Helping To Stabilize Tremors In Children

By Dr. Dr. BaniakMary Jane Baniak, DPT

There are millions of people that suffer from tremors. In the United States, there are approximately one million people who suffer from Parkinson’s disease and as many as 10 million people who suffer from essential tremor (ET). These conditions compromise the ability to complete basic tasks. These tasks can include basic tasks such as eating soup and getting dressed, as well as more complex tasks, such as writing and playing a musical instrument. It is important to treat the underlying condition when tremor stabilization is the goal. You can also help stabilize tremors in children by using physical therapy and modalities. Surgical intervention may be necessary for severe cases. Tremors may become worse or more severe with the use of caffeine, stimulants, stress, and other “triggers”.


Treating the underlying condition can be effective

Unfortunately, there is no cure for most tremors. The cause of the tremors dictates the most appropriate form of treawriting 2tment. In some instances, it is most effective to treat the underlying condition. For example, children who suffer from psychogenic tremors may benefit from treating the psychological problem.

Drug treatment or symptomatic drug therapy is available for several forms of tremors. Parkinson’s drug treatment includes dopamine-like drugs, such as ropinirole or pramipexole, or levodopa. Other drugs commonly used to minimize Parkinson’s essential tremors include anticholinergic and hydrochloride drugs. Propranolol and other beta blockers (i.e. nadolol) as well as primidone, which is an anticonvulsant drug, may prove effective.

A physician may recommend anticholinergic drugs, clonazepam, and intramuscular botulinum toxin injections to minimize dystonic tremor. For children who have head and voice tremors and certain types of movement disorders, a doctor may prescribe botulinum toxin. Primidone and clonazepam are also good options for children suffering from primary orthostatic tremor.

Improving muscle control and enabling basic functioning using physical therapy as well as assistive devices

For certain children, physical therapy and/or occupational therapy can play a role in reducing tremors as well as improving muscle control and general coordination. A physical or occupational therapist must assess an individual’s muscle control and strength, tremor positioning, and functional skills before developing a treatment plan. Some children learn to gain control by bracing or holding an affected limb during a tremor period. For other children, balancing and coordination exercises are most effective.

Assistive devices don’t eliminate the problem, but they can enhance basic functioning. There are assistive devices available for eating (i.e. utensils, plates), dressing, writing skills, and keyboard skills. Talk to your physical or occupational therapist about which devices will be most useful for your child’s specific condition. He or she may also be able to recommend weights and splits that will assist your child with basic functioning.

Eliminating tremors using surgical intervention such as DBS or thalamotomy

In the event of severe tremors that don’t respond to drugs, a physician may suggest surgical intervention such as deep brain stimulation or thalamotomy.

Deep brain stimulation or DBS is the most common type of surgical treatment for tremors. DBS is used for treating essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, and dystonia. This treatment involves the use of electrodes that are implanted to send high frequency electrical signals to the thalamus.

Thalamotomy involves creating lesions in the thalamus. This treatment is most effective for Parkinson’s disease, essential, intention, or cerebellar tremors. A thalamotomy is an inpatient procedure that is performed under local anesthesia.

Avoiding caffeine, stimulants, stress, and other “triggers” that can increase tremors in children

Regardless of the type of or cause of the tremor, there are certain “triggers” that can worsen the condition. These triggers include caffeine, other stimulants, stress, and strong emotions. Avoiding these triggers will benefit your child’s function.

Mighty Tykes Infant & Child Weights are intended to promote physical strength and stability for optimal development. Whether your child is having difficulty meeting key milestones or has been diagnosed with a specific issue, such as essential tremors, Mighty Tykes offer significant benefits. Our weights are approved by licensed physical and occupational therapists, are latex and lead free, and are made in America. To learn more about our product and how it can help your child, give us a call at (877) 456-2822 or Contact Us via email.


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Mary Jane Baniak, Ph.D.

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