2. Apply Cold
While applying heat can help bring relief to swollen joints and help rheumatoid arthritis patients get through the day in a simple and cost-effective way, switching between applying hot and cold is actually a more efficient way to bring down swelling. That’s because alternating hot and cold has been shown to alleviate inflammation and provide relief from stiffness and pain for a more prolonged period of time.
To apply cold, all you really need is a handful of ice cubes wrapped in a thin towel, like a face cloth. To prevent the ice from melting and getting water everywhere, consider wrapping the cubes in a ziploc bag or plastic grocery bag before wrapping them in the towel. For best results, apply the cold pack for 20 minutes, then turn to the heating pad for 20 minutes. Rotate this process until you can detect a decrease in swelling.