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Respiratory Muscle Disorders

Respiratory Muscle Disorders

Respiratory (breathing) muscle disorders can be caused by problems that affect the chest, rib cage and spine.

At MultiCare Pulmonary Specialists, we help people of all ages who have mild to severe respiratory muscle disorders.

Common Respiratory Muscle Disorders and Their Symptoms

Chest wall disorders are the most common type of respiratory muscle disorder, and these are often seen in children or teenagers. Common chest wall disorders include:

  • Pectus carinatum, which makes a child’s chest wall stick out
  • Pectus excavatum, or sunken chest, which usually develops in teenagers and can cause heart and lung problems if left untreated

MultiCare pulmonologists also treat weak respiratory muscles. These can be the result of spinal problems, problems that affect all the muscles in the body, such as muscular dystrophy, and neurological conditions.

If you have a respiratory muscle disorder, you might notice:

  • Chest pain
  • Fast heartbeat or heart palpitations
  • Feeling extremely tired, especially after physical activity
  • Frequent colds or other respiratory infections
  • Problems exercising
  • Wheezing or coughing


Treating respiratory muscle disorders usually starts with treating any underlying causes. Our pulmonologists work closely with your primary care provider and other specialists to help the lungs work more efficiently and help you live a better quality of life. Your treatment plan may include:

  • Medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery
  • Special devices that help you sleep better or correct a misshapen chest

Contact Us for More Information

Find a pulmonologist or contact the MultiCare Pulmonary Specialists clinic near you to learn more.