Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stuttering and Essential Tremor?

About 4 years ago, I was diagnosed with Essential Tremor, which is a condition that has symptoms similar to Parkinson's Disease, except the tremors manifest during activity, rather than at rest. My tremors are extremely mild compared to many sufferers and most people don't notice I have it unless they spend more than a few minutes in my presence. To give an example of a manifestation, if I use my right arm (most affected) to put a cap on a bottle, the arm threatens to jerk around on it's own, seemingly, and the harder I try to get the cap on, the worse it gets. Threading a needle is all but impossible and once I almost threw a cup of coffee in my own face. If I hold a piece of paper up to read it with that hand, it shakes almost uncontrollably. In fact, the last example is what alerted my coworkers to my condition and a recommendation to see a doctor.

Most recently, I'm having discomfort in my right shoulder. It's not pain exactly, it's a general feeling of discomfort and unease in that shoulder. It's very difficult to explain. I feel like it's almost glowing, if that makes sense. Like something is going wrong with it. Sometimes I fear to hold out my arm, because it feels like my arm will just slip out of the socket. That's a strange sensation to describe but it's very annoying and I don't really want to go back to the doctor.

I am wondering if there are a significant number of either stutters or ET's who also have the other condition. I am wondering if the two conditions are related. Both seem to have neurological elements and both have unknown sources, except for heredity, perhaps.
I have tried to find information on ET websites, but most are filled with older people who suffer from a myriad of conditions in addition to ET and I find myself lost in a sea of posts filled with complaints about not only ET, but fibromyalgia, sciatica, herniated discs, migraines, medication side effects, leaky bowel syndrome, insomnia and gout, amongst other things. My condition is only mild and aside from Essential Tremor, I am completely healthy. My last cold was nearly three years ago.
Anyway, just wanted to write about that because my right arm is bothering me right now and I wish I had answers.


Kari said...


I was diagnosed with essential tremor about a year ago, though I'd been having symptoms for much longer. For the past two years, I've had some problems stuttering. One neurologist tried to convince me that both my tremors and my stuttering were psychosomatic ("you're female and in college- it must be psychological"), but another gave me the ET diagnosis and medication to help.

What I noticed was that when I got on the medication (Topamax, at first), my stutter also disappeared. When I had to switch from Topamax to another medication due to side effects, my stutter returned.

My stutter and tremor also seem to get worse on the same days; if I forget to take my medication, I'll start stuttering and my hands shake worse.

I do also have migraines, but both my stutter and tremors worsen during them; my doctor told me it was probably due to my body being under stress.

Anyway, I'm fairly convinced that my stutter is due to my tremor, so I hope this helps.

Stuttering Stanley said...

Thanks, Kari, you're the first person I've heard from who shares both stuttering and ET, aside from me. I want to look into Topamax. I'm glad you ignored the first neurologist. I hate docs who blame the patient.

Kari said...

Be careful with Topamax. It was the first one they tried me on, and it had some rather unpleasant side effects. It... er... well, it made me hallucinate? It's rather rare, apparently, but it was really, really freaky at the time.

I'm on Zonegran now, and it works great.

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ady said...

i've just been diagnosed with ET - it's very mild to be honest, but i have stammered all my life and recently stammering has effected my voice (though i can still sing. i am interested in this possible link between the two conditions. playing the piano helps me deal with the lack of fluency and i have become worried recently that et may effect my piano playing so i am interested in the comment about a medication for et also helping stammering.

Kevin said...

I experience my stutter as part of my E.T. When I don't get enough sleep they both can get pretty bad. I was just diagnosed-I was on clonazepam for the last 5mths as the Dr. believed it was Psychosomatic. Now he tells me its E.T. and gives me a prescription for Mysoline (primidone) anyone tried this one?

Dwayne Roseborough said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stephen Nix said...

Hey, I have the same thing. I just got it a bit ago. I've seen one gp and one neurologist so far.the neurologist had fly bad reviews but she was the first available. I'm 23 and she tried to tell me I have conversion disorder and tried to get me to go to her psychologist and gave me a prescription for zanex I told her I wouldn't take. I've never been traumatized, abused, etc. The stuttering and tremors started at the same time around Sunday night the wk I missed sleep do to a crazy work schedule. Im in IT, I caught up on sleep but it didn't go away. Seeing another neurologist this Friday. I haven't taken any medications yet and don't know if I should when I can still function with it. Just fly hard to talk. Ive never stuttered b4 in my life.

Jeanette said...

I have had essential tremor for years. I have just started to stutter with repeated beginning sounds sometimes. I understand it is somewhat different than some forms of dystonia but I can't say I like this new development. It seems that your arm movements involve a lot more gross motor movement than the hand shaking which I have not seen before. Can't give any thoughts on the unusual shoulder feelings you have, perhaps a neurologist could help. Many in my family have essential tremors from a maternal great grandma to one of my children. I also get ice pick headaches and migraines which hae hormonal, caffeine(I don't drink coffee or tea),fluorescent light flickering, school bus strobes, and other triggers. I hope that we all get the help we need in managing symptoms. I do not take anything to help these though I take 100-200 mg of Ubiquinone(Co-Q10) for dyastolic blood pressure which some have found to help for E tremors though often at higher doses than I take. Prayers!

Tomé Calaça said...

I also have tremors and stutter as well. I went to a neurologist and he said about the tremors that my physiologic tremor is more exacerbated than other people and he didn't give me medication, but I didn't believe him because I tremble a lot more than normal people . So I went to another neurologist and since I have 19 years old he only prescribed me Inderal 10mg 3x/day. I take that for a month and it didn't help on the tremors or the stutter. So, on my second appointment he increased the dose to 20mg 3x/day. But still no effect. I improved the dose to 40 mg 2x/day (one at lunch, and one at dinner) but still no effect again. Inderal slows your heart rate, and you don't get the physical symptoms of anxiety (sweat, increased heart rate, etc...) and it's the most recommended medication for ET. The only good thing Inderal does to me, it's when im anxious, I don't feel my heart racing ( I suffer from anxiety because of the tremors and stutter). So I searched on google and it seems that Primidone helps on the tremors too. I have to see my neurologist and tell him if he can switch to Primidone and hope this med helps on my ET. My neurologist also prescribed me Xanax 0.25 mg only for stressful situations but 0.25mg doesn't work on me. I have to talk to him because of this as well. I guess my neurologist it's reluctant on give me higher dosages because I'm too young, but what's the point of taking minimal doses of meds, If I feel it doesn't help my situation?

P.S: Sorry for my bad english. It's not my native language.

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