MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, the International Essential Tremor Foundation, and healthcare providers across the country are coming together this month to shine a light on essential tremor and the impact it has on millions of people throughout the world. 

Ann Murray, M.D.
Ann Murray, M.D.

Essential tremor is a neurological condition that mostly causes a rhythmic trembling of the hands while performing a task, such as eating, writing, dressing, drinking, or when holding a posture, such as with the arms outstretched in front of the body. The tremor can also affect the head, voice, legs, and trunk. Essential tremor is often confused with Parkinson’s disease although it is eight times more common, affecting an estimated 10 million Americans and millions worldwide.

“Essential tremor is more than just a tremor. It is a life-changing condition. Although this disease is not life threatening, it can impact every aspect of a patient’s life. Unfortunately, many people with essential tremor do not seek medical care, from either a lack of awareness or a unnecessary acceptance of their disease,” Ann Murray, M.D., WVU Medicine neurologist, said. “This month, we are raising awareness about essential tremor and encouraging those who may have it to seek treatment. Life is more than just the years we live, it’s how we live those years, and there is no better time than the present to get back to living our best life.”

At the WVU Medicine Comprehensive Movement Disorders Clinic, neurologists who specialize in movement disorders work together with experts from all related fields, including Neurosurgery, Neuropsychology, Neuropsychiatry, Occupational and Physical Therapy, and Otolaryngology, to treat patients who suffer from essential tremor.

WVU neurologists perform the initial assessment of patients who present with difficulties related to muscle movement, and, in some cases, may be the only specialists that patients need to see. When surgical intervention is indicated, patients are referred to WVU’s neurosurgeons, who work closely with the neurologists to develop appropriate treatment plans.

Most patients can find significant relief with modern treatments, including medications, surgery, injections, physical therapy, and implantable devices. The goal of treatment is to enable patients to regain optimal motor control of their bodies and to improve their quality of life.

To learn how WVU neurosurgeons used an implantable device to treat a patient with essential tremor, click here

For more information about the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, visit www.wvumedicine.org/rni