Old car accident injuries can stay with you for a long time. Some say that an old injury to your neck will cause your neck to go through advanced degeneration faster. I've seen many patients come in with spondylitis arthritis that is causing everyday pain from an injury that happened 10-20 years ago.
This paper from The Open Orthopedics Journal talks about the author's experiences working with chroinic neck pain patients and how they have used prolotherapy to tighten the joint capsules of patient's facet joints. These are people who have lost the stability that the joint caspule provides. It turns out, most of the stabilty for the facet joints in your neck come from the capsular ligaments, not the muscles or the other thick ligaments that surround the spine.
The facet joints are a major cause of pain in the neck. It can also cause other kinds of associated symptoms. If you damage the ligaments in your upper neck, and you have upper neck stability, this can cause symptoms like vertigo, tinnitus, dizziness, facial pain, arm pain, and migraine headaches. Instability in the lower neck can cause muscle spasms, noises coming from your neck, pins and needles, and arm pain.
According to the authors of the study, instability is different than hypermobility. Being hypermobile is having more flexiblity in your ligaments naturally. Instability is when parts of the neck are painful, and is caused by injury. Instability causes pain. A rapid stretch to a ligament, causing it to partially tear makes the ligament not as strong, and not even necessarily torn enough to make the cervical segments appear unstable on stress x-rays. But it's unstable because of the injury.