In Lightroom, the catalog (the .LRCAT file) contains all your edits. But what if it gets corrupted?
In that case you can retrieve edits – eg edit the file in another app,like Photoshop – from small XMP “sidecar” files – IF you make these! This is off by default – turn it on in LIGHTROOM – CATALOG SETTINGS:
If that third tick mark is OFF in your Lightroom, then I advise you turn it ON right now!