Essential Tremor Treatment in NJ | Hackensack Meridian Health   

What is Essential Tremor? 

Essential tremor is one of the most common types of movement disorders and the most common type of tremor, affecting 10 million Americans. It’s a neurological disorder that causes rhythmic muscle contractions and involuntary shaking in the hands, arms, legs, head or torso. It can also affect the vocal cords, causing a shaky voice.

Although it’s generally a benign condition, some tremors can be so debilitating that they impact a person’s ability to function.

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Why Choose Hackensack Meridian Health for Essential Tremor Treatment

Patient Care

Our essential tremor experts create customized, comprehensive treatment plans to fit your specific needs. Our primary goal is to help minimize your symptoms and improve your independence and quality of life.


Our movement disorder specialists include board-certified, fellowship-trained neurologists, highly skilled nurses, rehabilitation experts and many others to provide you with the best care and treatment options available, close to home.


We are among only 40 centers in the world, and the only in New Jersey, to specialize in High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, a minimally invasive alternative to deep brain stimulation for patients with essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease tremor that has not responded to medications.

Find an Essential Tremor Doctor

Our movement disorder experts also include fellowship-trained and board-certified physicians who hold the highest level of training and accreditation possible in their specialty, as well as highly skilled nurses to provide you with the best care and treatment options available, right here in your community.

We offer movement disorder programs at the following locations:

Led by Florian P. Thomas, M.D., chair of Neurology and the Neuroscience Institute, and Hooman Azmi, M.D., director of Functional and Restorative neurosurgery, our team is uniquely equipped to deliver a comprehensive, individualized program of care that meets the specific needs of each patient and their families.

360 Essex Street, Suite 303
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Led by Rocco DiPaola, M.D., movement disorders neurologist, and Shabbar Danish, M.D., chair of Neurosurgery, our team is among the best in the nation.

Using innovative technology, non-invasive techniques and surgical solutions, our multidisciplinary team offers patients myriad options for treatment, care and support for movement disorders.  

Dr. Robert H. Harris Neuroscience Treatment Center
Amdur Pavilion
1945 Route 33
Neptune, NJ 07753

HOPE Tower
19 Davis Avenue, 4th Floor
Neptune, NJ 07753


Led by Philip A. Hanna, M.D., director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center, and Stephen M. Bloomfield, M.D., director of Functional Neurosurgery, our team is uniquely equipped to deliver a comprehensive and individualized care plan that allows our patients to remain in control of their bodies and lives.

65 James Street
Edison NJ 08820

Clinical trials for gastric cancer at John Theurer Cancer Center
Clinical Trials and Research for Parkinson’s Disease in New Jersey

New Jersey’s Hackensack University Medical Center is among a select group of U.S. medical centers participating in the RESTORE-1 Phase 2 Clinical Study, a gene therapy trial for patients with Parkinson’s disease. 

Essential tremor can be caused by unusual electrical activity in the brain that sends faulty messages to the muscles. People usually experience essential tremor in middle age. Tremors can become more severe as you get older, or due to certain medications, stress, exhaustion, low blood sugar or even a fever.

Genetics may also play a role; a child who has a parent with this condition has a 50 percent higher chance of developing essential tremor.

Essential tremor often appears in adolescence or middle age (between ages 40 to 50) and tends to initially affect your hands while you’re using them, rather than when they’re at rest.

Other essential tremor symptoms include: 

  • Difficulty writing or drawing; 
  • Shaking, trembling hands that make it difficult to eat or hold objects; 
  • Tremors that are more noticeable on your dominant side and less noticeable when your hands are resting;
  • A shaky voice;
  • More intense shaking/tremors after ingesting caffeine or when stressed; 
  • Less intense tremors after drinking small amounts of alcohol;

Involuntary nodding (“yes”) or shaking (“no”) of the head.

A Hackensack Meridian Health neurologist will perform a series of tests to diagnose essential tremor and to rule out other conditions that might cause your tremors, such as a hyperactive thyroid, a medication you’re taking or a neurological disorder such as multiple sclerosis or stroke. 

After reviewing your symptoms and medical history and performing a physical exam, a movement disorder specialist may conduct the following to potentially diagnose you with essential tremor: 

  • Perform lab tests, such as by collecting blood and urine samples; 
  • Conduct physical tests, such as watching you drink from a glass, write a word or draw a shape;
  • Assess your cognitive function, such as memory, attention and language skills with a neuropsychological exam;
  • Perform an electromyography (EMG) to measure the electrical impulses of your nerves and muscles;
  • Perform computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other imaging tests to look for neurological abnormalities;
  • Conduct a neurophysiological exam using visual, electrical and other types of stimulation to detect neurological abnormalities.

Essential tremor can be a symptom of Parkinson’s disease, however, someone with essential tremor does not always have Parkinson’s disease. The two conditions differ in many ways, such as:

  • Essential tremor is eight times more common than Parkinson’s disease.
  • Parkinson’s disease tremors generally begin around age 60 and often on one side of the body. Essential tremor can begin in adolescence or around age 40 or 50 and initially affects both sides of the body.
  • Parkinson’s disease tremors usually occur at rest. Essential tremors usually occur during movement. 
  • Essential tremor has a closer connection to genetic causes than Parkinson’s disease. 
  • Parkinson’s disease is essentially a “head-to-toe” neurological disorder that affects many parts of the body, causing stiff muscles, slow movement, balance issues and stooped posture. Essential tremor typically involves shaking in the upper half of the body only. 
  • A glass of wine can temporarily reduce essential tremors and trembling, but does nothing for tremors related to Parkinson’s. (Note: Alcohol is not a recommended treatment for essential tremor, as it can lead to rebound tremors once the alcohol passes through the body.)
Patient Story

“It’s a miracle what the focused ultrasound procedure did for me. Before, I struggled to write or hold a cup of coffee. Now I’m back to easily signing checks, driving and doing jobs around the house. The difference was enormous right away.”

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