The reason you're not feeling any better pain-wise is because tramadol is weak as pain medications go. It's not as strong as Vicodin. The reason you're not having any withdrawal symptoms from the Vicodin though is because the tramadol is still stimulating your MU receptors, which are the same receptors that the Vicodin attaches to, therefore as far as your body is concerned, you are still taking a narcotic. That's the problem with tramadol. It's still addictive like a narcotic, it reacts the same way on your body as a narcotic, but it's not strong enough to control anything but minor pain.
The tram and ibuprofen are much easier on your liver....tramodol is still an addictive narcotic drug - it was developed about the same time as fentanyl and was approached initially as an adjunct for addiction. I never found the tramodol to be effective at all for myself. Another thing to consider is that if you stop the trams suddenly you are at strong risk of having withdrawal related seizures if you have been on them awhile -
Tramadol although a good medication for some, is not as strong as Hydrocodone.
The truth is narcotics are safer fo ryour body than too much ibuprophen or accetomiohine(? spelling) which besides liver damage can cause ulcers in your stomach.
Do you know why your DR changed your Meds to something less powerful if you were complaining of pain?