still jumping. He prescribed Clonazepam. I still have a myoclonic jerk but no where near as often. Both my hands shake and eating can be a chore at times. So I would say if sounds very much like a MS symptom. I sympathise with you.



Hi Geoff

Bedranol (Propranolol Hydrochloride) is on the box. The label from the pharmacy says Propranolol. I’ve been taking them so long I can’t remember if I have always had this brand or if I started on something else and they subsequently changed the brand.

I do not doubt what you are saying about Propranolol being used for essential tremor. My GP prescribes it for my intention tremor. The leaflet that comes with the capsules says that they are used to treat, among other things, certain forms of tremor.

Can I ask what other possible treatment your physio suggested?

Jan x

Hi Jan

Bedranol is a slow release version of Propranolol, so 80mg once daily would make sense. And if it works on your Intention Tremor, I have got to talk to my GP about it.

What did my physio suggest? First you need the context. I do a certain amount of fine work (like taking camera lenses apart). I had the experience of almost getting the last spring in place when my hand twitched and flicked it right across my desk. Her suggestion was to take a teatowel, stick it in a freezer bag and place in the freezer. Before starting the work, take it out and wrap round the bad hand for 10-15 minutes. She has heard this somewhere, and is looking for someone to try it.

The problem is that this may be good for a specific purpose, but you would have to plan in advance - and so many fine jobs need doing right now. I do have to do some open heart surgery on an Apple laptop sometime soon, and this may be when I give it a try.


Geoff, the more I think about this the more I doubt my memory. I have the intention tremor and have had for years, but I also had problems with shaking hands when trying to rush a job that needed steady hands. I distinctly remember a conversation with my GP and him saying something like my adrenalin being out of control. I need to speak to my GP at the end of the month regarding another fit note (sick note) I will ask about the prescription and let you know what he says.

I’m sorry about this Geoff, I honestly set out commenting on this thread convinced of the reason I was taking Propranolol !

Good luck with the tea towel and open heart surgery, I hope your Apple laptop makes a full recovery

Apologies also to Ruby for taking over your thread

Jan x