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New exercise programme helps people with osteoarthritis manage their pain

Twelve people from Barrow, Millom and Dalton, have been attending an exercise programme at the gym at Hoops Basketball Centre, Barrow, to help them cope with osteoarthritis (chronic joint pain) of the knee and hip, and initial feedback has been positive.

The Enabling Self-Management and Coping with Arthritic Pain using Exercise (ESCAPE-pain) programme is aimed at people over 45 years old who have osteoarthritis of the knee and hip.

People attend 12 one-hour sessions, twice a week, over a six week period. The sessions involve a 15-minute talk which includes educational self-management and coping strategies, followed by a 45-minute exercise programme individualised for each person.

GPs, Consultants and other Healthcare Professionals refer people to University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust’s (UHMBT) outpatient physiotherapy service for assessment and the physiotherapist identifies appropriate people for the ESCAPE-pain programme.

Helen Carter, of Barrow, who has suffered from osteoarthritis of the knee for 25 years, was referred to the programme by the Trust’s physiotherapy team based at Abbey Road, in Barrow.

She said: “I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis when I was 33 and I was told that I would need a new knee but I didn’t want to go down that route.

“Before I started coming here I had to walk using a walking stick and I felt very unconfident about leaving the house but the sessions have really given me the confidence to leave the house and I now only use the stick when I really need to.

“The whole process has been really professional and a really good example of GPs, the hospital and the physiotherapy teams working together. I would recommend to others who are suffering from similar conditions.”

Jane Graham, of Askam, who has rheumatoid and osteoarthritis of the knee, added: “I have a lot of pain in my knee and have had to visit my GP many times in the past. The programme has given me the confidence to exercise and I have seen some improvement in the pain. I will definitely carry on doing these exercises after the course finishes.”

Ruth Marrison, Specialist Musculoskeletal (MSK) Physiotherapist, UHMBT, said: “We have had some great feedback from everyone who has attended the sessions. They are really helping people to understand their conditions and how they can cope better with pain through exercise.”

The ESCAPE- pain programme started on 23 July 2019. The team hopes to hold a future session at Hoops Basketball Centre, Barrow, from 17 September to 25 October. The team will then hold sessions in the new Alfred Barrow Health Centre once it has opened.

Twelve physiotherapists at the Trust were trained to carry out the ESCAPE – pain programme, which is funded by the Health Innovation Network. The programme was introduced as part of the Better Care Together Integrated Musculoskeletal (iMSK) programme of work. ESCAPE – pain is an evidence-based programme which has benefitted more than 11,000 people across the UK who suffer from osteoarthritis.

You can find out more information about ESCAPE – pain at https://healthinnovationnetwork.com/projects/escape-pain/

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