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Head vibration before sleeping or stepping out – what’s the problem?

How should we describe internal tremors? They are tremors, but they are not external that they can be seen, they are internal. If that explanation did nothing to help you understand internal tremors, then maybe we can elaborate it as a sense of vibration that someone feels, say of one part of their body, but when they look at the particular body part, it is not shaking or moving. Someone might feel like his or her head is wobbling, when in reality the head is completely still.  Another thing worth noting regarding internal tremors, is the fact that, since it is not visibly apparent like other tremors, the internal tremors are dependent on the subjective description from patients, leading some to raise questions regarding its clinical importance and validity. Here, we look into the causes of internal tremors.

It is understandable if most have never felt this symptom, since internal tremors are reported mostly among people with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). PD is a disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement and control. As it progresses over time, individuals with PD will have muscle rigidity and stiffness, worsening tremors and slowing of movement. Even though the most usual type of tremors that occur in PD are the resting tremors, the internal tremors are also part of the symptoms. While both can be troublesome for the people affected, internal tremors however are not as debilitating as its counterpart.

Another cause for internal tremors is a disease by the name of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective coverings of nerve cells called the myelin sheath. This process is called demyelination. It affects the brain, spinal cord and can cause multitude of symptoms affecting movement as well as sensation. These symptoms can be tingling sensation, muscle spasm and weakness, balance and also cognitive problems. Vision problems and pain are also common with MS. It is considered as an autoimmune illness and scientists are not exactly sure what causes MS.

In a survey by Cochrane et al, the prevalence of internal tremors was studied in 3 disorders – Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Essential Tremors. It was then concluded that the symptom appears to be common in all 3 of them. Essential tremor is a disorder of the nervous system, characterized by involuntary and uncontrollable shaking, especially in the hands when someone tries to do routine tasks such as holding something, drinking or tying shoelaces. Like other conditions that affect movements, it is also a troublesome disorder to deal with and can be quite frustrating most of the time.

The disorders mentioned are the 3 major conditions frequently linked to internal tremors. It is important to remember that even though the tremors are not visible to the eyes, they do exist and they are a real documented manifestation of some diseases. In some literature, it was suggested that the internal tremors may be resulted from the combination of subtle physical tremors and patients’ anxiety. If someone has similar symptoms as we have listed out, it is best to get medical advice from doctors. All in all, further study is still needed to better understand internal tremors and the prevalence in other disorders.