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]


‘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 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.

South Tyneside

ESCAPE-Pain classes are currently delivered in South Tyneside (Jarrow, Hebburn, South Shields), Northumberland (Hexham, Cramlington, Blyth), Newcastle, Gateshead, Hartlepool, Stockton, North Cumbria (Penrith and Brampton), and Bishop Auckland. Further sites are planned for Darlington and Durham in 2020.

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

Find your nearest class

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.