It gets really confusing when you here many conflicting views.
True. This being a chiropractic forum I can ony provide you with what may be effective chiropractically. I suspect that you would get differing opinions in a neurosurgical forum, an orthopedic forum as well. A pain management doctor would likely provide yet other ideas. Given those parameters I reitorate on what I previously suggested. The technique can make the difference. Certain techniques best be applied for specific cases and for particular outcomes. Disk issues can respond to flexion-distraction. It has ben so successful that many MDs have been copying the process in their offices through machine generated distraction devices.
Chiropractors have been using the technique for years and achieving excellent results.
Based on your description it would appear to be disk-related. Again, flexion/distraction for the neck & lower back. Not deep tissue massage and nothing to continue activating the muscles by stimulating them. Muscles which are overactivated and/or injured will hurt, will be sore and will need rest. Not only can the muscles be involved with moving the neck and at the same time supporting the head's weight but, they can be involved with protecting further aggravating motions by becoming rigid. All this on top of being perhaps injured. Give them a rest. Again, the soft collar to allow the muscles rest from lifting, supporting, irritating and guarding.
The ice causes vasoconstriction, shrinking of inflammed tissues and relaxation of muscles. Short duration folowed by no ice and then repeat. ex. 10 minutes on then 30 minutes off and repeat. Leaving ice on for too long can make the tissue go into a hypothermic state and cause a burn, similar to frostbite. This is counter productive and therefore why spaced repetitions are so important.