Benign essential tremor is the most common kind of movement disorders. While this health condition typically appears in individuals over the age of 40, it can also strike in childhood. Benign essential tremors rarely trouble children under the age of 10.
Benign essential tremors involve uncontrollable, rhythmic shaking while moving or holding certain positions. This shaking is often triggered by stress, physical exhaustion, low blood sugar, fever or heightened emotion.
Benign essential tremors typically affect a child’s hands. These tremors occasionally affect the legs, head, arms, trunk and voice.
While the exact cause of childhood onset benign essential tremors is unknown, there seems to be a strong genetic factor. Essential tremors may be the result of communication problems between areas of the child’s brain.
Children with benign essential tremors are often embarrassed because they might have trouble performing simple tasks like holding a pencil or participating in physical education courses. This health condition isn’t life threatening, however.
While there is no specific cure for benign essential tremors, some children are prescribed anticonvulsant medications or beta blockers. The elimination of stimulants, such as caffeine, from the child’s diet might help to reduce the frequency and intensity of tremors.
Benign essential tremor is a permanent health condition. While the frequency of the tremors might decrease as the child gets older, the severity of the tremors often increases.