What causes tremors in MS

Tremors in MS are usually caused by the effects of MS in the brain, but can also happen because of muscle weakness, problems with posture or the side effects of certain medications.

The effects of MS in the brain

In MS, the protective ‘myelin’ which is wrapped around nerves in the brain and the spinal cord becomes damaged. When myelin is damaged, messages get slower, distorted or stopped. This is what causes the symptoms of MS.

The effects can come from inflammation from an MS relapse or more lasting damage to the myelin or the nerve underneath. Sometimes after recovering from a relapse, some tremor lingers.

MS tremors are usually caused by damage to myelin in an area of the brain known as the ‘cerebellum’, and the nerves leading to and from it. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls your balance and coordination. It smooths out the movement of your limbs, eyes and speech.

MS tremors can also be the result of demyelination in other areas of the brain, including the ‘thalamus’ and the ‘basal ganglia’. These are also both involved in controlling movement.

Muscle weakness, posture and medications

Tremor can be the result of muscle weakness and problems with posture, or a side effect of some medications (such as drugs for asthma). It could also be caused by other neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s.

Whatever the cause of MS tremors there are ways to manage the effects.

Find out more about treating and managing MS tremor

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