Your finger’s changing colors like it’s fall in Vermont. Your blood pressure is rising and you don’t have time to read stories about the history of rings or fingers. You’re in the right place, because here are a few ways to try to unstick a stuck ring.

Sometimes the situation is so serious that only professionals can help. Please note that these tips are not meant to replace expert help. Take care of yourself and use your best judgement. If the situation becomes unmanageable, it’s OK to call for help. Your local emergency number can provides guidance on how to assess the situation, especially if the finger changes color or there is a loss of sensation. The right place to call will depend on your country and locality.

In most cases, the ring will come off at home. The trick of the Three C’s may help:

You can try them separately or all together.

How to remove a stuck ring: 3 tricks of the trade

Grease up the finger by applying a lubricant, such as hand cream or moisturiser, between the finger and the ring. In an emergency, you can use butter, for example.

Then take a bag of something cold from the freezer, such as a bag of frozen vegetable stir-fry. Using a kitchen towel for protection, let the cold act on your finger without freezing the skin.

Raise your hand above your heart – towards the ceiling – and hold it in the air for 5–10 minutes.

The cold and elevated position will reduce swelling and the grease will help to roll the ring off smoothly.

Cold: Cool your hand with something cold

You can try holding your hand in cold water to reduce swelling. However, the idea is not to freeze your hand, so don’t keep it cold for too long.

Ceiling: Raise your arm up to reduce swelling

When the arm is upright, the swelling goes down. Hold your hand towards the ceiling, at least above your heart, for several minutes and then try to remove the ring again.

Hand cream: grease it up

While you hold up your hand, you can look around your home or workplace for suitable slippery substances to lubricate the ring with. These include:

Removing the ring with a string or shoelace

Sometimes the ring can be removed using a thread or shoelace. First, the thread is tied around the finger, then it is slipped under the ring, after which the ring is rolled off.

The best way to get an idea of what this trick is like is to watch this video:

What if the ring doesn’t come off with these either?

Hopefully the ring has already come off at this stage and the finger is usable again. In emergencies, you should seek professional help. The emergency room has ring cutters, for example, which can be used to cut off a ring. For hard titanium rings, more rigid tools may be required.