Exercises for Shaky Hands and When You Should See a Doctor

It is normal for your hands to shake slightly as the nerves and muscles switch continuously between states of relaxation and contraction, says the appropriately named website EmbarrassingProblems.com.

Strengthen your hands to make them more steady. (Image: baytunc/iStock/GettyImages)

However, if your shaky hands are preventing you from performing everyday activities, such as writing, using cutlery and raising a glass to your mouth, you should see a doctor for a professional diagnosis.

Common causes include fatigue, stress or nerves; too much caffeine or sugar; overexertion and some medications — especially those for asthma and depression. Exercises can build hand strength to reduce tremors, but again, see a doctor before starting your own treatment plan.

Deep-Breathing Exercises

Deep-breathing exercises are most effective if your shaky hands are caused by stress, nerves or fatigue. This is because breathing and relaxation exercises promote blood flow, and therefore oxygen, around the body.

Try sitting or lying comfortably away from all other distractions and breathing in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth. Your exhalation should be twice as long as your inhalation to rid the body of toxins. As you breathe, concentrate on letting go of the tension in all parts of your body, including your hands.

Hand-Strength Exercise

Performing regular exercises to strengthen the muscles in your hands will give you more control over their movement and improve dexterity. One exercise that you can perform easily throughout the day — whether you're seated at your desk or watching TV — is squeezing a ball.

You can use any soft, small rubber ball as long as it has some flexibility and simply squeeze it in one hand as hard as possible, says PhysioAdvisor.com. Hold each squeeze for about five seconds and repeat 10 times, stopping if you feel any pain; then swap to the other hand.

Stretch Your Hands

Stretching your wrists and fingers is particularly useful if your tremors are caused by trapped nerves and/or repetitive activities, such as typing. This is because regular stretching will ease stiffness and improve circulation to your hands and wrists to energize muscles that can get twitchy through fatigue and lack of oxygen.

Try bending the fingers of one hand back, one by one and then all at once, to give your palm a good stretch; repeat on the other hand. Do the same exercise for your thumb, gently bending it forward and back to promote movement. Never force the stretches and, although a gentle tug is normal, always stop if you feel any pain.

When to See a Doctor

Shaky hands can be caused by a condition called essential tremor. Although this condition is not life-threatening, it often gets worse over time, according to Mayo Clinic. This type of tremor typically occurs in the hands first and worsens when you are trying to do an activity. It often affects one hand more than the other.

Tremors can be a sign of a more serious medical condition such as Parkinson's disease. However, with this particular condition, hands often shake while resting rather than only occurring with activity. See a doctor to determine the underlying cause of your shaky hands.

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