Uncontrollable Shivering

uncontrollable shiveringMost people associate shivering with the feeling of being cold – the body’s natural way of trying to warm itself up. Did you know that shivering could be linked to a number of other medical conditions though?

There are a lot of reasons why you may be experience ‘the chills’ and if you are finding that these shaking episodes are becoming a regular occurrence, we would highly recommend that you seek medical advice. Unless you’re just plain cold, of course!

What is Uncontrollable Shivering? 

When you have episodes of shivering or shaking, it is called rigor. It can often happen with a high fever – when you get sick with tonsillitis or another infection, you often shake under the blankets, racing between hot and cold every five minutes.

It is a reflex that your body naturally takes in order to take care of itself but the reason behind it will change from case to case. When you are cold, your body will shiver to keep things moving and generate heat. Your body has an internal thermostat and when it gets too cold, it will shiver in a bid to heat itself back up again.

When you have an infection, particularly a bacterial infection, your internal thermostat doesn’t work quite right and your body will shiver in a bid to heat itself up even when it is not cold.

Shivering will normally come hand in hand with other symptoms, especially if you are cold. You will experience goosebumps, for example, if you are a bit on the chilly side.

There are a number of other reasons why you may be experience uncontrollable shivering however, and if you are not feeling cold or unwell (with an infection), it could be one of these:

Low Blood Sugar Levels 

This can often happen – when you haven’t eaten for a few hours or you haven’t had a dose of sugar, your body will shake because you are hungry and because your blood sugar levels have dipped. You will often experience other symptoms with this including heart palpitations, sweating, bouts of dizziness and even headaches.

You can have low blood sugar levels for other reasons than skipping a meal or sugar-fix too. The condition is known technically as hypoglycemia and often happens with those suffering with diabetes. If the diabetic accidentally takes in too much insulin, the body will experience a fast-paced and potentially dangerous decline in blood sugar levels.

Excessive exercise can also cause low blood sugar levels as well as low-carbohydrate or zero-carbohydrate diets, alcohol abuse and even drug abuse.


Another common reason why you might be shaking – you might be dehydrated.

When your body needs fluids, it will start to behave in rather odd ways and if you go for too long dehydrated, you may even experience hallucinations. To begin with, you will experience uncontrollable shivering and dry mouth as well as headaches and a general feeling of being rather unwell.

Your body will struggle to maintain the right temperature when it is dehydrated. Imagine what would happen if you were to turn a kettle on with no water. The element would become damaged. That’s essentially what you’re doing if you don’t drink enough fluids – you are making your body work without anything inside it. Your body is made up of 55% to 75% water so making sure you are rehydrated is wise.


If you feel dizzy, weak or fatigued with your uncontrollable shivering, there’s a chance you could be suffering with anemia. Take a look in the mirror – do you have dark circles around your eyes? If yes, you could have anemia.

You have low blood hemoglobin when you suffering with anemia, which means it has trouble binding to the iron in your body. An easy way to combat this it to take a daily supplement or multivitamin that contains iron but make sure you consult with your doctor first. Too much iron can be just as bad for you as not enough iron.


As well as bacterial infections, there are other conditions and sicknesses which could lead to bouts of uncontrollable shivering or rigor. Food poisoning or anything that makes you feel nauseous, vomit or have an upset stomach can make you shiver. So if you experience shivering with those symptoms, there’s a good chance you have an upset stomach.

A urinary tract infection is another example of an infection or sickness that can cause uncontrollable shivering although this is mostly associated with the condition spreading to the kidneys rather than a UTI by itself.

If you have a weakened immune system, you could be at risk of getting other kinds of infections such as parasitic infections. Toxoplasmosis is one condition which can be accompanied by uncontrollable shivering and will also come with symptoms such as headaches, muscle pains and aches, fatigue, swollen glands and fever or high temperatures.

