I know there are some other chronic back pain sufferers on here, so heads up: if your insurance will cover it, you should try prescription lidocaine patches. I've only been using them for 3 days but I feel like my life has changed.
Here's a link to all the deets.
These suckers work miracles. My pain went from a constant 3/10 when not moving and 5/10 when moving to nothing. Maybe a 0.5/10 when I move too much. I was at a 1.5/10 yesterday at the gym when I was stupidly trying half a patch to see if half was enough, but about 10-20 minutes after I put on the other half of the patch—bliss!
The major drawback is the price. A generic box of 30 was $274 at my local Costco before insurance. I didn't think I had particularly great insurance until they rung me up at $5. I burst into tears right there. If you aren't as lucky, my doctor told me you can ask for just a few patches instead of the whole box to see if it's worth it. You can also cut it up into whatever sized pieces work for you. If it does work, you can wear up to 3 at a time wherever you need the relief on your body for 12 hours on, 12 hours off.
I've had a hard time working up the courage to try something new since putting my faith in steroid shots back in July was such a huge fucking waste of time, money, energy, hope, etc. But I'm so glad I tried these that I wanted to share in case it might help someone else. In 3 days I've become about 9736947% happier with my life; that's too good not to share. :)
ETA: My back pain is from a spinal defect that led to L5-S1 lumbar fusion surgery in July 2012. I'm still recovering from it and a bulging disc discovered in July 2013.
These are only approved for shingles use as far as I know in the US, but from what I can tell from reading chronic pain forums, insurance companies have been covering these for non-shingles use in increasing amounts lately. It's definitely worth it to ask! My insurance required a call from my doctor (precertification) to approve it, but that's it. If you want to take the script to the pharmacy right away, you should ask your insurance if they need this first and if they do, have your doctor's office call right away. That'll save you the three hours of frustrated waiting that I endured. It was still worth it. :)
You wear these for 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Today is the first day I haven't gone straight to bed after taking it off and man, that was probably a mistake. I took it off half an hour ago and my full normal pain is back at 3/10. I'd recommend figuring out when to put your patch(es) on by working backwards from your bedtime so you're asleep by the time your pain comes back, or at least that's my plan for the future. It's totally safe to take with tylenol and ibuprofen though, so it would also help to remember to take those an hour or so before you take it off. Learn from my mistakes!