During my physiotherapy career I have treated a large number of patients with osteoarthritis (OA) and non-specific low back pain (NSLBP) and have seen the impact these conditions can have on people’s lives – their function, mood and quality of life. As physiotherapists, we know the benefits of exercise for these conditions, and whilst we can provide exercise programmes, sometimes our capacity to follow up with people is limited or we find that patients find it difficult to get started with or stick to an exercise programme. The ESCAPE-pain (Enabling Self-management and Coping with Arthritic Pain using Exercise) programme provides an opportunity for physiotherapists to develop individualised exercise regimes and follow patients on a 6-week journey.
There are lots of strategies; pacing, goal setting, relaxation and flare up management, vital to improving someone’s ability to live well with their condition, but it can be difficult to cover all these topics in traditional one to one outpatient settings. The ESCAPE-pain programme includes time to examine these topics and encourages the use of Motivational Interviewing skills that allow information and advice to be shared and discussed in a way that doesn’t force the patients to make changes, but does increase their awareness and self-efficacy around what they can do for themselves, encouraging positive change.
ESCAPE-pain is a 12-session education and exercise programme delivered over 6 weeks to support patients to manage hip and knee OA and NSLBP. Feedback and research has shown the group setting and regular sessions are enjoyable and beneficial to patients and physiotherapists alike and can be embedded into the community to help patients make being active a part of their everyday lives. The ESCAPE-pain programme is evidenced based  and has been shown to provided sustained benefits of up to 30 months (Hurley et al 2012 ).
So, if there is not a local ESCAPE-pain course running near you, why not look at our website and consider setting one up.
A blog post by Sally Knight, physiotherapist and ESCAPE-pain training lead