Enabling Self-management
and Coping with Arthritic Pain
using Exercise

Programme overview

Chronic joint pain, joint stiffness and reduced physical function are the main symptoms associated with osteoarthritis (OA) - the most common form of arthritis. Although OA cannot 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 For more information on osteoarthritis you can visit the NHS choices website.

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


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 joint pain and the physical and psychosocial effects of joint pain.

Programme structure

ESCAPE-pain is typically delivered by physiotherapists in hospital outpatient departments, but it has been delivered by other health professionals in a range of community settings.

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