Hi. Im in a similar situtaion. I have been on Vicodin or percocets for 10 yrs now minus 3 pregnancies and although I tried to go as long as possible after each birth I always ended up back on one or the other. Ive been in several bad MVA's and have herniated and protuding discs at L5 and L4 as well as degenerative disc disease and Im lucky if my pain meds help in their prescribed doasge. I usually have to take 2 instead of 1 at a time to get pain relief at all. Never mind the "high" some people talk about. When you are on them for so long as you know your body builds up a tolerance and it takes much more of the medication to do its job. Most doctors will prescribed Vicodin or Percocet in 325mg of acetominiphen nowadays. Its a much more safe dosage and I dont think it will damage your liver. I take 10 mg of Percocets 5 x a day and 10 mg of Norco on my better days at 4 x a day and the pharmacist said Im still under the limit with the acetiminophen. Your doctor can also give you the medications without the added tylenol so talk to him about that if you are still really concerned. I feel the same way you do. My pain or my pain meds rule my life and its a vicious circle and I dont know what to do about it alot as well. It doesnt help when people in your life close to you call you a drug addict or put you down because they have no idea what the pain is like and they dont understand that what one pill might make them feel isnt what we would feel. Thats why doctors will often up your dosage or switch your meds around because eventually the one you've been taking so long will no longer be effective as your body becomes addicted to it. I have 3 kids and my youngest is almost 4 and if it wasnt for my pain meds I would never be able to keep up with him, carry him up and down the stairs, even leabning over the tub is painful so I guess we just have to deal with being on meds. Surgery isnt always the answer for everyone and with the degenerative disc disease I have Ive been told meds will be my only real relief for the rest of my life. Im only 35 and I dont need to not be able to enjoy my life and my children. I hope your'e doing better and this helps,
Unfortunately, over-the-counter pain killers are sometimes little help with the severe pain that can be produced by back and neck problems. Likewise, opioid pain pills don't always control back and neck pain very effectively and it's very tempting to take more than the prescribed dosage. But if you do that, you're taking your life in your hands because of the large amount of acetaminophen (Tylenol) contained in most opioid pain pills. You apparently discovered this when you damaged your liver.
In the United States, acetaminophen overdose causes more than 450 deaths per year due to acute liver failure. Many of the deaths result from accidentally ingesting too much acetaminophen when taking prescription pain pills.
Prescription pain pills often contain 500 mg or more acetaminophen. The recommended daily dose of acetaminophen should not exceed 4,000 mg, the amount found in 8 Vicodins containing 500 mg of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen can cause liver failure in a dose as low as 7,000 mg, the amount found in 14 Vicodins containing 500 mg of acetaminophen, and even a smaller quantity of acetaminophen can cause liver failure if combined with alcohol. Some people have a tolerance and can survive a higher dosage of acetaminophen, but at 15,000 mg it's almost guaranteed to kill you.
Worse yet is that these dosages needn't be taken on the same day, to cause liver failure and death. Ingesting large doses of acetaminophen over a period of several days can cause the dosage to accumulate in your body until it becomes lethal.
So if you have a problem controlling the number of pain pills you take, I suggest trying some other methods of pain relief.
Consider trying physical therapy, steroid injections, stimulator devices, moist heating pads, or cold packs. There are several non-opioid drugs that may be able to help with pain, including the antidepressant Cymbalta and drugs such as Neurontin, Lyrica, and others.