Enabling Self-management
and Coping with Arthritic Pain
using Exercise

What to Expect

ESCAPE-pain is delivered as two classes per week for six weeks, 12 classes in total.

This frequency of classes, delivered over an extended period is important to allow participants to fully comprehend and engage with the programme, experience and track improvements and develop a supportive, positive rapport with the supervisor and with fellow participants.

Class size is usually about 8–10 people to maintain safety. This number can be increased if there are more than one supervisor. If there are several frail elderly participants, it might be necessary to reduce the numbers of people in the class, or get additional help to supervise participants. You shouldn’t have more than two participants who need close attention (i.e. frail, at risk of falling) at any one time.

Each class starts with a brief (20 minute) informal discussion around a set theme. This is followed by approximately 40 minutes of a circuit type exercise programme.

For more information about class size and supervision register for free to access all the resources.


Education component:

Each class starts with a themed discussion for about 20 minutes. The first class welcomes people and gives them an overview of what the programme is about and what it will cover.

Importantly, the first class explains that the programme will not get rid of their pain and that participants will continue to have episodes of pain, but they might have less pain and they will learn to cope with their pain better and do more in spite of it. The rest of the classes cover themes such as simple anatomy of the knee joint, what causes pain, goal setting, rest-activity cycling, weight management, healthy eating, and simple relaxation techniques.

The education component is led by the supervisor, not as a lecture to participants but by facilitating a group discussion with an informal tone. This helps participants to share their experiences with other participants, so that shared learning takes place.

Full schedule of the 12 education classes with the presentations are provided.

Education component
Exercise component

Exercise component:

The exercise programme uses simple, unsophisticated exercises that are easy to do. These include quadriceps over a block, bending and straightening the knee, sit to stand from a chair, step­ups, step­downs, using a static bike, standing on a rocker board, standing on one leg, shuttle­walks, and squats.

Sophisticated, expensive equipment is not required. Static exercise bikes are very useful, and these are commonly available and relatively inexpensive. Other pieces of equipment can be used if they are available, such as a treadmill. However, they are not essential. The exercises are progressive and self­paced, with programmes tailored to each patient’s needs and abilities.