Uncontrollable Shivering


Most 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 get uncontrollable shivers when going to a different room, my hands go into pins & needles & I cant move or talk because im shivering soo much.. but its not even cold.

    • These shivers may be symptoms of a medical condition. It would be beneficial for you to make an appointment with a doctor at this time. Continue to monitor your experiences, as this will help you address any questions that your doctor may have for you. Best of luck, James!

  2. Aside from chronic bronchitis under treatment, prostate cancer ignored for 14 years, 40 years of BPH also ignored, type II diabetes with declining A1C readings (6.7), and fleeting arthritis, I’m in good health for 82, and feel good. But twice in the last 4 days I’ve gone through bouts of shivering. Never happened before. Today I bundled up in a hoodie and winter pants, sat on the porch in 91 degree weather, and shivered for close to an hour. Hypoglycemia seemed possible so I loaded up on home-made lemonade. That worked. Shivers quit. Aspirin is magic for me so I take 2 every 4 to 6 hours. I’d see a doctor if I could, but I can’t. Nearest is 600 miles away. What would you do?

    • Due to your medical conditions and age, it seems like you need to make a decision about your health and lifestyle. You may face increasing amounts of health concerns. You will need medical help from time to time. Determine if you want to move closer to a doctor, or if you want to continue to travel to a doctor whenever you are ill. The symptoms you have stated should be addressed by your doctor. Best of luck, Ed!

  3. I’m a 30yo male and my issue is that when I get the slightest chill I go into this painful uncontrollable shivers. It’s usually when I’m physically cold but it’s not cold around me. Like 65 degrees outside can do it. And afterwards I’m exhausted, ready to go sleep.

    • Your painful shivers may be symptoms of a more serious physical condition. It may be a temporary experience. Continue to monitor your symptoms, as this will help you better address any questions that your doctor may have for you. Make an appointment with a medical professional at this time. Best of luck, Sam!

    • I have the exact same symptoms. I have not seen a doctor yet about it. Have you figured out what it is? Would be happy to let you know when I see my dr.

      • There are many potential reasons for your symptoms. It would be beneficial for you to make an appointment with a medical professional at this time. Your doctor will be able to make a diagnosis and determine potential treatment. Best of luck, Shaun!

  4. I wake up occasionally shivering also. I can feel it coming, I tense up and need to stretch. Then the shivering starts. I tense up so much my neck under neck hurts. This lasts about fifteen minutes, when it subsides, I fall asleep and feel fine the next day. The last time it happened, I had had a tooth pulled that day. Yesterday I hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary, but I did feel tired all day and went to bed early.

    • These symptoms may be signs of something more serious. They may just be experiences that you have. It is possible that these symptoms are induced by stress. Continue to monitor these symptoms. If you feel as though you need to speak with a medical professional, then do so. Best of luck, Maggie!

    • It is possible that these experiences are symptoms of a medical condition. Continue to monitor your experiences for additional symptoms. You may find benefit in speaking with a medical professional. Make an appointment at this time. Best of luck, Isabella!

  5. Last night was the fourth time I was so cold that my body was shacking, so bad that my body hurt. The house temperature was set on 70 degrees. It lasted for about fifteen minutes. I was able to get up and put another blanket on ( already had two flannel sheets and a quilt on ), I felt lightheaded and had to hold onto the wall. Another time I was sitting up doing crafts when an episode started. I am a person that is usually warm, so these cold shivering spells are odd. One was witnessed by my husband and one by my foster son.

    • There may be a wide variety of reasons for these symptoms. Speak with a medical professional. It may be best to speak with an emergency medical professional. Continue to monitor your experiences for additional symptoms. If you decide to not visit an emergency medical professional, then make an appointment as soon as you are able to do so. Best of luck, Sara!

    • My mom has had the same issue a few times. I’m currently on facetime with her while it is happening. Hers seems to be triggered by some type of pain or stress, but we are still unsure.

      • Your mother would find benefit in speaking with a medical professional. Her experiences may be symptoms of a more serious medical condition. She should monitor your experiences for additional symptoms. She may find benefit in speaking with an emergency medical professional. Best of luck, Candice!

