Physical therapy interventions for the management of hand tremors in patients with Parkinson's disease: a systematic review

Neurol Sci. 2023 Feb;44(2):461-470. doi: 10.1007/s10072-022-06420-1. Epub 2022 Oct 7.


Background: Several physical therapy modalities have been used to improve hand tremors in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). However, little is known about the efficacy of these techniques. Therefore, we conducted this study to synthesize evidence from published studies on the efficacy of physical therapy techniques for hand tremors in PD patients.

Methods: We followed the PRISMA statement and Cochrane handbook guidelines when conducting this study. We conducted an electronic literature search of PubMed, Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials, Web of Science, Ovid, and Embase, and then we selected clinical trials assessing the efficacy of any physical therapy intervention for hand tremors in patients with PD. Study outcomes were extracted, and evidence was synthesized narratively.

Results: A total of six modalities described in six studies were included in this systematic review. Out of the six interventions, the tremor's glove and electrical stimulation showed significant improvements in root mean square angular velocity (59% and 43.8%, respectively) and UPDRS tremor score (P < 0.05 for both). Also, eccentric exercises were associated with significant reductions in the mean resting tremor amplitude (P < 0.05). These data were dependent on single studies; therefore, a meta-analysis was not feasible.

Conclusion: Several physical therapy interventions, such as electrical stimulation, exercises, transcranial low voltage pulsed electromagnetic fields, weights, and virtual reality showed promising results in reducing hand tremors. However, this evidence was based on a limited number of included studies, and more RCTs with larger sample sizes are required to confirm the efficacy of these interventions.

Keywords: Hand tremors; Parkinson’s disease; Physical therapy; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Tremor / complications
  • Tremor / therapy