Spondylosis: Can Physiotherapy Help With Deskbound Work Neckache?



“Dear Sir / Madam,

My neck has been aching on and off when I am working at my desk. Recently, I started to experience heavy headedness and I tend to lose concentration due to that. I have gone through an X-ray and I was told that I have cervical Spondylosis with a bone spur pressing onto the nerve. Are my heavy headedness and neck ache due to spondylosis? Can physiotherapy help me in my condition?” – Josh

Our Response

Dear Josh,

Thank you for your enquiry.

Spondylosis is a medical term for signs of degeneration or wear and tear to the structures around the spinal bones. It is a problem faced by many people especially deskbound office workers.

There are many other underlying factors. One of them is the bone spurs which can pinch a nerve causing symptoms like pain and numbness. This may cause by excessive mechanical pressure from a poor sitting posture. According to your description, it seems like your heavy headedness is likely linked to excessive physical stress to the neck. This would then cause spondylosis.

In a poor sitting posture, the neck is poked forward from the shoulders. In addition, the shoulders are rounded with the lower back in a slouched position. As the neck is hanging away from the shoulders, the muscles in the neck and shoulders will have to work harder to pull the neck back in order to support it. This increases the mechanical pressure on the joints which further aggravates the degenerative process. The muscles will also get fatigued and overworked, giving you the achy sensation to the neck and shoulders.

When your muscle tension becomes bad, it can potentially radiate pain up to the base of the skull. This is because there are sensitive nerves that supply to the head, eye, ear and the joints near the base of the skull . Excessive pressure over these areas can give rise to tension headache, stabbing pain behind the eye, ringing in the ears, jaw pain. The heaviness you felt from the head is most likely from the same upper neck joints at the base of the skull.

How Can I Treat Spondylosis?

To treat spondylosis, our physiotherapists will

  • Mobilise the neck joints to give it flexibility and reduce the mechanical pressure over the joints.
  • Some soft tissue work on the muscles may need to be done to reduce your muscle tension.
  • Regular stretching or range of movement exercises to reduce muscle fatigue and maintain flexibility.
  • Ergonomic advise will be given on how to sit properly at work and there will be some training exercises to increase your awareness of your sitting posture so that you can decelerate the degenerative process and prevent the problem from returning.

It will usually take about 6-8 sessions to have significant improvement on such a case. You can refer to this link for more information on neck related headaches.

Neck-related headaches


Chye Tuan