We describe five patients with cervical spondylosis and large anterior osteophytes causing pharyngeal compression. All had dysphagia, two had obstructive sleep apnoea and another two had dyspnoea and strider on inspiration. One, with perforation of the pharynx, required emergency tracheostomy. Only three had pain in the neck or arm. Compression of the retroglottic space was confirmed in all patients by pharyngoscopy and in all the symptoms were relieved by excision of the osteophytes. Three also underwent intervertebral fusion. One had some persistent sleep apnoea.