ESCAPE-pain is now established in the North East, therefore the AHSN NENC support of ESCAPE pain has ended. However if you would like more information about the programme, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]

Click here for the latest Escape Pain dates and cohorts.

The current sites offering ESCAPE-pain are shown in the links below:

Hips/knees programmes

Backs programmes


‘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.

Covid-19 Support

Please download the following document for Escape Pain support tools.

Download document


  • 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 have worked 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 was offered and delivered by the AHSN, in collaboration with the Health Innovation Network.

ESCAPE-Pain classes are currently delivered at various places across the North East and North Cumbria

South Tyneside

Newcastle / Gateshead



Information for GPs and clinicians

In the videos below, specialists from Tyneside Integrated Musculoskeletal Service show how ESCAPE-pain is helping to get people more active and teach them how to better manage their pain.

Video for GPs


Video for Clinicians

Additional resources

If you have knee and hip pain and are aged over 45, find out how you can grow in confidence, feel, move and manage pain better, with improvements to both your physical and mental health.

A case study has been written focusing on AHSN NENC leading a project to enable participants to access the national ESCAPE-pain programme during the lockdown. you can read it here.

ESCAPE-Pain during Covid-19

Delivery Nationally

A document explaining use of ESCAPE Pain in the Leisure Sector has been distributed; it contains useful FAQs and case studies.

A one year developmental evaluation into the spread of ESCAPE-pain has been published: ESCAPE-pain -The Story of Scale Up Summer 2019

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.

Vicki Strassheim (Clinical Lead) – [email protected]

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

Versus Arthritis and Escape Pain

Versus Arthritis have produced the following video to celebrate the Escape Pain programme and their partnership with Escape Pain.

Patient testimonials

“This service has helped me reinforcing motivation and to take it step by step to improve muscle tone and to relieve the pain in my right knee. Also what to do when it flares up and not to give up and not to stop completely and work up the stages of exercises again. A very pleasant experience and the instructor was very helpful.”


“Because I have benefited so much from my treatment. Pain has been reduced, mobility increased and general well-being improved. Mark is a very professional young man who ran the course so I never became bored! To the amusement of my friends and family.. i can say i enjoyed this course.”


“I have felt much better and more confident- able to give something a try- also due to the social side at being able to discuss difficulties with other people who have the same problems.”


“Enjoyed the class, would do again- Mark was really good.”