Cervical Herniated Disc
When the outer cartilage bands cracks or breaks, the gel inside the disc ,nucleus pulpus leaks out placing pressure on nerve roots. The nuclear material releases chemical irritants causing nerve inflammation and pain. Most don't require surgery. Anti-inflammatory meds, physical therapy, cervical traction and spinal injections can help relieve symptoms.
Muscle strains occur when the muscle is overworked or over stretched. Strains range from over exertion to partial tears. Symptoms are pain , bruising, spasms, and swelling. The most effective way to recover from a muscle strain is RICE; rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Physical therapy including massage, TENS, and IFC can help with acute symptoms.
Poor posture puts strain on muscles and ligaments causing pain. Muscles in the neck and upper back must work continually to counterbalance the pull of gravity on a forward head or hunched back. Poor posture leads to a muscle imbalance where some muscles are too tight and short and others are weak and elongated. Sustained isometric muscle contraction along with gravitational stress result in inflammation, spasms, and compression of cervical discs. Physical therapy including stretching of tight muscles and strengthening of weak , elongated muscles along with postural re-education can greatly reduce pain from a forward head and rounded shoulders posture.