In response to: "Den, that seems to make sense to me. I'm wondering, did they prescribe a particular set of PT exercises for you before-hand? What are the specific exercises they are talking about?"
I began rehab in spring of 2008 before I met Dr. Hoadley. I seemed to be getting better and then one day it just happened -- like something tore or the scar tissue became inflamed. I tried PT on and off last year, but just didn't get better. The PT is very concentrated core work... you can find core exercises anywhere on the internet. It also includes a regimen of regular stretching.
While I do believe Dr. Hoadley is right that people can get better without surgery, it is a matter of whether or not you are at the point of no return as Mello alluded to in a previous post. I liked Dr. Hoadley's website for a variety of reasons which is probably one of the reasons I went to see him.
I completely recommend trying PT first to avoid surgery, but I did it with a licensed therapist which can be expensive if you don't have insurance that will cover it.
There are a lot of variables in making the decision to have surgery... Did you try PT first? What kind of shape are you in? How long have you been dealing with the injury? Since I had been out 18 months, Dr. Hoadley said that it probably wouldn't get better. However, he said that if it had only been a few weeks or months, he would have recommended more PT as an alternative.
My honest advice is for you to try some core work while you schedule an appointment with one of the specialists. Either way, you need to see one of these docs to get an opinion. Even weeks prior to surgery, I was doing PT in the effort to promote a speedy recovery post-op, but also as a last-ditch effort to avoid surgery. I showed brief signs of improvement, then I would get inflammation again. That is the cycle.