Good morning Tried Everything!
Welcome to the Cp forum! Well!....you and I have a similar situation..except mine is one notch lower at the c6-c7 level, and most of my pain is generated around the shoulder and the blade of it. It's not fun...and can wear you down quickly.
I have a couple of questions for you...if you don't mind. Have you tried PT on it?...and if so, did they try decompression therapy on it? I have been going to a PT...and they actually let me bring the machine home with me. You can find them on ebay...called a Saunders Cervical decompression device....but you should be under the care and instruction of a PT before using one...or you can do major damage if not careful.
Also, if it is an Epidural that you recieved...give it some time. It can take two weeks before you recieve the full effect from it. Many times patients will require a second attempt with the injection, but it is never a for sure deal to reduce your pain. I'm getting my 8th over all total...but it will be my second most recently in the cervical area, as I just had one around three weeks ago, and I must say, with not much luck!
If all of this fails to give you relief...then it may be time to visit with a surgeon. I dont' like the fact that I have to take pain med's...and yes!.you are correct in that we become dependent on them. We, as CP'rs are not really addicted, but rather dependent...there is a difference....but I understand where you are comming from. Pain med's...and or surgery can be a difficult decision to make....there are risk and possible problems with either. The only thing I would caution you on...is that going into surgery on a high dose of pain med's that you may be used to... if your Surgeon fails to give you the dose somewhat equal to what you are used to...then recovery can be a bit rough.
Take a peek at the "Chronic Pain 101" located at the top of our home page...and it will explain the difference rather well for you. There are a lot of great articles there...and I'm sure you will enjoy reading them.
Again Welcome!...and Enjoy the forum!