Background The expansion of the rib cage and abdomen occurs in a synchronic way during a coordinated contraction of the diaphragm and the abdominal and intercostal muscles under normal conditions and healthy. The presence of restrictive respiratory disease may lead to uncoordinated action of the respiratory muscles which affects breathing pattern and chest wall volumes. The aim of this study was to evaluate chest wall volumes, chest wall asynchrony and inspiratory paradoxical movement of breathing, as well as the influence of the time of disease diagnosis in subjects with Parkinson's disease and post-Stroke in comparison to healthy individuals. Methods Total and compartmental chest wall volumes, chest wall asynchrony and paradoxical movement were measured at rest in a seated position by Optoelectronic Plethysmography in 76 individuals (29 healthy individuals, 20 post-Stroke and 27 Parkinson's disease subjects). Post-stroke and Parkinson's disease subjects were also grouped according to the length of diagnosis. Results In both groups with restrictive respiratory disease we observed that pulmonary rib cage compartment (V.sub.RCp) volume is reduced when compared to healthy subjects (p Conclusion Our study presents new findings for better understanding of chest wall volumes and chest wall asynchrony in post-stroke and Parkinson's disease individuals. Half of the subjects with post-Stroke and Parkinson's disease presented inspiratory paradox movement, but changes in breathing pattern was especially observed in post-stroke subjects with more than three years of diagnosis.