Frequently Asked Questions for App Users

1) What is ESCAPE-pain?

ESCAPE-pain stands for Enabling Self-management and Coping with Arthritic Pain using Exercise. It is a rehabilitation programme for people with chronic joint pain – often labelled osteoarthritis – that integrates education and exercise.

2) How can ESCAPE-pain help me?

ESCAPE-pain aims to reduce pain, improve physical function, self-confidence, people’s sense of being in control of their problems, and the depression and frustration that people with chronic pain often feel. However ESCAPE-pain does not cure arthritis nor eliminate pain completely.

3) Is ESCAPE-pain approved by the NHS?

The ESCAPE-pain programme is approved by NICE, the National Institute for Care and Excellence, and it is offered in many physiotherapy departments and some leisure centres in the UK. The ESCAPE-pain app has been developed to make the programme more widely available so that any person with chronic joint pain can benefit from it.

4) How do I know if ESCAPE-pain is right for me?

ESCAPE-pain is designed to benefit people with chronic knee or hip pain and with a confirmed or likely diagnosis of osteoarthritis.

5) Will exercising make my pain worse?

Some people think that being more active will increase their pain, but after 1-2 sessions you will learn that exercise isn’t painful, and start to feel the benefits - better able to do the exercises, more confident, more in control. Make sure you follow the instructions in the exercise videos, which have been developed to show you how to do the exercise safely in your own home.

6) Isn’t rest the best thing you can do for your joints?

No. To prolong the life of a joint you need to be physically active. Strong, well-coordinated muscles are a necessity, not a luxury. They protect your joint and can delay, even prevent, pain and disability, maintaining your independence and dignity.

7) I can’t do strenuous exercise. Can I still benefit from the programme?

You do not need strenuous exercise to make your muscles stronger. Doing some physical activity regularly is better than doing nothing regularly – blood, sweat and tears are NOT essential.

8) How does the programme work?

You should aim to complete 2 sessions a week for 6 weeks, so 12 sessions in total. Before starting the exercise session, watch one of the education videos and take a few minutes to think about its messages. Then start the exercise session, which should take around 45 minutes to complete.

9) Do I need to do all the exercises in the session?

You should try and do as many exercises as you can, taking 1 minute rest in between. However, some people may find that at the beginning they can only do 5 or 6 of the exercises, but after 2 or 3 sessions they find they can increase the number of different exercises as they become more active and confident.

10) How do I progress the exercises?

The exercises can be progressed in different ways depending on the exercise. Some (such as the number of sit to stands) can be progressed by trying to do more repetitions of the exercise in one minute. Others (such as the static exercise bike) can be progressed by doing them for a longer time – increasing from 1 to 2 to 5 minutes. Others (such as the exercises that use theraband) can be progressed by doing them for longer but also doing them slowly, in a controlled manner.

11) How do I know when to rest?

You should take at least 1 minute rest between each exercise, but take longer if you need to – doing the exercises is not a race, it’s better to do them well.

12) Do I need any equipment?

The exercises in the programme are very simple and do not require expensive equipment. Most of them only require a chair or table to hold on to, the lower step of a staircase, or a theraband which is inexpensive and available in many high street shops.

13) I do not have an exercise bike or pedal. Can I still complete the programme?

One of the exercises on the list requires an exercise bike or pedals. If you do not have it, simply skip this exercise. There are enough exercises available in the programme for you to complete a session, and you will be able to get the same benefits out of the programme.

14) How do I set a goal?

It’s easier to become more active and do more exercise if you set yourself a goal. You can start by thinking about something that you really want to do, for example, going to the park with the grandchildren or working in the garden for 30 minutes daily. You can then put together an ACTION PLAN, explaining:

  • What you want to achieve (your goal, for example working in the garden daily)
  • When you will achieve it (e.g. 3 months)
  • How you will achieve it (e.g. completing ESCAPE-pain and continue to exercise twice a week after that)
  • Where you will achieve it (e.g. exercising at home and at the local gym)
You may want to set some short-term goals as stepping stones to achieve your main goal. Don’t forget to celebrate when you achieve your goals!

15) Why do I need to complete the questionnaires?

At the beginning and at the end of the programme we ask you to complete 2 questionnaires, each one of which will result in a score. This will allow you to measure the progress you made throughout the programme. Below is how to interpret those scores.

  • MSK-HQ – The Questionnaire determines your ‘musculoskeletal health status’. Your score at the end of the programme should be HIGHER than your score at the beginning of the programme.
  • KOOS – This questionnaire will help you understand your joint pain. Your score at the end of the programme should be HIGHER than your score at the beginning of the programme.

16) I have other health issues. Can I still go through the programme?

Please remember that this app is a support tool. It does not take into account your individual circumstances and may not contain all the information you require. If you start slowly, doing the easier exercises, and build these up gradually you should be fine. However, if you have other medical conditions that prevent you from taking part in exercise programmes (such as unstable heart conditions, severe angina, blood pressure, your doctor has recently been altering your medication, you often fall or exercise makes you very breathless very soon after you begin to exercise), you should seek advice from your GP, nurse or other healthcare practitioner.


17) I have some unanswered questions– how do I contact someone for more information?

Please email if you have any further questions.