‘ESCAPE-Pain’ (Enabling Self-management and Coping with Arthritic Pain using Exercise) is an exercise-based group rehabilitation program for people aged 45+ with chronic joint pain of the hip and knee. It is designed to improve function by integrating exercise, education, and self-management strategies to dispel inappropriate health beliefs, alter behaviour, and encourage regular physical activity.

ESCAPE-Pain originated from the South London AHSN (‘Health Innovation Network; HIN’), developed by Professor Mike Hurley. As of April 2018, ESCAPE-Pain was announced as one of the national AHSN programmes, and all AHSNs have a responsibility to help share and spread this innovation.


  • ESCAPE-Pain has been shown to reduce pain, improve physical function, depression, health beliefs and general wellbeing in a randomised control trial (Hurley et al, 2007a)
  • The benefits have been shown to be sustained for up to 30 months (Hurley et al, 2007b)
  • Participants self-reported being less concerned about the perceived dangers of exercise and an increased confidence in their ability to use exercise to manage their condition immediately after completing ESCAPE Pain (Hurley et al, 2010)
  • Cost savings of £1417 demonstrated across the health and care system per person, per annum (Jessop et al, 2009)
  • Public Health England Recommended by Public Health England (PHE) as a preferred intervention for musculoskeletal management – their report titled, ‘Return on Investment Interventions for the Prevention and Treatment of Musculoskeletal Conditions’which shows the programme has a positive financial ROI of £5.20 for every £1 spent.



  • Best Practice Award in Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Disorders from the British Society for Rheumatology 2016
  • Health and Wellbeing Award from the Royal Society of Public Health 2015
  • Finalist for the AbbVie Sustainable Healthcare: Patients as Partners Award 2016
  • Semi-Finalist Harvard Business School Acceleration Challenge 2016

Delivery in the NENC

The AHSN NENC are working with a number of stakeholders across the region, spanning NHS, public health, leisure and the third sector to explore ways to implement ESCAPE-Pain within a systems approach. Training and support is being offered by the AHSN, in collaboration with the Health Innovation Network.

ESCAPE-Pain classes are currently delivered in Sunderland, South Tyneside, Newcastle, North Tees, North Cumbria (Penrith) and Gateshead, more sites will be added soon.

Please contact us using the details below if you are interested in finding out more or would like to explore how to become a provider of ESCAPE-Pain.

Dr Rachel Turnbull (Programme Lead) –

Vicki Strassheim (Clinical Lead) –

More information about the implementation of Escape Pain nationally can be found on the The National ESCAPE-Pain website.


For anyone interested in learning more about ESCAPE-Pain, an introductory webinar is running on 1 July at 11am.

Join this webinar to learn more about ESCAPE-pain, a rehabilitation programme for the management of chronic knee or hip pain already delivered in 170+ physiotherapy departments, leisure and community centres across the UK. The webinar will cover:

  • Overview of the ESCAPE-pain programme, presented by  Prof Mike Hurley, Clinical Director for MSK at the HIN and originator of ESCAPE-pain
  • Delivering ESCAPE-pain in the leisure sector: case-studies, presented by Andrea Carter, Programme Director of MSK at the HIN
  • Q&A


The webinar is open to all but particularly aimed at leisure and community providers across the UK interested in learning more about the ESCAPE-pain programme.


Joining details are below. Please feel free to test Skype for business prior to the start and do let us know if you have any trouble connecting.


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(020) 7188 4111 (United Kingdom) English (United Kingdom)

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Conference ID: 7370183

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