Resistance training reduces force tremor and improves manual dexterity in older individuals with essential tremor
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Although symptoms of Essential Tremor (ET) are typically controlled with medication, it is of interest to explore additional therapies to assist with functionality. The purpose of this study was to determine if a generalized upper limb resistance training (RT) program improves manual dexterity and reduces force tremor in older individuals with ET. Ten Essential Tremor and 9 controls were recruited into a dual group, pretest–posttest intervention study. Participants performed 6 weeks of upper-limb RT, and battery of manual dexterity and isometric force tremor assessments were performed before and after the RT to determine the benefits of the program. The six-week, high-load, RT program produced strength increases in each limb for the ET and healthy older group. These changes in strength aligned with improvements in manual dexterity and tremor—most notably for the ET group. The least affected limb and the most affected limb exhibited similar improvements in functional assessments of manual dexterity, whereas reductions in force tremor amplitude following the RT program were restricted to the most affected limb of the ET group. These findings suggest that generalized upper limb RT program has the potential to improve aspects of manual dexterity and reduce force tremor in older ET patients.