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ESCAPE-Pain: Managing Osteoarthritis

By Ambra Caruso, Health Innovation Network Added 9th Feb, 2017 Updated 23rd Jul, 2019



ESCAPE-pain is an award-winning, NICE-approved rehabilitation programme for the management of osteoarthritis. Evaluation shows ESCAPE-pain reduces pain, improves physical function and mental wellbeing.

Operating in more than 30 UK sites (a mix of NHS physiotherapy departments, community and leisure settings), ESCAPE-pain has supported almost 3000 patients since the Health Innovation Network supported its implementation in 2013.

Evaluation shows the ESCAPE-pain programme:

  • reduces pain
  • improves physical function
  • improves psychosocial consequences of pain – depression, self-confidence and self-esteem
  • reduces healthcare and utilisation costs

Combining education and exercise, ESCAPE-pain is easy to implement and can produce annual savings of £1417 per patient.

Running twice weekly during six weeks, ESCAPE-pain involves individual, tailored exercise and education:

  • informing patients about their condition
  • teaching coping strategies
  • challenging erroneous health beliefs (exercise will make joint pain worse)
  • instilling behavioural change techniques
  • creating an exercise ‘habit’ to use as a coping strategy to improve their condition.

ESCAPE-pain is also available as an app on smartphones and tablet .

The Health Innovation Network and Arthritis Research UK are working together to increase the ESCAPE-pain programme to benefit more people with arthritis.

For full research evidence, register with 


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