Hi and welcome the boards. You found a great place to chat with everyday people with spine problems of varying types, and majority of us live with chronic pain 24/7 or have at some point.
your annular tears could be caused from the fall, or the DDD. The DDD is an unhealthy disc and the the fall could have then set it off. I doubt you will ever know where the chicken came before the egg on this one or not.
Who ordered your MRI and have you had a followup with that doctor yet? If it was done by a general practioner, it's time to be seeing a spine surgeon. Not to schedule surgery, but to be under a spine specialist's care. So this can be a neuro or orthopaedic surgeon. Both can specialize in spines. If surgery ever becomes eminent for you, make sure that specialist is a spine fellowed surgeon, which means that have been through the premium educative process for spines.
Do they have you on a prednisone medrol dose pack at the moment? These are a feel good quick fix to reducing inflammation which often reduces pain levels. But this is not something you can take often or should. Oral steroids reak havoc on your body, particularly your bones. Steroid injections are the least harmful to have in your body actually (minus what happened to you of course).
The valium will act as a muscle relaxer and the of course the "percs" are narcotic pain relievers.
Unfortunately, as bad as your MRI sounds, to many docs, you may get that they don't think they are that big of a deal. So dont be surprised if this happens. Doesn't mean you dont hurt and obviously you have 3 levels that are a problem. More likely, physical therapy will be ordered, along with asking if you would consider injections at some point to get inflammation under control and lube the areas. Plus give you more meds of varying types. And see how you do.
Having DDD along with the tears alone can create great pain. They give off a chemical that adversely stimulates the nerves sending a signal to the brain causing pain. Unfortunately you can't prevent DDD nor stop it. But you can get your body (especially the core muscles) as healthy as you can to hopefully lessen the risk some. Being fit and active does help to staving off bone spurs. Once you have them.. you can't do anything physically that will make them go away, but you can help to stave off future ones by working your body and bones.
I was in peak physical condition (washboard abs and all) and I still was labeled with DDD and blew out a disc. This is often linked to genetics in many too. Some people pass on bad feet, knees, some bad spine health.
I hope this helps some. You need follow up with your doctor and see what he/she recommends. Surgery is always a last resort and needs to be. Surgery won't guarantee a fix of the problem and all conservative treatments must be tried before pursuing surgical remedies.
Please keep posting and keep us updated on how you are doing. Welcome.