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  • Writer's pictureDr. Rory Dopps

Have You Ever Felt a Rush of Relief After Cracking a Joint? That’s Your Endorphins at Work!

A chiropractor performing a manual adjustment on a patient's neck, demonstrating the benefits of professional chiropractic care for pain relief and alignment.
A person running on a scenic trail, representing the natural release of endorphins through physical activity and the concept of 'runner’s high.'

Endorphins play a vital role in our body, offering temporary relief from pain and boosting our mood. This article delves into the fascinating world of endorphins, exploring how they are released, their effects on our body, and why understanding these mechanisms is essential for overall health management.

Understanding Endorphins

Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland. The term "endorphin" is derived from "endogenous," meaning within the body, and "morphine," which is a pain reliever. Essentially, endorphins act as the body's natural painkillers, providing relief and promoting a sense of well-being. They bind to opioid receptors in the brain to block pain signals and also play a significant role in regulating mood and emotions.

Mechanisms of Endorphin Release

Endorphins are released in response to various activities and conditions. Physical activities, such as exercise, are well-known triggers. The phenomenon known as "runner’s high" is a result of endorphin release during prolonged aerobic exercise. Stress and pain, such as those experienced during injuries or acupuncture, can also stimulate endorphin production. Additionally, enjoyable activities like eating, laughing, and even social interactions can boost endorphin levels.

Joint popping is another interesting way to trigger endorphin release. When you crack your joints, the process known as cavitation occurs, where gas bubbles in the synovial fluid of the joint burst, causing a popping sound. This mechanical action can lead to the release of endorphins, providing a temporary sense of relief and pleasure.

Immediate Effects of Endorphin Release

Endorphins provide immediate pain relief by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, effectively blocking pain signals. This mechanism is similar to how synthetic opioids work but without the harmful side effects and addiction potential. Alongside pain relief, endorphins also enhance mood by reducing anxiety and stress levels. They induce feelings of happiness and well-being, contributing to the overall mental and emotional health.

Temporary vs. Long-term Effects of Endorphin Release

While the effects of endorphin release are beneficial, they are temporary. The duration of pain relief and mood enhancement from endorphins is short-lived, typically lasting only a few hours. This temporary nature is why relying solely on endorphin-induced relief can be problematic. It can mask underlying health issues, leading individuals to ignore chronic pain or other symptoms that require professional attention. Addressing the root causes of pain and discomfort is crucial for long-term health and well-being.

Healthy Ways to Stimulate Endorphin Release

There are several healthy ways to stimulate endorphin release and enjoy its benefits without the risks associated with self-adjustment or other harmful practices. Regular physical activity is one of the most effective methods. Engaging in aerobic exercises like running, cycling, or swimming, as well as strength training, can significantly boost endorphin levels. Incorporating these activities into your daily routine can help maintain a steady flow of endorphins.

Relaxation techniques are another excellent way to stimulate endorphin production. Practices such as prayer, praise, and deep breathing exercises promote relaxation and stress relief, enhancing endorphin release. Additionally, engaging in hobbies and enjoyable activities like music, art, and socializing can naturally boost your mood and endorphin levels.

The Role of Chiropractic Care in Pain Management

Chiropractic care offers a holistic approach to pain management and overall health improvement. Chiropractors use various techniques to relieve pain and tension, such as manual adjustments, instrument-assisted adjustments, and soft tissue therapies. These professional adjustments help realign the spine and joints, providing long-term relief and improving joint health.

Chiropractic care goes beyond symptom relief. Chiropractors address the root causes of pain and discomfort, offering lifestyle and ergonomic advice to prevent future issues. Regular chiropractic check-ups can help maintain proper alignment and overall well-being, ensuring that the benefits of endorphin release are complemented by a healthy and functional musculoskeletal system.


Endorphins play a crucial role in pain relief and mood enhancement, but their effects are temporary. Understanding the mechanisms of endorphin release and adopting healthy ways to stimulate their production can significantly improve your quality of life. Proper alignment and professional care are essential for long-term health and well-being.

Maintaining your body's alignment and reducing muscle tension can be supported with tools like a foam roller. A foam roller can help relieve muscle tension and promote endorphin release through self-massage and myofascial release techniques. Additionally, Designs for Health's NeuroMag™ supports brain health and function, enhancing mood and cognitive performance, complementing the natural effects of endorphins.

If you're looking for ways to manage pain and boost your mood naturally, visit to schedule an online consultation with Dr. Rory Dopps. Discover how chiropractic care can help you achieve optimal health and well-being, ensuring your body is aligned and functioning at its best.


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