Escape pain

Escape pain is a six-week group-based, self-management course which helps you to manage your symptoms and the benefits of keeping active.
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How is the course run?

There are two components to each session:

  1. Educating you about your condition, what might be causing it and why you are experiencing pain. You will be shown simple ways to help you cope and manage your condition.
  2. An exercise programme tailored to your needs and abilities.

There is good evidence that increasing your physical activity can be beneficial for osteoarthritic hip and knee pain

At the end of the six week programme you should have less pain and know how to control your symptoms.

Who needs self-management?

Self-management aims to improve people’s knowledge of their condition and help them to understand that exercise is a safe and effective way to reduce symptoms and to control their condition and the depression caused by joint pain. The course is run in group sessions that help people to share their experiences and to build a social network of people living with similar conditions.

Referral criteria

Escape pain is available to anyone older than 45 and has:

  • Consulted a GP or physiotherapist for mild/moderate or severe knee or hip pain.
  • Activity-related joint pain and no joint stiffness greater than or equal to 30 minutes after waking in the morning.
  • Hip or knee osteoarthritis.
  • No unstable medical condition/s.

What happens during the course?

Before the course begins, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire about your pain. This provides really helpful information to your course leader and also helps you and your tutor track your progress

Escape pain is taught in in groups of 10 to 12 people. Each class lasts 60 minutes and includes a group discussion on a topic relating to joint pain. A physiotherapist or fitness instructor will show you a simple exercise programme, which will be tailored to your individual needs and ability.

You can also download a free app to your phone or computer to use in between your group sessions. You will be shown how to download and use the app.

Risks of self-management

The programme is safe and there have been no adverse side effects as long as you meet the programme referral criteria listed above and you follow the guidance of the instructor and/or app.

Your condition and pain may make you feel depressed or anxious, or you may have another mental health condition. Please talk to your physiotherapist or fitness instructor about this and they will be able to provide extra support to ensure you make progress at your own pace.

Benefits of self-management

There are lots of benefits to manage your health and conditions and people who have attended an Escape pain course have been shown to have sustained improvements for more than six months.

You won’t be completely pain free, but you will know how to manage your symptoms better.

  • Other people who have attended Escape pain classes have:
    • Described how their beliefs about exercise to manage their pain were altered after taking part in the programme.
    • Understood the importance and benefits of exercise, including improvements in joint function, general health and overall wellbeing.
  • Overcome their initial fears that exercise would increase pain and cause joint damage and reported how their confidence to use exercise to reduce their symptoms has increased.
  • People who can manage their conditions are also less likely to ask for help from their GP or physiotherapist, and have greater control of their health and wellbeing.
  • Most people who complete the course have a greater physical function.
  • People who did not complete the course, however, had poorer functioning than someone who stuck with Escape pain.

How long will you spend in hospital or receive treatment?

There are no requirements for a stay in hospital. Escape pain classes take place twice a week in community settings such as hospitals, community or leisure centres for six weeks. Each class lasts for one hour.