Enabling Self-management
and Coping with Arthritic Pain
using Exercise


Chronic joint pain, joint stiffness and reduced physical function are the main symptoms associated with osteoarthritis (OA) - the most common form of arthritis. Although osteoarthritis can't be cured there is a great deal people can do to relieve these symptoms. There is also a great deal of evidence that better understanding of the problem, and exercise are very effective ways of reducing pain and the physical and psychosocial effects of chronic pain.‚Äč

Visit the NHS choices website for more information about osteoarthritis.

ESCAPE-pain is a rehabilitation programme for people with chronic joint pain of the knees and/or hips that integrates simple education, self-management and coping strategies, with an exercise regimen individualised for each person.


Aims of the programme

To help people understand their condition better, and to realise that exercise is a safe and effective self-management strategy, that can be used to reduce knee and hip pain, and the physical and psychosocial effects of joint pain.


Structure of the programme

ESCAPE-pain was originally delivered by physiotherapists in hospital outpatient departments but it need not be limited to clinical environments. The programme is now also available in numerous gyms, leisure centres and community halls, and can be delivered by both healthcare and exercise professionals.

The programme is delivered to small groups of people twice a week, for six weeks (total 12 classes). There are two components to the programme:

1) an education component where people learn about the problem, what might be causing it, why they experience pain, simple ways to cope and self-manage their problems;

2) an exercise regimen where people undertake a progressive exercise programme tailored to each individual’s needs and abilities.


Core Tenets of the programme

The following core tenets of the ESCAPE-pain programme must be adhered to by healthcare and exercise professionals who wish to deliver the programme:

  • The Programme and the use of the training materials can only be delivered by facilitators who have attended the ESCAPE-pain training. 


Email us at hello@escape-pain.org for our Implementation Toolkit or to find out more about implementing ESCAPE-pain in your organisation. 






Page last reviewed: 14 May 2020. Page last updated: 14 May 2020. Next review date: 1 July 2020