You suffered an injury that has sidelined you from exercise, but you dodged a bullet -- your doctor has said that you don't need surgery.
Instead, he or she prescribes physical therapy, most likely to start after a rest period to give any inflammation time to subside.
At that point, you're probably feeling better and wondering if you need the rehab after all. Here's why it's important to go through with the program and not just jump back into your old routine.
Physical therapy programs are customized to your needs with specific exercises designed to help you heal, return to the activities you love and keep you from re-aggravating your injury. You'll benefit from one-on-one attention, important since each person responds differently to an injury and improves at his or her own speed.
Other goals include reducing pain and improving flexibility, mobility and range of motion. If surgery is still a question mark, going through physical therapy may help you avoid it.
Your physical therapist will continually assess your recovery and adapt exercises as you progress from the repair phase, in which your body repairs the damaged tissue, to the remodeling phase, when your body strengthens that new tissue. You'll also learn any needed adaptations for your favorite activities, and exercises that will enable you to continue with them when you get the green light.
An important reminder: You'll be given exercises to do on your own when you "graduate" from your physical therapy program. Following through on this program will ensure that your recovery continues.