Medication / Drugs

We’ve already discussed that alcohol and drug abuse can cause these bouts of uncontrollable shivering but there are some prescription medication which could have the same effect.

If you are taking any medication that causes you to shake, it could be a sign that the dose you are on is too high. A chat with your doctor will soon rectify the issue and with many medications, it is often a system of trial and error before you figure out the right dosage that works for you.

Stress & Anxiety 

There are a number of emotional and mental disorders which can cause shaking and shivering. This kind of body reaction is actually normal to certain situations and is normally caused by an onset of hormones. You are also likely to experience symptoms such as dry mouth, dizziness, light-headedness and even a reduced body temperature.

Preventing Uncontrollable Shivering

In cases where the cause is low blood sugar, a simple sugary snack can help with uncontrollable shivering but in other, more serious cases such as diabetes, medical intervention might be necessary.

Getting a good night’s sleep and keeping your stress levels down is another great way to reduce stress and anxiety hormones which can make any medical condition worse, and regularly exercising as well as a healthy balance diet can help to keep your body healthy and fit from the inside out.


  1. I’m not cold at all, I’m actually a very comfortable temperature, but the middle of my chest is having light trimmers that feel like shivers, as well as feeling dizzy and light-headed.

    • Continue to monitor these experiences that you are having. If they increase or last a couple more days, then you may want to speak with a medical professional. If you are already feeling as though you want to speak with a doctor, then make an appointment. Speak with other people in your area who may be sick, as there may be a bug going around. Best of luck, Katie!

  2. I last winter I had an uncontrollable shiver while I was in bed. At first I Felt hot under the cover and then I remove the cover and instantly went into being cold and shivering. I covered myself and eventually the Shivering stopped but it left me with this distinct cold feeling in my back. It’s been months now and it’s winter again and this cold feeling is back. I’m scared I might have that experience again.

    • If you find that you have this experience while you are in a warm environment, then you may want to speak with a medical professional. Be sure to keep your body healthy as you go through this winter. Continue to monitor these experiences as you move forward. Best of luck, Kerry!

  3. I have had a migrane since yeaterday afternoon it has been pounding and my neck has been throbbing. I have been uncontrolably shivering all night when my environment is warm.I have had pain in the left hand side of my body inbetween the hips and ribs. It really hurts to move my head and therefore i can not open my eyes much or speak. When i shiver i can not control it and my entire body goes cold and i get goosebumps even when its hot for everyone else!

    • It sounds as though you are having many complications. It would be beneficial for you to speak with a medical professional. If you are unable to do so, then be certain to reduce stress in your life at this time. Drink plenty of water and lay down in a dark room. If you notice that you are observing and increase of unpleasant feelings, then try again to make an appointment. Best of luck, Zahra!

  4. Hi, I get really cold on the right side of my body. My right arm and hand especially. I put on winter fleece pajamas, another shirt underneath and on top with extra blankets over my right side. My heat is on 78. Nothing matters its still cold. The coldness is on the inside of my body. Feel like my blood is freezing. It’s a feeling of radiating kind of cold on the inside.

    • If your environment is warm and your body is cold, then you may want to speak with a doctor. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having. Make an appointment with a medical professional when you feel as though it would benefit you. Being cold can be a sign of many things. You want to be certain that your heart is functioning properly. Best of luck, Lynia!

    • Continue to monitor your experiences and keep notes of them in case you speak with a medical professional. If this happens again tonight, then it may be beneficial for you to speak with a medical professional. Remain positive as you move forward. Best of luck, Marcus!

  5. I had Constant shivering last week I was freezing Layin with layers of clothes in ancould nkt heat myself up, I am now experienceing the same hitting Layin with layer of clothes in front of fire an can. It head up, body is aching aswel an Have lower pains inning stomach an pelvic what could this be?

    • It would be wise for you to speak with a doctor. If you are not in a cold environment and you are shivering uncontrollably, then you should make an appointment as soon as possible. If you are in a cold environment, then it would benefit you to find a way to keep more warm. Monitor your experiences and make whatever changes you can make. It sounds like you could be in need of making an appointment before long. Best of luck, Aimee!

