Non-invasive electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves for the management of tremor

Alejandro Pascual-Valdunciel, Apoorva Rajagopal, Jose L. Pons*, Scott Delp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Pathological tremor in patients with essential tremor and Parkinsons disease is typically treated using medication or neurosurgical interventions. There is a widely recognized need for new treatments that avoid the side effects of current medications and do not carry the risks of surgical interventions. Building on decades of research and engineering development, non-invasive electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves has emerged as a safe and effective strategy for reducing pathologic tremor in essential tremor. This review surveys the peripheral electrical stimulation (PES) literature and summarizes effectiveness, safety, clinical translatability, and hypothesized tremor-reduction mechanisms of various PES approaches. The review also proposes guidelines for assessing tremor in the context of evaluating new therapies that combine the strengths of clinician assessments, patient evaluations, and novel motion sensing technology. The review concludes with a summary of future directions for PES, including expanding clinical access for patients with Parkinson's disease and leveraging large, at-home datasets to learn more about tremor physiology and treatment effect that will better characterize the state of tremor management and accelerate discovery of new therapies. Growing evidence suggests that non-invasive electrical stimulation of afferent neural pathways provides a viable new option for management of pathological tremor, with one specific PES therapy cleared for prescription and home use, suggesting that PES be considered along with medication and neurosurgical interventions for treatment of tremor. This article is part of the Special Issue “Tremor” edited by Daniel D. Truong, Mark Hallett, and Aasef Shaikh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number120195
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StatePublished - Apr 15 2022


  • Afferent pathways
  • Essential tremor
  • Neuromodulation
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Pathological tremor
  • Tremor treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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