There are many people out there who are just like you - dealing with chronic pain. You are not alone. In addition, medicine has made advances and many of these people are able to function. Most people like you must not expect the pain to be 'cured'. The goal to get you to function and live with the pain. Eating pills is not bad - if you need pain medications for pain, you need to take them. Especially if there are no alternatives.
Surgery should only be done when there is a good chance that the anatomy explains the symptoms. For people with chronic neck and back pain, the whole spine looks bad (or sometimes just fine) and so there is no surgery to do. Please don't forget, that surgery can make you worse. There is no 'try anything', there is nothing to try in many cases. And no matter how bad your pain is, it can always become WORSE.
Spine surgery gets a bad rap from operations done on people with marginal problems and from chronic pain patients who get little to no relief after a small or big operation. Otherwise, surgery is very successful in treating many pains.
You need to see a multidisciplinary pain specialist - pain management is not just surgery, it is medical, psychological, social, and emotional. Good luck.
On your lower back, this is what I just posted on this website that helped my sciatica pain down my leg:
I am a 43 year old male who had very bad sciatica 3 years ago for 2 months, then mild for another 4 months. I went to the chiro, got xrays, diagnosed with sciatica, spondyliothesis. Got MRI, confirmed the same, and showed disc bulges at L4 and L5 too.
I had chiro adjustments for a while. I went once to a back-decompression center, but couldn't afford the $2500 for a month of decompression therapy. So I incorporated the decompression in my workouts. I would hang at the gym from a "preacher chair" and from the pull-up bar repeatedly before and after my 2 hour mild workouts (2-3 times before and after for a minute for each hang). It was the only thing that ever gave me any relief at all from the pain going down my butt, leg, and to my big toe. It stretches the spasming muscles, ligaments, releases pressure on the discs, and pulls the slipping spine back up and straight). Doing it repeatedly also pulls fluid back into the discs to help rejuvenate them (discs have no veins to supply fluid so they need movement to push fluids into them to keep them pliable). I also leaned over my kitchen counter, bent my knees and let my legs hang several more times a day whenever the pain grew bad (or I leaned against the counter and turned my hands backwards on the edge and did a push up and locked out my elbows above the counter (anything to unweight/decompress the spine multiple times a day). I also lost weight and strengthened my abs on the ab-roller type bench at the gym, and did back strengthening exercises as well. I think the decompression was the most beneficial thing and helped heal my back. Even though I have read that 80/90% of these sciatica pain issues go away on their own after a few months, I still believe that multiple decompression helps heal and keep spine healthy, so I still do it once before and after my workouts today...3 years later. If you can afford the $2500 back decompression center costs, I would suggest to try that first before major surgery. I am still doing good now and keeping my fingers crossed. Good luck to you all and let me know how this works for you.