  6. I’ve been having body ache headaches a sore throat being cold when I’m covered and it takes a while for me to go to sleep am I ok and will this go away?

    • It sounds like you may have a cold, strep throat, a sinus infection or a similar infection. While you may experience chills, you could also have a fever at the same time. If you have a fever that is above 103 degrees or lasts for more than three days, make an appointment with your doctor. You should probably go to the doctor anyway just to make sure that it is not something more serious. If it is just a cold, it will go away, but a more serious infection may need antibiotics.

  7. After I eat I get so cold that I physically shake. And i have no control over it. It can last for several hours, that if I move it gives me chills and uncontrollable shaking all over again. Please help me.

    • It would be beneficial for you to speak with a doctor. Monitor the foods that you eat and their associated reactions. Reduce stress on your body and make an appointment when you are able to do so. Best of luck, Linda!

  8. For the past week, I am experiencing uncontrolable shivering at night without the feeling of beeing cold. What could be the possible cause (s)

    • It could be a cold, medications or another reason. If you experience other symptoms, make sure to go to your doctor right away. Otherwise, try to stay warm and wait for it to pass. Good luck, Guy Martin!

  9. Im diabetic and asthmatic amongst other things.iive had a tummy bug and chest infection recently and my doctors put me on medication.this was 3 weeks ago.im no better.feel weak as a kitten and constantly falling asleep.whars worrying me atm is constant shivering even tho my heating is on full blast.can anyone help?

    • It sounds like you could have caught the flu, pneumonia or another bug after your last illnesses. It is also possible that your body is just struggling to heal after being sick for so long over the last few weeks. The best thing that you could is go to your doctor and tell them the symptoms that you are currently having. You may just have a slight case of the flu, or it could be a sign of cardiovascular issues. Whatever the case, your doctor will need to run some tests to give you an accurate diagnosis.

    • It could be due to anything on this list or another condition. Have you experienced any other symptoms? Are you taking any medication right now that could cause shivering as a side effect?

  10. after our first baby, my wife went into this phase of shivering uncontrollably for about a minute. during such period she had goosebumps and cold fingers. however, after 2 years she still sometimes have these symptoms intermittently.

    • She may want to talk to her doctor about this symptom the next time she goes in for a physical. It may be nothing, but it would be worthwhile to get it check out. Best of luck, Me!

  11. I had a cold last week and now I have, what i thought was, a fever and I had a lot of sleep until I got better. Now I’m sitting with the same symptoms from the fever that was two days ago and now shivering.

    • If you notice that your symptoms intensify or continue for a few more days, then you may want to speak with a doctor. Stay home for the next few days and reduce stress on your life. Continue to remain laying or sitting down. Drink extra water and eat some light soup and vegetables. This should help you become well more quickly. Remain positive and stay warm. Best of luck, Trenton!

  12. I have random cases when my body shakes randomly. When it happens, I can not control it. My fingers are almost always cold even when I am not sick. What should I do?

    • You may want to speak with a medical professional when you are able. At this time, monitor the experiences that you are having. This will help you better answer your doctor’s questions in the future. See if exercise or dietary changes have a positive influence on the feelings in your fingers. If your shivering is becoming a problem or major concern, then make an appointment when you are able. Best of luck, John!

  13. What if i wasnt cold but i was shivering uncontrollably
    And what if pain runs through my body if so? (Not really happen but just wondering)

    • It could be from an infection or an illness. The best bet would be to go to the doctor to make sure that there isn’t anything serious wrong. Stay safe, Katie!

    • You should probably go to the doctor. A bad cold, the flu or another infection can cause these symptoms. Your doctor can help to alleviate your symptoms and make sure that nothing more serious is going on than a bad cold. Stay safe, Hannah Guy!