  6. Hello, I’m someone who’s struggled a lot with anxiety in the past, and certain situations make me anxious to the point where I shiver uncontrollablyme for upwards of an hour at a time. Is there some household remedy or easy way to stop shivering?

    • It is possible that you would be benefited by speaking with a medical professional. The reason for this anxiety would be best served by speaking with someone, rather than taking household remedies. Reduce stress in your life, and give yourself additional time to make decisions. Have a great day, Brain!

  7. I am 45 years old male and in a good position in a reputed MNC. Since last year, I have found my head started shivering uncomfortably. After consulting to a neurologist they have advised Peri CR 25 mg and etizola 0.5 mg a day, but after taking this drug for a year, I am still in same situation, please advise.

    • It would be beneficial for you to make another appointment with a medical professional at this time. If your current doctor is unable to give you the help that you require, then visit another medical professional. You may find benefit in speaking with a specialist or a natural doctor. Best of luck, Jayant!

  8. Im 13 and randomly one night I started shivering uncontrollably. Its hard to type this and my temperature wqwass normall

    What dies it mean

    I also had shots earlier

    • It is possible that your shivering was related to the shots. It is possible that the shivering is a symptoms of something else. Continue to monitor your symptoms at this time. It would be beneficial for you to speak with a medical professional. You will be able to address any questions that your medical professional may have. Speak with your parents at this time. Best of luck, Mason!

  9. Hi.. sir/mam.. am lokesh..i have 20 yrs old..my problem is shivering.contineusly.it means 24 hours.it cant control.i cant touch anything.if i take anything in to hand that will also shiver.this problem i have been facing from 3yrs.i consulted a doctor.he gave tablets.its not worked.i cant touch the books and things.by seeing this all are loughing and commenting as a old man.am a graduate but i cant go for a job because of this problem…pls sir can u find what is tha problem…

    • It sounds as though you may be benefited by speaking with another medical professional. Perhaps speak with people who are in your life that have had similar experiences. It is possible that developing a healthy lifestyle may help. Many symptoms may be caused by a nutrient poor diet. Develop a plant based diet and abstain from eating processed foods and added sugars. Speak with another medical professional at this time. Best of luck, Lokesh!

  10. I just had a cyst removed from my armpit 2 days ago. Hours after getting it “drained”, my whole arm was in pain. I was told to take IB proffen for the pain which helped. Here I am now having been awake since 3am (4:30 now) and I just finally stopped shivering. My window was open but it’s like 60 degrees outside ? Could it be the cold or a possible infection?
    I was perscripted antibiotics

    • It is likely that you are cold. It would be best for you to keep your room warm while you are recovering. If you have experienced symptoms of an infection. It is possible that the ibuprofen is influencing these symptoms. If you want to speak with a medical professional, then make an appointment at this time. Reduce stress in your life. Best of luck, Brent!

  11. I’m a 14 (almost 15) year old male and on a mountain hike about 2 months ago, we went up to a glacier. The wind was fast and there was a borderline blizzard. My thumb started ceasing up to the point that it could only move a few degrees in only one direction. When I got back to the fire I found that I still couldn’t calm my trembling. Even when a few inches from the pit. My thumb finally got its motion back (was it might have been a form of mild frostbite as I didn’t pack gloves) but I was still shaking the next day. My mom drove my home and put me under a warm blanket. I’m fine now. Should I be worried?

    • If you are fine now, then you should not worry. However, you should continue to monitor the symptoms that your thumb is having. Additionally, you should take this lesson to heart. You were lucky this time, so be sure to wear gloves next time. It is great that you experienced a glacier, so do not allow this experience to stop you from having many more adventures. Have a great day, Zachary!

  12. Last nite I woke up shivering and shaking in bed, it was very hot last nite but I dont know why this keeps happening to me.

    • If this happens often, then you should make an appointment with a medical professional at this time. Take note of your symptoms and write down the dates. This will help you answer any questions that your doctor may have. If you consume alcohol or tobacco, then abstain from consumption immediately. Best of luck, Esther!


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