Costochondritis is basically a condition causing inflammation of the bones and cartilage of the chest wall, mainly in the area surrounding the sternum. The inflammation occurs at the cartilage connecting the rib bones to the sternum. When you have costochondritis, applying ice to the sternum can help reduce the pain. Here are some tips to guide you as to how you should apply ice the right way:
Ice should be massaged on the area. Move the ice frequently, not allowing it to sit in one spot and also not without a layer of protection. Either continually move the ice or use a thin towel between the ice and skin.
You should ice for 15-20 minutes and not longer than this. You can cause damage to the tissues, including frostbite, by icing for too long.
Allow time between treatments. Allow area to warm for at least 45 minutes or an hour before beginning the icing routine again.
You can use a Ziploc bag with ice cubes or crushed ice. Add a little water to the ice bag so it will conform to your body.
If you do not have a Ziploc bag, you could keep paper cups filled with water in your freezer. Peel the top of the cup away and massage the ice-cup over the injury in a circular pattern allowing the ice to melt away.