I am 46 years old and have always lived a very active lifestyle. About 4 years ago I began having terrible pain in both my knees. Trying to keep this short: I had to give up a lot of my activities that I loved because the pain was unbearable. I went to see a leading Ortho Knee specialist who diagnosed me with severally misaligned knees (distal displacement I believe is the medical term). It is congenital and I have it in both knees. During this time I also began experiencing lower back pains and, again trying to keep this as short as possible, discovered through an MRI that I had three degenerative and bulging discs in my lower back! Thus began my journey with chronic pain and a chipping away of my joy and quality of life. I had three injections in my lower back last year and was told that more than three was not recommended. The injections would help some but invariably my back would start bothering me in a couple of months and then go out. With my knees I have had three procedures (2 on one and 1 on the other). I need support and help with how to deal with the chronic pain. The only thing that that I have found works are the times that I am given prescription pain medicines but I have concerns over long term use. I have found that my quality of life DRASTICALLY IMPROVES, I enjoy being around my family and others, and am able to function on prescription pain meds. The longest span of time I have taken them regularly was for about 6 months when I had two knee surgeries back to back. During that time there were some times when I took too much and did not like the lethargic out of control feeling it gave me. I went from 10mg/500, to 7.5/500, to 5mg/500 codine and tylenol. I became very good at regulating the amounts to just what I needed..even to the point of taking half a pill if that is all I felt I needed. I found that taking around 4 5mg/500 pills daily helped a good deal but the post surgery time period ended for anything with codeine in it. I don't like to drink but I do sometimes because it will temporarily relieve the pain but the pain always returns and the hopelessly grows. I never once drank while taking pain meds so I know that when I do drink it is to get some temporary relief from the pain but it takes me away from my family and actually being "in the moment". I'm content and enjoy a much better quality of life and feel much more "in the moment" on pain meds but is it safe long term? I know the large amounts of just Tylenol I take daily with little effect at all are not good for me (1000mg every 4-6 hours) I also take 400 mg Etodolac (anti inflammatory) through my back doctor. I'm miserable when the pain meds stop because the pain always returns and my quality of life drastically declines. As I write this I am back to dreading getting out of bed in the a.m., and have pain in both knees and my lower back. I feel more and more hopeless and trapped and that I will never get my quality of life back. I lost all hope of returning to my former self but would at least like a life that is maneagable and I don't dread getting out of bed in the morning. I understand how people can get addicted to prescription pain meds because they work and the alternative is unbearable. I certainly do not want to become an addict but I also do not want this terrible quality of life. I'm praying there is some hope to be found here.