How Deep Brain Stimulation Works to Control Tremors

Uncontrollable tremors can interfere with your quality of life and make it difficult for you to stay active and engaged in your usual activities. Even minor tremors can interfere with basic daily tasks, such as reading, writing, and eating.

Christopher Duma, MD is highly skilled in treating tremors and the brain conditions that cause them. He offers several solutions for treating tremors, including deep brain stimulation.

Why you have tremors

The unwanted shaking or trembling movements of tremors can occur in just one or multiple areas of your body, especially noticeable in the hands and head. Tremors develop when there is a disconnect in the part of your brain that controls your muscle movements.

You may also develop tremors because of underlying health conditions that affect muscle control, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Tremors can even be a side effect of long-term drug or alcohol abuse or the ongoing use of certain medicines.

There are people who develop tremors because of their own genetics and family backgrounds, while others have tremors for no specific reason.

Treatment options for tremors

Although there’s no cure for tremors, with proper treatment, you can greatly reduce and manage your episodes of uncontrolled shaking and trembling movements in the long-term.

Many people benefit from medications, such as anti-seizure medicines and beta-blockers, to decrease the severity of tremors. Changes in your lifestyle can greatly improve your control over tremors, such as eating a healthy diet and avoiding caffeine and certain medications that can worsen tremors.

Physical therapy is also beneficial for strengthening your overall muscle health and improving your muscle control. Physical therapy is a good option for people with tremors in general, but may be even more important if tremors interfere with your balance and coordination.

If these options aren’t enough to control tremors, Dr. Duma may recommend deep brain stimulation.

The basics of deep brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation involves the surgical implantation of a device that delivers electrical impulses to certain areas of the brain.

Dr. Duma connects electrodes to areas of your pain where abnormal signals that trigger tremors originate. These electrodes send out impulses of electricity to interfere with abnormal signals and prevent them from traveling to the brain.

The stimulator device is operated by a device that connects to the electrodes and resides just below the surface of your skin, typically in the upper part of your chest.

Understanding your risks for deep brain stimulation

Deep brain stimulation is a minimally invasive surgical procedure and like any type of surgery does carry risks. In order to implant electrodes into the brain, Dr. Duma must make small holes in your skull and then make an incision in your chest to store the control device.

These surgical procedures may increase your risk for infection or bleeding and require some downtime to ensure you heal properly. Dr. Duma continues to monitor the healing of your surgical incisions during follow-up appointments and ensures you are free of infection and pain.

You can also expect that finding the right settings for controlling your tremors takes some time. Dr. Duma works closely with you to ensure your stimulator is working well and providing maximum benefit in reducing the frequency and severity of your tremors.

If you struggle to function because of uncontrolled tremors and want to learn more about deep brain stimulation, schedule a consultation with Dr. Duma today using the online booking feature or by calling the office. 

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