A fusion from C2-T2 is an extensive one and will place stress on the C1-2 and the T1-2 levels. This can eventually wear them out. Popping and clinking can be a sign of wear of the facet joints but also could be due to a pseudoarthrosis of one of the fused levels.
Pops can also be from the facet joint “releasing” similar to the pop caused by a chiropractor. Facet joints are under a vacuum and the pop is simply the release of the vacuum similar to the pop from taking a wet glass off a glass coffee table or granite counter.
The first diagnostic test other than a physical examination is standard X-rays with flexion and extension views.
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.