Dear friend; IMHO (in my humble opinion), your doctor's "bedside manner" needs work. If he/she said the things listed in your posting, then they should be ashamed for scaring you! I have a bulging disk that has lost some of its collagen, but I simply have some pain and headaches more often. So far, I take 2-3 ibuprofen tablets 1-2 times a day and they help. I would also like to advise a chiropractor, as mine helps me greatly reduce my pain - I can go for days or weeks without significant pain. I hope I have been of help. Chip P.S. - I recently read of a treatment where they can insert a probe into a disk & heat it up, which seals up the disk! After that, the pain could reduce and let the vertabrae naturally fuse.