Neuromuscular Disease

Respiratory Problems In Neuromuscular Diseases

Some of the Neuromuscular diseases (see below for specific conditions we treat) has great need of respiratory physiotherapy to help with lung function and cough effectiveness, as well as actual assistance with sputum/phlegm clearance.

Lack of monitoring and appropriate and timely care can lead to major respiratory problems and recurrent chest infections associated with hospital admissions.This is the commonest cause of deaths particularly when the disease and muscle weakness progress. Also, patients often suffer from weak cough, shallow breathing, breathlessness, fatigue and recurrent chest infections.

Below are the common conditions we treat to help with breathing and chest clearance:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Motor Neurone disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Spinal structural abnormalities

Establishing a baseline of respiratory function is part of our assessment.

Tests we may do include:

  • Pulse oximetry (SpO2) – to measure the level of oxygen in the blood (at rest and breathing room air)
  • Forced vital capacity (FVC) or vital capacity (VC) – to find out the volume of the air in your lungs from a full breath in to a full breath out
  • Sniff nasal inspiratory pressure (SNIP) or maximal inspiratory pressure (MIP) – to test the strength of the muscles used to breathe in.
  • Peak cough flow to assess cough effectiveness


Our clinician is well trained in using below interventions that are adapted to your needs:

  • Suction training
  • Unassisted cough management such as breath stacking techniques
  • Assisted coughing techniques to help with sputum clearance by using both manual, and specialist equipment such as cough assist, lung volume recruitment bag therapy etc.
  • Respiratory muscle training to strengthen muscles that helps your breathing
  • Monitoring of lung function and apply specific treatments at the right time
  • Positioning advice to help with breathing
  • Assess for any Oxygen and refer to specialist teams
  • Fatigue management strategies
  • Train any carers or family members on above interventions
  • Advice on prevention & management of chest infections
  • Communicate with GP if any ongoing supplies or equipment needed
  • Communicate with Consultant or other Health care professionals who are involved in your care.

What can we offer at Chapman Physiotherapy?

Our Physio Anil, has been working in this area for more than 10 years dealing with breathing disorders. We can identify the problem and show you good breathing techniques, self help and other tips that could help in managing your symptoms.