Why Do We Shiver? Know 5 Reasons Behind It

Let us understand our body better and learn what shivering is, its causes and various reasons behind why we shiver.

Charu Sharma
Written by: Charu SharmaPublished at: Sep 11, 2021Updated at: Sep 11, 2021
Why Do We Shiver? Know 5 Reasons Behind It

It is very important to know what your body goes through and why it reacts in a specific way at times. Let us take a step ahead in understanding our body better and learn what shivering is, its causes and various reasons behind why we shiver with our expert Dr Manan Vora, Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Expert. 

What is Shivering?

Shivering is one of the common bodily reactions that mostly occurs when the body tries to warm itself up. A rapid contraction and relaxation of muscles caused to generate heat in the body is known as shivering.  An involuntary muscle movement that can’t be controlled and is a natural response that can be caused in different scenarios due to different reasons.

As told by Dr. Vora , out of the total heat produced by the body, 85% of it is produced by muscle movements. When the core body temperature drops and you feel cold, the body muscles move involuntarily which is known as shivering. This trigger mechanism is done to maintain the homeostasis in the body. It tries to increase the heat produced within the body to make you feel better by expending the energy.  

Also Read: 10 Ways to Fend Off Cold and Flu

Let us take a step ahead in understanding our body better and learn what causes shivering and various reasons behind why we shiver.

Causes of shivering

A body reaction can take place due to more than one reason and in order to treat that it is important to understand all the possible causes of that reaction. Let us take a closer look at what all things are the reason behind shivering and its potential causes. 

1. Temperature Drop and Fever

Where the feeling of cold is caused due to temperature drop, cold environment, cold breeze and even fever or one of the most common reasons behind shivering it has much more to it. When the temperature drops below the comfort level of your body, the rapid contraction and relaxation of muscles start to happen which causes a visible shiver. As this process requires energy and releases some heat as well, it helps to keep you warm for some time by boosting the production of body’s surface heat. 


Fever being another common cause behind shivering usually happens due to infection, allergic reaction or inflammation which causes a spike in body temperature. 

Also Read: How To Tackle a Urinary Tract Infection in Monsoon? Doctor Answers

2. Infection

There might be times when your body does not feel cold but you still start to shiver. This kind of sudden shivering can actually be a sign of some bacterial or viral infection that your body is fighting. The heat produced due to contraction and relaxation of muscles helps to warm up your body and fight the infection which has invaded your system. The heat produced due to the process is enough to kill the infection causing bacteria and keep you healthy and away from all the disease. 

3. Psychogenic movement disorders

Mental stress can show up in more ways than you can imagine and is a factor that can result in shivering and other involuntary movements. The shivering caused due to psychological movement disorder would either be sudden, without any warning sign, would be caused due to depression or some other underlying health issue, can be triggered due to the memory of some traumatic event  and would eventually stop if a person is distracted.

Psychological movement disorder can be treated through a combination of physical and mental therapy. This condition does not have any kind or nerve or underlying brain damage and shivering is one of the most common bodily responses to this disorder.

4. Fear, Stress, Anxiety or Excitement


There are times when shivering has got nothing to do with the temperature or your health but can be caused due to some strong emotions but is our body’s reaction to the things going on in our brain. Strong emotions such as stress, fear, excitement and anxiety can cause shivering due to the surge of adrenaline in the body. The release of adrenaline hormone causes shivering as the body’s fight-to-flight response. A person might start trembling due to fear, stress or excitement which is the body’s rapid response caused due to the rapid rise of adrenaline in the bloodstream.

Also Read: Stress Can Cause Weight Gain, Understand The Role of Cortisol Hormone

5. Low Blood Sugar Level

Diabetic patients need to take extra care of themselves as a drop in blood sugar level can trigger a shivering response. Trembling, feeling cold, shaky, weak, dizzy and  sweating can all be a response to a drop in blood sugar level. These reactions might occur when a person hasn’t had anything in a while and can affect the body’s ability to regulate the blood sugar level.

This specific condition is known as hypoglycemia which occurs when the blood sugar levels become dangerously low. 

This article is based upon the instagram post by Dr. Manan Vora on his instagram account

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