ESCAPE-pain programme – Promote and Support the Spread

ESCAPE-pain is a rehabilitation programme for people with chronic joint pain that integrates educational self-management and coping strategies with an exercise regimen individualised for each participant. It helps people understand their condition, teaches them simple things they can help themselves with, and takes them through a progressive exercise programme so they learn how to cope with pain better. The programme was developed by Professor Mike Hurley and was originally devised for people with knee osteoarthritis. The programme is supported by NHS England


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 programme for knees and hips

This project is focused on promoting and supporting the implementation of ESCAPE-pain for knee and hip osteoarthritis across south London and beyond.

The programme was identified as one seven regional programmes selected for national adoption and spread across the AHSN Network during 2018-2020.

 Where is ESCAPE-pain for knees and hips being delivered?

Before lockdown, face-to-face ESCAPE-pain classes were being delivered in over 290 sites across the UK. Because of government guidelines and social distancing, all sites suspended delivery in March 2020. As and when it is safe to do so sites will recommence face-to-face delivery.

In normal circumstances ESCAPE-pain is offered in a range of different settings such as hospitals, physiotherapy departments, gyms, local leisure centres, and community halls.

Some sites have begun to deliver the programme virtually using platforms such as Attend Anywhere. For more information please contact

 Watch the case study videos 

We are pleased to share the following case studies from ESCAPE pain participants describing their experience with the program.

ESCAPE-pain Participant Interviews from Health Innovation Network on Vimeo.

 How can I find out more about ESCAPE-pain?

  • Visit the ESCAPE-pain website
  • View this video to see people’s experiences of participating in the ESCAPE-pain programme
  • Download our infographics for attractive, easy to read information, for participants and commissioners of the programme
  • Register for ESCAPE-pain Online– a web-based version of the app that is available from the ESCAPE-pain website and best viewed on a computer.
  • Download the free ESCAPE-pain App available for android devices

We are always keen to hear from organisations who wish to offer ESCAPE-pain to their local populations. Training for staff is also available.

We're here to help

If you have any questions or would like more information about ESCAPE-pain programme. Please contact us.

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Key achievements

  • In April 2020, the ESCAPE-pain programme for knees and hips is referenced in the newly published Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP)​ resources to support people self-managing their musculoskeletal conditions.
  • The ESCAPE-pain programme for knees and hips has been shortlisted for the 2020 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value Award in the Clinical and Medical Services category of ‘MSK Care Initiative of the Year’.
  • As part of National Arthritis Week 2019, BBC London featured the innovative rehabilitation programme.