Enabling Self-management and Coping
with Arthritic Pain using Exercise



‚ÄčIf you are new to ESCAPE-pain, email hello@escape-pain.org for links to our new e-Learning resource 'Are you ESCAPE-pain Ready?'. It helps prospective providers find out how to implement the programme in their organisation. 


The ESCAPE-pain programme supports people living with chronic hip and knee pain or back pain and can be delivered by clinicians and exercise professionals in a range of settings, including outpatient physiotherapy gyms, leisure centres and community halls.

ESCAPE-pain offers two programmes:

  • ESCAPE-pain for knees and hips: designed to benefit people with chronic knee or hip pain
  • ESCAPE-pain for backs: designed to benefit people with chronic low back pain


ESCAPE-pain for knees and hips

ESCAPE-pain for knees and hips is an evidence-based, cost effective, group rehabilitation programme for people with chronic joint pain, that integrates educational self-management and coping strategies with an exercise regimen individualised for each participant. The programme aims to increase physical function and improve quality of life. It was developed by Professor Mike Hurley and was originally devised for people with knee osteoarthritis

Robust evaluation including a randomised clinical trial and independent review show the ESCAPE-pain for knees and hips programme:

  • Reduces pain
  • Improves physical function
  • Improves the psychosocial consequences of pain
  • Reduces healthcare and utilisation costs.


ESCAPE-pain for backs

ESCAPE-pain for backs implements the NICE clinical guidelines for the management of low back pain [NG59]. The programme builds upon the strong evidence base behind the original ESCAPE-pain programme for knees and hips, following the same model and structure to help participants self-manage non-specific low back pain. 



The two programmes complement each other, however they are two separate programmes, with their own evidence, participant eligibility criteria, session content and facilitator training requirements. Facilitators must be trained in each to deliver both programmes. The research, evidence, and endorsements for each programme can be found in the ‘about us’ section.


Page last reviewed: 06 January 2022. Page last updated: 06 January 2022. Next review date: March 2022