I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome(EDS), and have had to deal with some pretty bad pain since I was a child. After a lifetime of learning what works for me, I find that the best approach to dealing with my pain is by using several different strategies to help. One of the top EDS specialists in the world, Dr. Clair Francomano encourages what she calls a 5% plan for pain. I, for example, might take some pain medicine which relieves 20% of my pain, take a epsom salt bath for another 5%, use my TENS unit for 10%, talk on the phone with a friend for 5%, Use my heating pad for 10% have my husband massage some tiger balm into my sore spots for 10% and distract myself with a good comedy on DVD for another 10%. Add it all up and 70% of my pain is managed. My life is significantly better and I can do much more with this much less pain. If you find something that works to make you feel better, keep it and use it, even if that something needs to be medicine. It is much easier to keep ahead of pain than try to break out of a bad pain cycle. And don't feel guilty if you need to take pain killers, just think of them as one more weapon against the enemy(pain) in your arsenal.
I hope this helps you a bit. I wouldn't wish chronic pain on anyone.